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Six purse shaped dumplings with a pucker and wad of orange crabmeat at the top.
Baodega crab soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

16 Exemplary Chinese Soup Dumplings in NYC

Slurpable, savory, and full of pleasure

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Baodega crab soup dumplings
| Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 practice: 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 broth, pour in the black vinegar-and-ginger sauce if you like, then eat the remainder. Just let them cool first — trust.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Salle Dumpling Room

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3141 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 961-0300

This modern canteen near Columbia University specializes in soup dumplings in three variations, including one featuring kimchi. The crab-bearing XLB are the best, boasting crab mixed in with the usual pork filling. Somewhat small and squat, they pack a powerful flavor, with a gravy more viscous than average. Besides dumplings, La Salle offers noodles and Cantonese stir fries.

Six crab soup dumplings laid out on paper inside a wooden bowl
Crab soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

2. You Garden Xiao Long Bao

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41-07 Bell Blvd
Bayside, NY 11361
(718) 229-3388

This second, more luxuriant branch of a Shanghai dumpling specialist in Flushing (Shanghai You Garden) offers the best soup dumplings in the city, with some particularly crabby pork-and-crab examples, in addition to other venerable Shanghai types of buns and dumplings. It has also jumped on the mega-XLB bandwagon, offering an outsize example (shown), one to a steamer, with a plastic straw to suck a huge quantity of soup out. The dumpling skin is super thick, resembling more of a bread bowl than a dumpling.

Giant dumpling with a straw
Giant dumpling with a straw
Robert Sietsema/Eater

3. Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

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39-16 Prince St #104
Queens, NY 11354
(718) 321-3838
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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. But in fall 2019, Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao moved to this much flashier locale inside One Fulton Square, with room for more diners and a new, expanded menu. In addition to the classic pork and crab-and-pork, options include one with squash, shrimp, and pork and another with scallops. 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.

Six multi-colored soup dumplings in a bamboo steamer at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
Multi-colored soup dumplings at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao [Official]

4. Yaso Tangbao

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220 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
(917) 261-6970
Visit Website

This local mini-chain with two branches in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan specializes in Shanghai street fare, with a special emphasis on dumplings and noodles. What that means as far as XLB go is a free hand with invention and variation. Aside from the usual, there’s a black soup dumpling made with medicinal chickens and another with a spicy soup inside. A goofy specialized plastic spoon, pictured, is provided.

Four spicy soup dumplings in a white plastic bowl with a specialized plastic spoon in the bowl
Spicy soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

5. Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao

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59-16 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 661-2882
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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.

Six pork and crab xiao long bao in a bamboo steamer, with one lifted up on a spoon
Pork and crab xiao long bao
Robert Sietsema/Eater

6. Baodega

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7 W 20th St
New York, NY 10011
(646) 370-6034
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Flatiron’s Baodega offers lunch specials that attract office workers in the neighborhood, and a coffee bar is implanted in the front of the restaurant as a further convenience. The restaurant sells four types of soup dumplings, on a menu that partly specializes in Shanghai cooking: pork, pork with crab, chicken, and vegetarian. Pick the pork with crab, which is thin-skinned and bulging with a medium-weight broth.

Six purse shaped dumplings with a pucker and wad of orange crabmeat at the top.
Crab XLB
Robert Sietsema/Eater

7. Shanghai Zhen Gong Fu

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86-16 Queens Blvd
Flushing, NY 11373
(718) 672-2200
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When Shanghai Zhen Gong Fu popped up in Elmhurst’s big-box shopping district, it was a surprise. It offers the usual Shanghai menu with a bit of extra luxury, including a version of soup dumplings with black truffle instead of yellow crab topside. Since the truffle is canned, there’s not much extra flavor, but the variation is worth noting. The regular XLB are good here, too.

Six truffled soup dumplings placed in a metal-rimmed bamboo steamer
Truffled soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

8. Red Farm

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529 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 792-9700
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Red Farm’s soup dumpling is more of the luxury variety, priced at $16 for four. Each one gets an individual steamer basket, filled with a pork and crab mixture; a truffle version is occasionally on offer. The skin here is particularly thin, with plentiful amounts of separated broth and meat. Supplement with the pastrami-filled egg roll and barbecue roast duck rice noodles, at either the West Village or Upper West Side locations.

9. 3 Times

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818 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(646) 609-3040
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3 Times has gone through a couple of iterations since it opened late last year, but no matter what pops up on the new menu, head first to the classic pork soup dumplings for a consistent taste of tried-and-true Shanghai xiao long bao. Owner Jason Zhu recently brought on longtime chef Yuqin Xu to revamp the dim sum program, and besides the classics, the restaurant sells six-piece truffle soup dumplings and another pork version with crab roe.

A modern fast casual restaurant interior features some potted plants and gray brick and lots of woodwork
Inside 3 Times
Robert Sietsema/Eater

10. The Bao

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13 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-9238

The Bao’s very popular soup dumplings are back after a brief absence for quality control. Beyond the “near-perfect” classic pork-filled pouches, there are also ones filled with a melty chocolate and banana mixture. The East Village Chinese restaurant is a spin-off of Flushing’s Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, serving an across-the-board Chinese menu of dim sum, Sichuan dishes like cumin lamb, Cantonese classics such as beef and broccoli, and others from Hunan and beyond.

11. Pinch Chinese

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177 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 328-7880
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Soho’s Pinch Chinese came out swinging with an impressive roster of rich, flavorful soup dumplings when it opened a couple of years ago and aced a Times review just months into its existence, in part due to its soul-satisfying chicken soup dumplings. The pork dumplings — described as “bite sized explosions of porky goodness” on the menu — and the fish dumplings with the house spicy sauce are also not to be missed.

A photo of the bar at Pinch Chinese during service, lined up with customers
The bustling bar at Pinch Chinese
Sean Tang/Pinch Chinese [Official Photo]

12. Memories Of Shanghai

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68-60 Austin St #10A
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 880-2938
Visit Website

In newer Chinese food destination Forest Hills, an alum of soup dumpling stalwarts like Joe’s and Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao opened his own restaurant on Austin Street in 2018, bringing his soup dumpling prowess with him. Owner-chef Xueling Zhang is known for stand-out versions of both a classic pork and a pork with crab meat. It’s counter-service and doesn’t have a ton of seating, but it’s already a local hit.

13. Shanghai Heping

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104 Mott St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-1118

For years, two large and distinguished Shanghai restaurants stood almost side-by-side on Mott just north of Canal, Shanghai Café Deluxe and Shanghai Heping, providing fierce competition where soup dumplings were concerned. Now the first of those is closed, leaving Shanghai Heping (named after a public park in Shanghai) to prevail. Its dumplings are very good, with a particularly rich dipping sauce that doesn’t stint on the black vinegar and fresh ginger.

A selection of crab and pork XLB surrounded by other plates and dipping sauces
Crab and pork XLB
Robert Sietsema/Eater

14. 456 Shanghai Cuisine

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69 Mott St A
New York, NY 10013
(212) 964-0003
Visit Website

456 Shanghai Cuisine is probably the best soup dumpling bargain in town. Founded in 1963, it claims to be our oldest Shanghai restaurant. The dumplings are bulbous and perfectly formed, with a skin a bit thicker than usual, and a gravy slightly on the sweet side. At eight for $5.50, they’re the cheapest at this level of homemade quality.

A soup dumpling is held up on a white spoon that a hand is grasping, with more dumplings in a bamboo steamer in the background
The XLB are perfectly formed.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

15. Deluxe Green Bo

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66 Bayard St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 625-2359
Visit Website

Watch women pleat and fold dumplings right at the entrance to Deluxe Green Bo, and then order them by the basket. Chances are, the table will end up wanting an extra order of the super-porky dumplings that have a very savory broth inside the thin skins. First Nice, then New, and now Deluxe Green Bo, the restaurant has been a Shanghainese Chinatown staple for years.

16. Shanghai Dumpling House, Fei Long Market

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6301 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 680-0118

This anchoring stall in the Fei Long Market’s food court, wonderfully close to the Eighth Avenue N stop in Sunset Park’s Chinatown, has what might be the best soup dumplings in town. These are the no-frills article, available in six variations, some surprising, including one filled with pork and crab roe, and another featuring vegetables and mushrooms. Six to an order, the dumplings are bigger than usual and exceedingly thin-skinned, packing an improbable quantity of soup. Cash only.

