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Soup dumplings (dumplings FILLED w/ soup)

Chew on That Apr 3, 2008 09:12 AM

A friend of mine was telling me about her recent travels to NYC Chinatown. She went to a place that had soup dumplings....and no it's not what they're thinking.

They're actually dumplings that are FILLED with soup. And then when you're done drinking the soup, you dip the dumpling in a sauce. They sounded so good...has anyone heard of these, or is it only just this one place?

Do they have another name?

  1. a
    Ali Apr 3, 2008 09:15 AM

    Search for "xiao long bao" on the boards. They've been talked about extensively.

    1. MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 09:17 AM

      Here are a couple of links:


      1. jgg13 Apr 3, 2008 02:31 PM

        The place was likely Joe Shanghai, btw

        3 Replies
        1. re: jgg13
          Ruth Lafler Apr 3, 2008 04:10 PM

          And note also that Joe's Shanghai's soup dumplings are not "authentic" but are a bigger, soupier Americanized version of this Shanghai specialty.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            thew Jul 16, 2008 08:38 AM

            there are several different kinds of dumplings with soup in them in china, most served in shanghai - whatever the origin, from tiny to huge.

            and again - tastes good trumps authentic every time in my book

            1. re: thew
              fara Jul 17, 2008 05:17 AM

              there are much better places than joe's shanghai (aka dirty dishwater soup) to get soup dumplings in ny. try shanghai tide in flushing.

        2. Will Owen Apr 3, 2008 04:52 PM

          The best-known place for these in the Los Angeles area is Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. Insanely popular - it's got long lines out the door at any mealtime, and they've opened another one adjacent to it just to handle the crowds.

          FYI, the soup is "inserted" by wrapping the dumpling skin around a glob of cold jellied soup, which then melts when the dumpling is steamed. Probably lots easier said than done.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen
            moh Apr 3, 2008 05:14 PM

            "FYI, the soup is "inserted" by wrapping the dumpling skin around a glob of cold jellied soup, which then melts when the dumpling is steamed. Probably lots easier said than done."

            It isn't so bad to make a soup dumpling, but it is hard to make it well. We have made yummy soup dumplings, but our problem was getting enough soup inside it. Also, the skin is very hard to get right. I've been using store-bought skins, and now thanks to some hints from other Chowhounds, I am about to embark on homemade skins. We'll see how it goes. I can certainly make an acceptable comestible, but it is an art to get them just right. For this reason I shall continue to search out the professional version in a restaurant. I had some wonderful xiao long bao in Toronto recently. They were even better than the ones I had at Joe's Shanghai in NYC. Perfect skin and broth, so very special. A very unique dish.

            1. re: moh
              Miss Needle Apr 4, 2008 10:01 AM

              Moh, what type of store bought skins do you buy? Dumpling skins? Wonton skins? Egg roll wrappers cut up? I've kind of got this fear of making anything dough related (probably due to all my past failures) but always wanted to make my own soup dumplings.

              And Toronto defintely has better Chinese food than NYC.

              1. re: Miss Needle
                moh Apr 4, 2008 11:42 AM

                Miss Needle, I bought square dumpling wrappers. They worked well, and the final dumplings tasted great. The recipe I used was the one based on Anita Lo's recipe in Bon Appetit May 2007 (I believe you can find it online at Epicurious.com). They specifically state not to use wonton skins, as they are too thin. The recipe is delicious, but because of the size of the wrappers, I found I could not get in enough soup gelatin and still close the skin well enough. So I am going to experiment with homemade wrappers that are a bit bigger, and also adjust the amount of gelatin.

                But there is no question. The professional soup dumplings I tried in Toronto were amazing because the wrapper was sooo delicate and so thin, and yet they held together when picked up, and there was all this rich broth in them. My dumplings were very delicious, but they were not these soup dumplings. Work of art... I am completely obsessed with them. They are fabulous. Still, Anita Lo's recipe is fairly easy to do, and they are fun to make! Worth trying, and it makes a fun kitchen party.

                1. re: moh
                  Miss Needle Apr 4, 2008 12:55 PM

                  Thanks for the tip about Anita Lo's recipe. It looks good -- never had soup dumplings with shrimp in them, but sounds delicious. Before I take a stab at homemade wrappers again (made hau gau wrappers that failed miserably) I think I'll try getting some eggroll wrappers and cut it to appropriate size.

                  1. re: Miss Needle
                    Ruth Lafler Apr 4, 2008 01:30 PM

                    In the Bay Area there are a few places that make soup dumplings with crab, either mixed with the pork or pure Dungeness crab.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      Miss Needle Apr 4, 2008 01:33 PM

                      Yeah, we get that as well. Believe it or not, as much as I like crab, I prefer the plain pork ones. I think I'm also going to try this with ground turkey or chicken (the blasphemy!). DH can can eat pork like it's going out of style, but I really like to limit my pork consumption.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        moh Apr 4, 2008 02:04 PM

                        A friend of mine reported that she found the most insanely delicious crab soup dumplings in Vancouver, huge and rich.

