HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

vegetarian shanghai dumplings?

mchan02 Sep 26, 2006 06:28 PM

maybe this is an oxymoron, but does anywhere around here have vegetarian shanghai dumplings? i'll eat fish and shellfish, just no land animals...

  1. PeterL Sep 26, 2006 07:29 PM

    You can find steamed vegetarian dumplings in Shanghai places. But I don't know of vegetarian Shanghai dumplings in hot chili oil. BTW where is "around here"?

    4 Replies
    1. re: PeterL
      JoyM Sep 26, 2006 07:51 PM

      I vaguely remember someone mentioning that they had found a place (south bay somewhere??) that served xiao long bow that were made from crabmeat only (no pork). Maybe if you posted with that specific request?

      1. re: JoyM
        Melanie Wong Sep 27, 2006 12:28 AM

        Here's Porthos' post on the crab XLB at Koi Palace in Daly City.


      2. re: PeterL
        mchan02 Sep 26, 2006 10:54 PM

        "around here" is Bay Area. this is supposed to be a reply to PeterL.

        1. re: mchan02
          PeterL Sep 26, 2006 11:19 PM

          Well I know this is bay area. But still it's a rather large area. Is it the City? East Bay? South Bay?

      3. j
        jhleung Sep 26, 2006 11:15 PM

        Hi, I don't know what you mean by "Shanghai Dumpling", because there is "Shanghainese dimsum", which comprises of, among other things, various types of dumplings, many of which originated from around Shanghai or the vicinity.

        One of these types of dumplings is XiaoLongBao, which you may mean to speak of when you say "Shanghai Dumpling".

        Anyways, if you go anywhere that does Shanghainese Dimsum like Su Hong in Palo Alto, HC Dumpling in Cupertino, Shanghai East in Millbrae and Shanghai in Oakland, Shaghai Dumpling Shop and Old Shanghai in SF, and Shaghai Home Taste in Mountain View, you can order something called:

        MANDARIN "Su Dsin Jiao"
        CANTONESE "Syu Tsing Gao"
        SHANGHAINESE "I have no idea"

        The literal transation is "Steamed Veggie Dumpling"

        The shape is the shape of a potsticker, not the round shape of an XLB, but that's what it is.

        Anyways, with respect to the Crabmeat-Only XLB, this is called:

        MANDARIN "Hsieh-Fen Xiaolongbao"
        CANTONESE "Hai-Fun Syu Long Bao"
        SHANGHAINESE "I have no idea"

        Any shanghainese dimsum place worth their salt will have this too, although I cannot say with 100% certainty that the places in the US are honest enough to make sure these are 100% crab and not cut with meat.

        If you really want really good crab-based XLB, I think your best bet is to go to Shanghai / HK / Taiwan during specific local crab seasons. I recently went to HK and had:

        MANDARIN "Huang-You Xiaolongbao"
        CANTONESE "Wong-Yau SyuLongBao"
        SHANGHAINESE "I have no idea"

        which is absolutely sublime. It was an XLB filled with 100% crab butter from a crab that is only available in July/August every year. It was hidesously expensive though, like $3 per XLB. But it was worth it.

        Jason in SF

        8 Replies
        1. re: jhleung
          PeterL Sep 26, 2006 11:22 PM

          Shanghai dumplings are usually all meat boiled dumplings, similar to the Cantonese wonton except no shrimp, served with hot chili oil. XLB is steamed soup dumplings. There are also steamed vegetarian dumplings. Not to mention pot stickers, and pan fried dumplings (shan jing bao).

          1. re: PeterL
            mchan02 Sep 26, 2006 11:34 PM

            Sorry I wasnt more specific in my original post. I'm looking for a veggie (or seafood) version of Shanghai soup dumplings. San Francisco or East Bay is preferable. Not China.

            1. re: mchan02
              jhleung Sep 26, 2006 11:47 PM

              Oh, OK. In that case, I have no idea where to find a vegetarian version of XLB. For Crab-Fen versions of XLB, all the places I mentioned above have it, but I cannot say with confidence that they are not cut with meat (I don't know if you are strictly vegetarian or...etc.)

              Oh, and sorry, but to be nitpicky... Shanghai Soup Dumpling ....

              You might mean XLB or XLTB (xiaolongtangbao)? Difference being that XLTB is smaller rendition of regular XLB, and also XLTB are meant to be dunked into a bowl of soup before eating (and XLTB also has soup built into the dumpling, as regular XLB)

            2. re: PeterL
              jhleung Sep 26, 2006 11:43 PM


              I'm not so sure I would call sheng jian bao a dumpling. I think I'd call it a pan fried mini-bun (stuffed with pork)

            3. re: jhleung
              jiongliu Sep 27, 2006 01:40 AM

              Shanghainese: hafen xiaolong bao (no tones, low high low high low on the register)
              Everyone of these that I have ever eaten has had pork with some crab meat so if you're avoiding meat, this isn't a good idea.

              1. re: jiongliu
                Melanie Wong Sep 27, 2006 01:42 AM

                Have you had the ones at Koi Palace? Per the link posted above, they're all crab and no pork.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  jiongliu Sep 28, 2006 12:18 AM

                  That's amazing. I must go out and try them soon. I've never had all crab xlb in all my years in shanghai. Now the question is are there any of these in shanghai?

                  1. re: jiongliu
                    Melanie Wong Sep 28, 2006 12:23 AM

                    I have heard reports of all crab xlb in Hong Kong though I've not had the pleasure myself. Don't know about Shanghai --- please post an inquiry on the China board, I'd love to know.

                    P.S. I'm waiting for local crab season to open, then I'll be right behind you at Koi Palace. (g)

            4. K K Sep 27, 2006 04:32 AM

              San Tung in Irving if I recall, might have a vegetarian steamed dumpling, but that's another type of beast.

              1. m
                Meredith Sep 27, 2006 10:59 PM

                my understanding (and this is based on nothing more than reading a magazine feature about them with a recipe) is that the soup inside is a double or triple strength chicken or beef broth. When chilled, due to the gelatin from the bone proteins, it becomes solid enough to wrap a cube of in the wrapper, and then when steamed hot, melts back into soup. So I don't know if even the crab version would be without land animal broth inside.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Meredith
                  Melanie Wong Sep 27, 2006 11:55 PM

                  I'm getting the feeling that I'm the only one who ever opens and reads linked posts that have all the answers covered . . .

                  Anyway, per the post I linked earlier, Porthos describes the crab xlb at Koi Palace as being all crab with just the natural juices and none of the pork consumme. Chicken and especially beef broth would be too weird to think about in xlb, you'd better throw away that magazine since the editors are idiots.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    Gary Soup Sep 28, 2006 12:44 AM

                    No beef, to be sure, but chicken is often a component of the aspic as in John Tsui's recipe:


                    or as a substitute aspic base as in this pictorial tutorial from Shanghai:


                    Indonesia and Malaysia have places that serve halal XLB.

                Show Hidden Posts