The cold weather is the perfect excuse to hibernate and eat warm, rich comfort food to your heart’s content.
We’ve already got you covered with mac & cheese, grilled cheese, and burgers, and now we’re sharing the best soup dumplings in NYC! From the moment you open the bamboo steamer basket, grab your chopsticks and bite into those fluffy dumplings with the most delicious savory hot broth, you’re in heaven. Drooling yet? (We know we are!)
According to Kungfu Kitchen (#9 on the list!), Xiao Long Bao (or what are commonly referred to as “soup dumplings”) are a “type of steamed bun (baozi) from the Jiangnan region of China, especially associated with Shanghai and Wuxi. It is traditionally prepared in a xiao long, small bamboo steaming basket, which give them their name. They are considered a kind of ‘soup dumpling’ but should not be confused with other larger varieties of tang bao.” You’ll see they’ve been fondly dubbed “XLB” on social media.
Satisfy your craving at one of these top spots, in no particular order, ASAP. Here are our best soup dumplings in NYC:
1. Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, Flushing / The Bao, East Village
What: The owners behind Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao in Flushing also head up The Bao on St. Mark’s Place, and both spots are known for their incredible soup dumplings in spicy and sour or with bone broth. And don’t forget, they even have Nutella soup dumplings (for dessert, of course)!
Where: 59-16 Main St, Flushing (Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao) / 13 St Marks Pl, New York (The Bao)
2. Pinch Chinese, SoHo
What: Pinch Chinese takes more of a high-end approach to Chinese food, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious! It received a Bib Gourmand Michelin Award in 2019, which highlights restaurants that “serve high quality food while making it possible to order two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included),” according to the Michelin website. They have an extensive wine and craft cocktail list, though be prepared to wait for a table for dinner!
Where: 177 Prince St.
3. Bund on Broadway, Astoria
What: This spot in Astoria, Queens is owned by another Queens Chinese restaurant favorite: Bund in Forest Hills. They hand-make the dough and filling every single day, and offer shrimp, crabmeat, and classic pork fillings.
Where: 25-08 Broadway
4. Red Farm, Upper West Side
What: Red Farm’s main location is on the Upper West Side, but they also have a spot in the West Village now (and even one in London!). It’s helmed by dim sum master chef Joe Ng and Chinese food expert Ed Schoenfeld, who try to put a twist on modern Chinese food while also using ingredients from local greenmarkets. Their pork and crab soup dumplings are a bit larger than usual and come in their own individual steamer baskets.
Where: 2170 Broadway (between 76th and 77th St.)
5. Joe’s Shanghai, Bowery
What: Joe’s was arguably one of the first places to bring soup dumplings to the city, originally founded in Flushing in 1995. Their other main spot was in Chinatown, but they moved to the Bowery at the end of 2019. They’ve been featured in the New York Times Restaurant Guide, Gourmet Magazine, Travel and Leisure, New York Magazine and Zagat, so you know this place is legit!
Where: 46 Bowery
6. Mr. Bun, Brooklyn
What: Brooklyn has bao too! This joint in the Bath Beach neighborhood has crab and pork soup dumplings with a light, thin dough that won’t dare break when you pick them up.
Where: 2048 86th St, Brooklyn
7. Brooklyn Chop House, FiDi
What: If you want a different twist on traditional soup dumplings, you might want to try these delicious French Onion Soup Dumplings at Brooklyn Chop House! Just steps away from the Brooklyn Bridge, this Asian-fusion steakhouse also offers Pork Soup Dumplings and Crab Soup Dumplings — plus, they’re opening their own dumpling shop in the East Village this spring!
Where: 150 Nassau St.
What: This spot has been a Flushing staple, but was closed for a while as it moved to its new, over-5,000-square-foot location down the street inside inside One Fulton Square. The new menu includes this multi-colored dish of six different flavors: pork, crab meat and pork, truffle, Chinese squash, chicken, and foie gras. Plus, a glassed-in kitchen allows you to watch the dumplings being made right in front of you!
Where: 38-12 Prince St., Flushing
9. Yaso Tangbao, Downtown Brooklyn
What: Yaso serves Shanghai street foods, specializing in some of the most delicious soup dumplings! There are also locations in Industry City (Brooklyn), NoHo (Manhattan), and Jersey City.
Where: 148 Lawrence St.
10. Drunken Dumpling, East Village
What: Want to slurp on the biggest soup dumpling in NYC? Well Drunken Dumpling has you covered—to either share with friends or keep all to yourself! It is made-to-order and takes about 15-20 minutes, and also has a limited quantity each day so make sure you get there early. They call it the “XL XLB.” *Temporarily closed due to the pandemic*
Where: 137 1st Ave
Need eating tips? We love this illustration that Bund on Broadway created! They also say that some people poke a hole in the dumpling with their chopsticks, while others pour the soup out into a bowl/spoon. The options are endless!
featured image source: Instagram / @bundonbroadway