I’m sure many prospective students zip in and out of Poughkeepsie, leaving, thinking that the city doesn’t have much to offer. I also know students here that don’t get off campus nearly enough, or ever.
Both situations are a shame.
Poughkeepsie, and the surrounding towns, has a surprising food scene. Well, not too surprising, since the Culinary Institute is close by. CIA grads have open restaurants ranging from casual to upscale, but they are not the only ones we depend upon for good grub.
The best hole in the wall I have gone to so far nearby is most definitely Palace Dumpling in Wappingers Falls. You don’t go here for your typical chinese take out. There is no beef and broccoli on the menu. The place is so unassuming, it’s in a shopping mall after all, but they serve the best dumplings, noodles, and simple salads. Choose from pork, beef, vegetable, seafood, even lamb and egg dumplings–and then concoct your own dipping sauce from a mixture of soy, sweet and chili sauces. For a side stick to cucumbers dressed with a horseradish vinaigrette, or go with the more adventurous agadir vegetables, a type of mushroom, that my friend affectionately calls condom mushrooms. Call it how it is.
I write this mid-slurp of another hidden gem on the menu. The spicy noodles, a thick soup of noodles served with bok choy and bits of spicy pork. It contains tons of Sichuan peppercorns so it is spicy, but it’s really best the next day when the noodles have the chance to absorb all of the sauce.
I wouldn’t be compelled to write this right now if it wasn’t worth the hype.