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Who does the best soup dumplings?

Akiko Mar 27, 2002 07:54 AM

I had no idea that anyone in Manhattan served them besides Joe's Shanghai and then I read below that Tang Pavillion makes them.

So, who does them the best?



  1. c
    christina Mar 27, 2002 08:43 AM

    my personal favorite is
    joe's shanghai.
    order nothing else there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: christina
      djalex Jun 23, 2006 01:10 AM

      oooohhh. I disagree. you can enjoy the other food at joe's shanghai--at least.. i ordered something by accident there..it was shreddded beef with salted pepper and jalepeno's-- it was A---mazing!!!

      i like their soup dumplings but not love them. I discovered the soup dumpling in hong kong and haven't found an equal in nY yet. i ill be checking out the places everyone is writing about

      1. re: christina
        feedme Jul 13, 2006 10:23 PM

        i like their fried white fish you dip in salt and pepper!

        1. re: christina
          cilla Aug 23, 2006 03:16 PM

          joe's shanghai has fabulous soup dumplings, but if you venture out to downtown flushing queens (last stop on the 7 train - main street), "chen & chan" has the most amazing ones i've tasted. joe's shanghai also serves this particular kind of noodle that's unique and delicious; i forget the name.

        2. p
          Pat Goldberg Mar 27, 2002 09:01 AM

          Akiko, Shanghai cuisine is "in" at the moment, so there are lots of sources for soup dumplings. Some others that come to mind are New Green Bo and Evergreen. There are a couple of other Shanghai places in that same Chinatown neighborhood. You might try a search of these boards. They are also increasingly found at non-Shanghai places such as GSI, but I would not get them there.

          Pat G.

          1. s
            sheri holman Mar 28, 2002 11:03 AM

            I did the Leonard Lopate show once and asked him where he went (because he used to live in Chinatown). He swore by Shanghai Cuisine (next to Evergreen I think) and I have to say the dumplings are fantastic. Every bit as good as Joe's I think, without the crowd around the block. They also make a wonderful sticky rice full of gooey pork in the middle, for only like $2.50. Before I had a baby I used to go once a week to pick some up and steam them for my lunches. (I live in Brooklyn).


            10 Replies
            1. re: sheri holman
              Matt Mar 29, 2002 01:45 PM

              I second that! Shanghai Gourmet's soup dumplings feel lighter than elsewhere and have a taste that's just so ... fresh. I could eat a ton.

              Actually, Evergreen's are damn good, too.


              1. re: sheri holman
                iron frank Apr 1, 2002 12:47 AM

                Yes, Shanghai Cuisine has the best. I haven't been in ages but always loved their soup buns and their sticky rice with red bean for dessert. Never really explored the rest of the menu much. Any other recs?


                1. re: iron frank
                  Jim Leff Apr 1, 2002 01:25 AM

                  You say this after trying the soup dumplings at Tang Pavilion?

                  They're not flashy. They're low-profile, unjazzy, and ungoosed with grease. They're plain old pork, with nary a speck of crab. But they are, in my view, an entirely classier cut of soup dumpling.

                  of course, every hound's entitled to his/her opinion!


                  1. re: Jim Leff
                    iron frank Apr 2, 2002 02:06 AM

                    I loved the greaselessness of the filling at Tang Pavillion but I think the dough is more delicate at Shanghai Cuisine. But this is only from memory. I'll have to eat there one more time to judge for sure.

                    Has anyone had their eel?


                    1. re: iron frank
                      Jim Leff Apr 3, 2002 01:07 AM

                      Your Ferrousness,

                      I think I know what you're saying. A lesser soup dumpling has a certain hardness in the skin. The ones with softer, meltier skin, tend to easily break, however.

                      The thing I really dig about Tang Pavilion is that the skin is firm enough to obviate breakage, yet they are nonetheless highly oral-degradable. In other words, they do it ALL.

