13 Exemplary Chinese Soup Dumplings in NYC

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“Soup dumplings, also known by their Chinese name of xiao long bao (or XLB for short), were first popularized in New York City over 20 years ago by Joe’s Shanghai. But these soup-filled purses with a tiny pork meatball inside, and sometimes a wad of crabmeat on top, have a far longer history. They originated in the Shanghai suburb of Nanxiang around 1875, and quickly took their place among Shanghai’s other dumpling styles. The secret: a gelatin-laced filling that turns liquid during steaming.

In fact, the best ones usually arrive in a bamboo steamer, and eating them requires some skill: Gingerly lift the dumpling onto your spoon by its topknot with the tongs provided or with chopsticks, nip off the knot with your teeth, suck out the gravy, pour in the black vinegar-and-ginger sauce if you like, then eat the remainder. Just let them cool first — trust me.”

  1.  Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

    For a decade, the lines have stretched out the door at this modest Flushing dumpling house, which was once said to have the best XLB in town. They’re offered in the usual two varieties alongside rice cakes, noodles, and breakfast specialties. The juicy buns are indeed thin-skinned and wonderfully wobbly, with the crab variation featuring a good quantity of crustacean inside the filling and on top — though the palm has passed to other providers as far as first-place soup dumplings goes.

     

  2. Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao

    This delightful spot with plenty of blonde wood chairs is one of a small collection of Taiwanese restaurants just north of the Long Island Expressway. The XLB here are carefully made with a particularly rich gravy, and don’t be deterred that only one of the crab versions of the dumplings has a wad on top: The rest have a generous quantity mixed inside with the pork.

     

Read more here.

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