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Shanghai Soup Dumplings

  • m

I'm looking for a place that serves Shanghai soup dumplings (xiao long bao). These are the dumplings that have a sip of soup inside the wrapper. Shanghai Joe's in Manhattan is famous for them. Are they available in the Bay Area, especially in the East Bay?

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  1. m
    Melanie Wong

    Welcome to Chowhound, Michael. The pursuit of xiao long bao is a never-ending quest on this board. Linked below is the latest report, although not not a terribly satisfactory one. However, if you follow the embedded links in that thread, it will take you to an earlier thread, and from that one to the previous, etc. which detail the many places 'hounds have reported on so far in this hunt. We welcome your reports too on what you find.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1. Go to the post linked below. I tried them long ago and found them to be great. My dad claimed it's the best he ever had.

      We will be having several chowhound get togethers in the near future for outstanding & authentic Chinese places in the South bay area - keep checking the board for them.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. j

        Michael--I, too, am a huge fan of Shanghai Joe's soup dumplings (just had them a few weeks ago). Local chowhounds are on a never ending quest to find the best SF version. Stay posted.

        1. Having recently moved back from New York, I too have been on a quest to find soup dumplings. So far, using San Francisco magazines March 2002 issue as my guide, I came across Shanghai Noodles on Balboa in the Outer Richmond District of San Francisco. While they are not as "soupy" as Joe's Shanghai or my personal favorite, Evergreen SHanghai on Mott St, I definitely found it to be a good start. I believe there is also a Shanghai restaurant on Judah in the Inner Sunset, but have not had a chance to venture out.

          1. Be aware that the xiaolong bao you'll find around SF are not directly comparable to the "soup dumplings" that are the rage in New York. Generally speaking, they are truer to the Shanghai model (smaller, firmer and somewhat less soupy). I've indulged in the soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai and at the (Mid-town) Evergreen and found them, while juicy and tasty enough, a somewhat different experience. It seems the only way to eat then is prop them on a spoon and nibble carefully at them. With the Shanghai XLB, I've adopted what I call the "cherry tomato" approach -- pop the whole thing in your mouth and let the flavors explode (risking, of course, an occasional burnt tongue).

            Link: http://www.shanghaisoup.com

            1. I believe this to be the same or close to the Chow Zhou Dumpling served in Fukian. I fell in love with this speciality on trips to this area.

              I found a wonderful one at the Harbor View in SF. I am not sure if they are still there, as I know they closed their HK/Kowloon branch several years back.

              These are the size of a softball: noodle dough outside and wonderful hot broth and soup stuff inside! Love them!


              2 Replies
              1. re: Mary-Anne

                What you're describing is something different. In Cantonese it's called boon tong gau. I love them too, but the two dim sum teams don't share my enthusiasm, so have not focused on this item in the current challenge.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  The Cantonese version is not only bigger, but I think usually contains some high end ingredients such as sharks fin. Of course XLB can also contain high end ingredients such as hairy crab.

              2. visiting san francisco in june, and wanted to see if any of these places are still open, who recommends what, etc. etc.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ccqueen

                  One place that's well-regarded for XLB that's still around is Shanghai in Oakland Chinatown. If you're visiting and staying downtown, it's probably easier to get to than the places in the Outer Richmond district: hop on BART, hop off at 12th Street and walk a couple of blocks to 10th and Webster.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Yeah, I was there less than a week ago and the XLB were as good as ever.

                    I would add Shanghai House on Balboa in SF to the list. Three of the four times I've had the XLB they neared perfection. The one time they didn't was New Year's Day, which might have been a day off (or an off day) for the chef/owner.

                2. Try Shanghai Dumplings on Balboa in the Richmond District. Yummy dumplings; horrible service.

                  1. Here's a link to a brief review of Shanghai Dumpling Shop - http://www.sfweekly.com/search/restau...