Roll and Dough - 135 W. 3rd Street (6th Avenue and McDougal)
Hidden throughout Flushing Chinatown are many tiny gems - small shoppes serving cheap, tasty edibles - items not readily available in the tourist heavy haunts of Manhattan. One of the best was Unique Pastry, a miniscule shoppe offering $1.50 steamed buns, and bings (flattened fried buns, coated with sesame seeds and stuffed with a variety of fillings.) In the past few years, the snacks have become famous in certain foodie circles, earning the owner of the shoppe (Elizabeth Ting) the name of Bing Lady.
In August 2006, the shoppe moved to Manhattan/West Village, around the corner from the basketball courts. Renamed Roll and Dough, the shoppe offers the same tasty snacks - and a more easily accessible location.
Despite the Manhattan address, the price remains reasonable - juices are sold for $3.00, bings/buns run from $1.50 - $2.00. The menu seems expanded, offering a wide range of flavors, from spicy pork to veggie. Though slightly cold, the bings I sampled (both sweet and savory) were tasty. Since Taro had sold out, I tried the sweet banana filling - nothing amazing (though satisfactory.) The hot and sour vegetable bing - that had punch, and flavor...the clear winner of the taste test. But there's always the red bean to try out - for yet another day.
In the end, I walked away from Roll and Dough happy - wishing the best for Ms. Ting's expanding business. It's good to see culinary diversity thrive in the West Village... It's also good to have access to bings - without having to ride the 7 train to get them.