                        I do love Dungeness crab. I still think very fondly of a crab dish in Chinatown in San Francisco (Gold Mountain? I think that was the name of the place) cut into pieces, lightly battered and perfectly fried with salt and pepper. I need to find an excuse to go back to the Bay Area.

                        1. re: moh
                          PeterL Jul 16, 2008 08:25 AM

                          It would be nice to know the name of this place in Vancouver as we'll be there in a week. However, being "huge" is not a virtual in the XLB world. They are supposed to be small and delicate, not huge.

                          1. re: PeterL
                            moh Jul 16, 2008 09:07 AM

                            I cannot tell you the name of the place as my friend doesn't remember the place, sorry. But have you seen this thread on the best XLB in Vancouver?


                            Sounds like you have a lot of good choices! Have fun eating!

              2. re: Will Owen
                ipsedixit Apr 3, 2008 09:20 PM

                It's not difficult at all -- many times the aspic mixture is incorporated into the filling. So all you have to do is scoop and wrap.

                1. re: Will Owen
                  Ed Dibble Jul 16, 2008 10:23 AM

                  Anyone interested in making these should look at how Kirk and his missus did a batch at mmm-yoso!!!


                2. f
                  Fida Apr 3, 2008 05:04 PM

                  People made a huge fuss over them when they first appeared at Joe's Shanghai years ago. After having them twice, I couldn't figure out what the big deal was, myself.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Fida
                    C. Hamster Apr 4, 2008 12:08 PM

                    The soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai are good but nothing that extraordinary.

                    When we go there and DON'T order them the waiters seem pissed off (though they rae surly to begin with). They assume that everyone goes there specifically for the dumplings.

                  2. Phaedrus Apr 3, 2008 05:25 PM


                    This is Gary Soup's site on street foods in Shanghai. He is a soup dumpling fanatic, hence the name. Check it out.

                    1. luckyfatima Apr 3, 2008 09:03 PM

                      A while back I coincidentally found these at the dim sum house near to my home after reading about them on Chowhound...they are AMAZING! The soup has burned my mouth before though. At the local place near me they are called Shanghai soup dumplings.

                      1. l
                        lydiainflorida Apr 4, 2008 06:48 AM

                        I just want to add that soup dumplings are called "xiao lung tang bao" or just "tang bao" for short. Xiao lung bao is a different dish. It's just steamed bun without the soup. "Tang" in Chinese means "soup".

                        I wanted to make that clear in case anyone goes to a Chinese restaurant and leaves disappointed and comes back with a negative review because the soup dumplings they order has no soup inside all because they see "xiao lung bao" on the menu and think it's soup dumplings.

                        1. DezzerSF Jul 15, 2008 10:09 PM

                          How can we tell whether the restaurant is serving frozen xlbs or house made ones?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: DezzerSF
                            PeterL Jul 16, 2008 08:26 AM

                            Well, you can ask. Also in some places such as Ding Tai Fung you can watch them being made.

                          2. f
                            fuuchan Jul 15, 2008 10:27 PM

                            Xiao long bao and tang bao are slightly different things.

                            Xiao long bao tend to be smaller, with more delicate skins and have filling as well as some broth inside.

                            Tang bao tend to be bigger, with much thicker, doughier skins (like those Shanghainese ones that you stick a straw in) and contain only liquid.

                            Try Flushing for xiao long bao, go early around breakfast/brunch time and take in some Taiwanese xiao chr ("little eats") while you're at it!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: fuuchan
                              scoopG Jul 16, 2008 03:10 AM

                              DezzerSF - here in Manhattan's Chinatown we have 7-8 restaurants that all serve XLB and all are hand-made. You can see them being made at the Shanghai Cafe - my favorite ones and the closest I've had to ones devoured in Shanghai and Taipei. No need to have to travel to Flushing to get delicious XLB.

                              1. re: scoopG
                                fuuchan Jul 16, 2008 01:28 PM

                                Where is the Shanghai Cafe? I don't know any Chinatown restaurants by English names, so maybe I've seen it.

                                I've had acceptable XLB in Chinatown, but none as good as in Flushing, not to mention you can't get a good Taiwanese breakfast in Chinatown. I wanna know if I've been missing out!

                                1. re: fuuchan
                                  Miss Needle Jul 16, 2008 04:02 PM


                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                    scoopG Jul 17, 2008 02:56 AM

                                    That's it! Look for Shanghai喬家!

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