Wild Ginger, also known as LuAnne’s Wild Ginger, bills itself as providing pan-Asian vegan specialties based on traditional Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, and South Asian cuisines. They claim to make over two-dozen homemade sauces and to use local produce. I have eaten here a couple of times; the salt and pepper fried king-oyster mushrooms are excellent, a great substitute for salt and pepper fried squid, and I really liked their Singapore Chow Mei Fun. The restaurant interior is reminiscent of a Tikki Hut with low lighting and lots of dark hard wood.
The Dumplings: Pan-fried or steamed vegetable dumplings and vegetable shumai are available at Wild Ginger. While they seem to pride themselves on their homemade sauces, this DIY spirit does not seem to extend to their dumplings. The bright green vegetable dumpling seem to be the same frozen vegetable gyoza I’ve eaten at several Japanese restaurants (see Moshi Moshi) and the shumai appear to be May Wah’s frozen shumai. The vegetable dumplings are fairly bland but serviceable, definitely better pan-fried than steamed. I quite liked the shumai, which are dyed a deep green color with spinach juice and have big enough chunks of vegetable in them that I could taste each of the components – carrots, broccoli, black fungus and pickled vegetables.
The Dipping Sauce: I found the soy based dipping sauce to be overly sweet, it was just OK.
The Location: The original Wild Ginger has been at its Broome street location between Mott and Mulberry streets for almost 10 years. This location is essentially at the intersection of Chinatown, Little Italy and NOLITA. Like more and more successful Manhattan restaurants in 2008 they opened a second location in Brooklyn – on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens.