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Where can I find the best soup dumplings in Manhattan???

I'm looking for the best soup dumplings in Manhattan. I've heard of Joe's Shanghai and Shanghai Cafe? Are these sit down/restaurant places?

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  1. Yes, both of those are sit down.

    Try the soup dumplings at RedFarm or Chinatown Brasserie by Joe Ng, they are the best in town right now. They are pork belly and crab with yellow leeks, shiitake mushrooms, sesame oil, ginger, cooking wine, and more in the filling. They also add a tiny bit of yellow leeks and saffron to the wrappers. Incredibly fragrant and flavorful, without the oily broth you get elsewhere, and super delicate skins. Worth the extra cost for XLB fans.

    http://vimeo.com/31587670

    16 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Second this. Joe Ng's RedFarm and Chinatown Brasserie definitely reign supreme in the NYC soup dumpling world.

      1. re: Cheeryvisage

        Third CB.

        1. re: Cheeryvisage

          IF you're looking for authentic I'd go to Shanghai Cafe though. There are no Shitake mushrooms or saffron in real XLB. (That's not to say those aren't good, they're just not traditional).

          1. re: Renguin

            Is there saffron in Chinatown Brasserie's xlb? I don't recall tasting that.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2012/0...

              "The bright yellow wrappers—which get their color from saffron and yellow leeks—each get stuffed with pork and crab soup dumpling filling."

              1. re: Miss Needle

                I don't think so? That might be Red Farm's version I'm guessing since Red Farm is the fusion-y of the two Joe Ng restaurants. CB's soup dumplings taste like traditional soup dumplings.

                ETA:

                This is what CB's soup dumplings look like, no saffron: http://flic.kr/p/beBWMa

                1. re: Cheeryvisage

                  No saffron in the Chinatown Brasserie XLB, and the saffron in the XLB at Red Farm is presently the case. When Red Farm first opened, there was no saffron in the XLB. As much as I like saffron, it does not work in XLB. The two times I've ordered XLB at Red Farm, once without saffron and once with saffron, both times they were not equal to the XLB at Chinatown Brasserie which has my favorite XLB in Manhattan (but not NYC).

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Is your favorite XLB found in Nanxiang? Or a different place?

                    1. re: Cheeryvisage

                      In NYC, Nanxiang, it's very consistent. Chinatown Brasserie does a great rendition and I love eating dim sum there but can't afford to eat there too often. My favorite was Goody's in Rego Park before the chef moved to China, they were thin skinned, flavorful, better than Joe's Shanghai and absurdly inexpensive.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        Don't know about Rego Park's Goody's, but I remember when the xlb was $2 an order at Manhattan's C-town location. Unfortunately they had a limit of one order per person. Otherwise I would have ordered 3 of them and eat them all in one sitting.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          $1.99 for six pork xlb. I used to gorge myself, no limit on orders in Queens :)

                          1. re: Pookipichu

                            Dang, I should have hauled myself out to that Goody's when it was still open. Probably would have put them out of business. : )

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              My funny Goody's story.....before they closed, i do not remember exactly how long ago it was....but I do recall they were running the two buck special at the time.....A friend who had been transferred out of the NYC area to Florida for a few years returned for a visit. The thing he missed most was NYC Italian and Chinese. To satisfy the latter, we ended up at Goody's for lunch. I seem to recall the Manager;s name was *Luther*, a tall man with a shaved head.....very unusual at the time to see a Chinese man dressed in a suit with a polished head, let alone going by the name Luther........I used to tease him and cal him *Lex* (Luthor).

                              At the time, you would be hard pressed to find many items for over 5 bucks on the menu......since my bud was having a one shot meal, we ended up ordering an array of items....probably over a dozen mixed between XLB, Appetizers, Vegetables and Seafood. I recall two for sure....their House Special Pan Fried Tofu and Carp's Head

                              While ordering, Luther interrupts and says...."Are you sure you want to order all this food? There is no way you could possibly finish" ....My reply was,......."Does it matter".......Luther laughed and said "I like your style".

                              Silly at some of the things you cannot forget.....

                              1. re: fourunder

                                It's a shame that a Macdonald's generates more business than a restaurant with fresh, excellent homemade food that is less expensive than a Big Mac. The chef of Goody's left for bigger and brighter things in Shanghai where I'm sure he is making much more money and has much more respect.

                2. re: Miss Needle

                  Thanks Kathryn and cheery. I've been to Chinatown Brasserie but not Red Farm. I agree that CB's xlb are the best I've had in NYC. I've consumed an entire order by myself. I'd like to try Red Farm at some point but am too impatient to deal with the waits.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    I'm actually do not like the xlb at Red Farm, imo the saffron is not a complementary flavor, the size of it is too large to comfortably fit on a spoon, and the skin is not as expertly made as CB. Irrespective of wait, I don't believe you are missing anything in that regard. Their other dim sum options are more successful, but also a bit hit or miss. I really enjoy the pac man dumplings but the crispy duck and crab dumplings are less so. The presentation is beautiful and the dim sum look like horseshoe crabs, but the flavor of the crab and duck are muted and muddled. Overall, even though Red Farm is more of the moment, I'd rather dine at CB. The three chili chicken at Red Farm is so ill-conceived as to be obnoxious to Chinese cuisine.

          2. Here's a 21 posting list, as recent as this month:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/768535

            And another:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/584869

            BTW, searched for XLB vs soup dumplings.

            1. if you don't want to spend an arm and a leg and want a real chinatown experience, go to shanghai cafe

              3 Replies
              1. re: AubWah

                I agree with AubWah, Shanghai Cafe rules. I also love their tofu skin "noodles" with stir fried pork and edamame.

                1. re: diakon

                  Shanghai Cafe rocks my world.

                  1. re: diakon

                    Agreed, that tofu skin dish is incredible.

                2. I think the best soup dumplings are at Shanghai Asian Manor at 21 Mott St. (corner of Mosco St.) They're plump, juicy, and flavorful!

                  1. The best I've had in a long time (and I eat them about once a week, at various places) were at the Old Sichuan on Bayard, last Saturday. The restaurant is run by Shanghainese and these were stellar...thinnest skins I've seen in a long time (look how slouchy they are), lots of soup.
                    There were 8 but the middle one had been nabbed by the time I could make with my camera.

                     
                    3 Replies
                    1. re: buttertart

                      Oooh, indeed! These look as good / slouchy as Chinatown Brasserie's and I bet they're cheaper too. How much are they?

                      Are these soup dumplings on the menu, or do you have to specifically request them? I ask since the restaurant's name is "Old Sichuan".

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Nevermind, found the online menu: http://oldsichuanrestaurant.com/menu....

                        $4.50 or pork, or $6.50 for crab roe, a true bargain!

                        1. re: Cheeryvisage

                          Try them, please! Their Sichuan dishes are good too. Ask either of the ladies for recommendations.

                      2. I want to throw in one for 456 Shanghai, down on Mott St. It's been a few months since I had sublime XLB at DTF in HK, but these were pretty darn close. Super thin-skinned, and while I had read that the crab/pork version was "funky," I didn't find that and possibly liked it more than the pork version (though I am splitting hairs here). We ordered an obscene amount of food and walked away with a $30 tab, which was also great - and that certainly can't be done at CB.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: EBT

                          Which of any of these places would be good to take a group of 6 to for a birthday dinner on a Friday night? The "birthday girl" said she'd like to go to Chinatown and I know she loves dumplings. Although I'm guessing RedFarm and CB would be good options, I think she wanted to keep costs down for some of the people in the party. So I'm not going so far as to say festive/celebratory as much as suitable for a group that's celebrating. Just as a caveat, she once turned up her nose at the food I'd ordered from Hot Kitchen as too "weird" so I'm not sure how far she (or the others in the group) will stray from the chinese-american classics or at least the seemingly more familiar dishes.

                          1. re: lucyj

                            BTW, Chinatown Brasserie has closed. And RedFarm doesn't take reservations usually, but parties of 10 or larger can book a large party reservation (unfortunately your group size is too small).

                            1. re: lucyj

                              I still think the best soup dumplings by far is Annisa! It's a little pricey but just go and order them as your main course... You won't regret it! A lot of people just go sit at the bar and just order that for dinner.

                              1. re: lucyj

                                lucyj, 456 should fit the bill. The soup dumplings are good and there is a good selection of American-Chinese fare as well.
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770707

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  I've been once, shortly after it reopened, but for some reason don't have a great recollection of it. Thanks for suggesting it!

                                  1. re: scoopG

                                    4-5-6 was perfect! They allowed me to change the size of the res twice, allowed us to bring in liquor and champagne (they only serve beer and wine), seated us at a big round table in the pack where we had plenty of space and felt a little separated from the rest of the room, and the dumplings (as well as the rest of the food) were delicious. Plus it worked out to be only about $20 per person!

                                    1. re: lucyj

                                      I am glad that worked out for you and your group.

                              2. Both Shanghai Heping and 456, both on Mott, make considerably better soup dumplings than Joe's. I don't think Joe's are "bad," but they're far from the best in Chinatown, not to mention Queens.

                                1. I don't hate the soup dumplings at Joe's, but I've had much better. The Joe's in Queens is way better than Manhattan also.

                                  1. I haven't been to Joe's in years but if they're of the quality I remember, they were acceptable (some of the first in the city -- Great Shanghai on Division had them, even in the late '80s). They were by no means comparable to what is available now. (Shanghai Heping, a restaurant I absolutely adore, has even better sheng jian bao than xiao long bao, in my opinion).