                      I'd really implore you to go back and try them again. In my opinion, Tang Pavillion's soup dumplings are not just a little better than the others in town; I think they're leagues better. But it's all about balance and subtle skill and care, so their majesty is not immediately noticeable. Without all the grease, you have to really take your time and taste deeply. With the firmness of skin, you need not to flash back to bad hard dumpling memories. Like hearing Charlie Parker after hearing 90 awful Charlie Parker clones, there's baggage to be unloaded in order to fully appreciate the real thing.

                      On the other hand....if you really like the other dumplings better (even after consideration of the above), that's certainly cool by me! I'm just pleading the case...


                      1. re: Jim Leff
                        wrayb Apr 3, 2002 04:37 AM

                        Tang Pavilion at 65 West 55th Street/Midtown?

                        1. re: wrayb
                          Jim Leff Apr 3, 2002 11:09 AM

                          Yup. It's my current fascination. Much as I love New Green Bo, this is the real deal for stately, careful Shanghai cooking.

                      2. re: iron frank
                        Rick Smith May 3, 2003 11:17 AM

                        Went to Tang Pavilion and Joe's Shanghai last night with 5 people.

                        3 preferred Tang and 2 preferred Joe's.

                        I preferred Joe's, and think the food is better and cheaper at Joe's in Flushing or Chinatown, rather than the 56th St location.

                  2. re: sheri holman
                    Aki Apr 3, 2002 12:17 AM

                    Are you talking about Shanghai Gourmet?Shanghai Cuisine is on Bayard & Mulberry.Shanghai Gourmet is on Mott,a few stores south from Evergreen.These two restaurants make completely different soup dumplings.

                    1. re: Aki
                      sheri holman Apr 4, 2002 08:56 PM

                      Sorry about that, I personally meant Shanghai Gourmet on Mott. I had the dumplings at Shanghai Cuisine long ago and I remember them being very good too.

                      Someone else asked about the eel at Shanghai Cuisine --About three years ago, a Shanghai professor took a group of us there and did all the ordering. She swore by the baby eel in black bean sauce (I think...) It was a long time ago, but I remember it being great and very tender. She also ordered gluten pillow with winter melon (does that sound right?) which was great.


                  3. c
                    Caitlin Wheeler Mar 28, 2002 05:22 PM

                    I LOVE them from Shanghai something (soho? Tang? Tide? I feel like the name keeps changing). The restaurant is on Houston and Wooster. Both the regular soup dumplings and the crab and pork soup dumplings are fabulous.

                    1. c
                      Cloudy Mar 28, 2002 11:54 PM

                      Goody's on E. Broadway also has them. They are as good as Joe's, and there's rarely a line. Some of their other food is also terrific. I especially love the braised pork shoulder; it's red-cooked and served on a bed of spinach with a wonderful pungent sauce. It's one of the dishes I find myself thinking about longingly at times.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Cloudy
                        bigjeff Sep 4, 2002 03:24 PM

                        there's also a Goody's in Rego Park, on 63rd Drive, right off of Queens Boulevard (94-03B 63rd Drive) that main little strip of restaurants . . . you can get the soup dumplings to go, and last time I went, they had some incredible deal, like $2 for 8 . . . but I doubt it's still on sale like that . . .

                        1. re: Cloudy
                          jungirl Jun 28, 2006 08:08 PM

                          second goody's. also like (surprisingly) the grand sichuan on 24th and 9th.

                        2. a
                          Aki Mar 29, 2002 01:44 AM

                          I've never liked Joe's.They use too much M.S.G. in the soup dumplings.And i'll second Pat.The broth of Shanghai Cusine's soup dumplings is very clear and no bad aftertaste.Try Shanghai C's immediately after eating Joe's's,you'll find out what makes good soup dumplings.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Aki
                            Peter Cuce Apr 18, 2002 07:47 PM

                            I've been in Joe's fan for a long time, so today I tried out Shanghai Cuisine's dumplings for lunch. Yum. They were great. Firm dumplings, smaller than Joe's, much more taste than Joe's, kind of sweet and gingery. I liked them quite a bit. They serve six ($5.50) instead of eight. On the way back to work I tried the Malaysia Beef Jerky place on Elizabeth. The spicy beef jerky ($3.75/quarter lb.) was excellent, sweet and fresh with a spicy bite.

                          2. c
                            cs Mar 31, 2002 07:03 PM

                            the best soup dumplings are the "tiny buns" at New Green Bo - Chinatown

                            1. j
                              Josh Apr 3, 2002 09:49 AM

                              nan xiang xiao long

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Josh
                                bettyG Mar 19, 2004 05:30 PM

                                The best "soupy buns" are at Goody's on East Broadway and the Bowery. All their food is superb.

                                1. re: Josh
                                  sonia Jan 22, 2005 09:55 AM

                                  "Shanghai Cuisine" is the name of the restaurant located in New York City's Chinatown. Address is 89-91 Bayard St. Phone# (212)732-8988/ 735-5122.
                                  I go to New York once a year and make it part of my plans to have these delicious soup dumplings. They are incredible!

                                2. bigmackdaddy Jul 19, 2006 12:02 AM

                                  Wonton Garden on Mott Street in Chinatown. They also make a mean hoi nam chicken and curry beef stew with noodles.

                                  1. w
                                    wrathofcannes Jul 21, 2006 04:33 PM

                                    I love the soup dumplings at Kum Gang San in the Garment District. It's Korean, though, not Chinese. But those dumplings are divine.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: wrathofcannes
                                      Pan Jul 22, 2006 03:48 AM

                                      Tell me more. What are those soup dumplings like, and what are they called on the menu?

                                      I haven't had xiaolong bao for some time, but at a certain point, I concluded that Yeah Shanghai beat out New Green Bo and Joe's for quality. They're not consistent, though (some are thicker than others). I had better xiaolong bao at China 46 on Route 46 in New Jersey, for whatever that's worth.

                                    2. w
                                      wrathofcannes Jul 22, 2006 05:37 PM

                                      It's called Mandoo Soup. And the dumpling dough is tasty, not just doughy. And the beef is peppery and oniony and spicy. Just love it...you gotta try it!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: wrathofcannes
                                        prunefeet Aug 14, 2006 08:47 PM

                                        Mandoo are not soup dumplings though. Soup dumplings are dumplings with broth in them, not dumplings in broth. Not that mandoo are not very nice!

                                      2. Polecat Aug 14, 2006 10:13 PM

                                        Thank you, Jim Leff, for comparing Shanghai Soup Dumplings to Charlie Parker.
                                        You are, forever, to be trusted.

                                        1. c
                                          Cheesy Aug 18, 2006 02:16 PM

                                          I have to reiterate, Goody's at One East Broadway has excellent Soup Dumplings (and if you are with a few hungry carnivores try the "Pork Shoulder" too). The bathroom is in the kitchen, what's not to like?

                                          1. c
                                            cervisiam Aug 18, 2006 07:33 PM

                                            just went to goodie's today--great soup dumplings! it took about 30 minutes to get our food (soup dumplings and beef with dried bean curd/peppers) but the dumplings were totally worth it.

                                            1. mielimato Aug 19, 2006 05:47 PM

                                              What about Yeah Shanghai Deluxe on Bayard? They have very good dumplings (although I prefer Shanghai Cuisine's a bit more). They also have a much more extensive menu and the best shanghai cold appetizer selection in Chinatown in my opinion.

                                              Joe Shanghai used to be very good. But I have net been back in 4 years because the quality really started going downhill.

                                              1. h
                                                haleyjen Aug 24, 2006 09:11 PM

                                                I like Shanghai Cafe's and their other stuff is good as well.

                                                1. designerboy01 Aug 28, 2006 05:07 AM

                                                  I think in NY Chinatown, Shanghai Cafe on Mott Street North of Canal Street does the best job, its still not the greatest. I'm sorry to tell you but the orginal chef that made Joe Shanghai famous left eons ago. The thing about Chinatown is that you have to follow the chef. Insiders don't go to Joe Shanghai anymore.

                                                  There is one famous chef that used to come from Taiwan every so often and he cooks at the Sheraton in Flushing as guest chef. His soup dumplings are famous and every time he comes it gets sold out. But expect to pay more like $12 for a set of 8. The skins are suppose to be thin and he does it right. He only advertises in the chinese paper when he comes.

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