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Where to find the best soup dumplings in Chinatown?

Jel212 Aug 27, 2007 06:37 AM

Going to be visiting on vaca, want to do both dim sum, and a soup-dumplings-and-more meal while I'm there. Recommends on the latter?

  1. Gary Soup Aug 27, 2007 07:23 AM

    There are no good soup dumplings (a.k.a. xiaolong bao) in Chinatown. Your best bet are two restaurants in the foggy outer Richmond District, Shanghai House and Shanghai Dumpling King. Of the two, I'd recommend Shanghai House for both the (marginally better) xiaolong bao and other dishes. Some Shanghainese brunch specialties (savory soy milk soup, for example) are only served on weekends at Shanghai House but every day at Shanghai King, but the xiaolong bao are served every day. If you do go to Shanghai House on a weekend, try the savory soy milk soup (xian doujiang); it might be the best you'll find in North America.

    Shanghai Restaurant (Shanghai Xiao Chi) in Oakland Chinatown also has very good xiaolong bao and other Shanghainese specialties and is just as easy to get to as the two SF places, thanks to BART.

    If you get snookered into going to Yank Sing for dim sum (hit the ATM machine first), they DO have remarkably good xiaolong bao for a Cantonese dim sum house; avoid it at all other Cantonese dim sum places.

    Shanghai House
    (between 37th Ave & 38th Ave)
    3641 Balboa Street
    San Francisco, CA 94121

    Shagnhai Dumpling King
    3319 Balboa Street
    (between 34th Ave & 35th Ave)
    San Francisco, CA 94121

    Take the #38 Geary-Ocean Beach bus to either of the two above.

    Shanghai Restaurant
    930 Webster St,
    (between 9th and 10th Streets)
    Oakland, CA 94607

    Take BART to Oakland Civic Center-12th St.

    Pix respectively of Shanghai House, Shanghai House's savory soy milk soup, Shanghai (Oakland's) shengjian bao and xiaolong bao:

    11 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup
      lemoncoke Aug 27, 2007 09:58 AM

      I'm really interested in Shanghai Restaurant.

      The funny thing is I was at the Oakland StreetFest, and in a booth, I saw them eating some good dumplings. I went and asked them and they said they got it from Shanghai Restaurant. But because of the language barrier, I couldn't understand what they ordered.

      It look like dumplings with a lot of green chives(?) in it, with soup.....

      1. re: lemoncoke
        Gary Soup Aug 27, 2007 10:14 AM

        Were the chives in the dumplings or on top? It may have been shengjian bao (see the third picture in my post). Shanghainese also make a larger steamed bao filled with green veggie matter`(su cai bao), but it's not soupy.

        Shanghai in Oakland is about the most Shanghainese place I've encountered in North America in look and feel as well as in offerings. The food's not always the best but most of it is done pretty well.

        1. re: Gary Soup
          kc72 Aug 27, 2007 10:34 AM

          Have they cleaned the place up at all? I've been 2x and both times, I've seen a tub of dirty dishes on tables, which were then placed on the ground next to the table when the table needed to be used.

          1. re: kc72
            Gary Soup Aug 27, 2007 10:45 AM

            That would be part of the "look and feel" I was talking about ;-)

            Actually I've never seen that. Most of the times I've been there (usually lunch time) all the tables were being used by customers.

            1. re: Gary Soup
              lemoncoke Aug 27, 2007 12:35 PM

              The chives were in the dumpling itself. It sort of looked like it could be wontons, but it had a lot of greens inside. I think the dumplings were in soup. It looked REALLY good that morning when the sun didn't come out yet!

              1. re: lemoncoke
                Gary Soup Aug 27, 2007 09:05 PM

                Sounds like they may have been shui jiao (boiled dumplings shaped like potstickers) with jiu cai, the so-called "garlic chives" as a filling.

                1. re: lemoncoke
                  Ruth Lafler Aug 28, 2007 11:11 AM

                  It sounds like it might have been their shepherd's purse (a green herb/veggie) wonton soup -- it's delicious.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    Gary Soup Aug 28, 2007 11:16 AM

                    Do they have that on the menu? If so, that's probably what it was.

                    1. re: Gary Soup
                      Ruth Lafler Aug 28, 2007 11:28 AM

                      Yup. One of the first things I ordered there -- it's on the same half-sheet paper menu as the dumpling dishes.


                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        lemoncoke Aug 28, 2007 11:59 AM

                        Thanks a lot! I will go try it and report back!

        2. re: Gary Soup
          Jel212 Aug 27, 2007 11:05 AM

          Thanks for the info - and the warning!

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