Where to find the best soup dumplings in Chinatown?
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.
(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.
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:
re: Gary Soup
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.....
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.