Six pork soup dumplings arranged in a bamboo steamer
Pick the plain pork filling.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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1. La Salle Dumpling Room

3141 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Six crab soup dumplings laid out on paper inside a wooden bowl
Crab soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

This modern canteen near Columbia University specializes in soup dumplings in three variations, including one featuring kimchi. The crab-bearing XLB are the best, boasting crab mixed in with the usual pork filling. Somewhat small and squat, they pack a powerful flavor, with a gravy more viscous than average. Besides dumplings, La Salle offers noodles and Cantonese stir fries.

3141 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

2. You Garden Xiao Long Bao

41-07 Bell Blvd, Bayside, NY 11361
Giant dumpling with a straw
Giant dumpling with a straw
Robert Sietsema/Eater

This second, more luxuriant branch of a Shanghai dumpling specialist in Flushing (Shanghai You Garden) offers the best soup dumplings in the city, with some particularly crabby pork-and-crab examples, in addition to other venerable Shanghai types of buns and dumplings. It has also jumped on the mega-XLB bandwagon, offering an outsize example (shown), one to a steamer, with a plastic straw to suck a huge quantity of soup out. The dumpling skin is super thick, resembling more of a bread bowl than a dumpling.

41-07 Bell Blvd
Bayside, NY 11361

3. Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

39-16 Prince St #104, Queens, NY 11354
Six multi-colored soup dumplings in a bamboo steamer at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
Multi-colored soup dumplings at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao [Official]

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. But in fall 2019, Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao moved to this much flashier locale inside One Fulton Square, with room for more diners and a new, expanded menu. In addition to the classic pork and crab-and-pork, options include one with squash, shrimp, and pork and another with scallops. 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.

39-16 Prince St #104
Queens, NY 11354

4. Yaso Tangbao

220 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Four spicy soup dumplings in a white plastic bowl with a specialized plastic spoon in the bowl
Spicy soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

This local mini-chain with two branches in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan specializes in Shanghai street fare, with a special emphasis on dumplings and noodles. What that means as far as XLB go is a free hand with invention and variation. Aside from the usual, there’s a black soup dumpling made with medicinal chickens and another with a spicy soup inside. A goofy specialized plastic spoon, pictured, is provided.

220 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

5. Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao

59-16 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355
Six pork and crab xiao long bao in a bamboo steamer, with one lifted up on a spoon
Pork and crab xiao long bao
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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.

59-16 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355

6. Baodega

7 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011
Six purse shaped dumplings with a pucker and wad of orange crabmeat at the top.
Crab XLB
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Flatiron’s Baodega offers lunch specials that attract office workers in the neighborhood, and a coffee bar is implanted in the front of the restaurant as a further convenience. The restaurant sells four types of soup dumplings, on a menu that partly specializes in Shanghai cooking: pork, pork with crab, chicken, and vegetarian. Pick the pork with crab, which is thin-skinned and bulging with a medium-weight broth.

7 W 20th St
New York, NY 10011

7. Shanghai Zhen Gong Fu

86-16 Queens Blvd, Flushing, NY 11373
Six truffled soup dumplings placed in a metal-rimmed bamboo steamer
Truffled soup dumplings
Robert Sietsema/Eater

When Shanghai Zhen Gong Fu popped up in Elmhurst’s big-box shopping district, it was a surprise. It offers the usual Shanghai menu with a bit of extra luxury, including a version of soup dumplings with black truffle instead of yellow crab topside. Since the truffle is canned, there’s not much extra flavor, but the variation is worth noting. The regular XLB are good here, too.

86-16 Queens Blvd
Flushing, NY 11373

8. Red Farm

529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

Red Farm’s soup dumpling is more of the luxury variety, priced at $16 for four. Each one gets an individual steamer basket, filled with a pork and crab mixture; a truffle version is occasionally on offer. The skin here is particularly thin, with plentiful amounts of separated broth and meat. Supplement with the pastrami-filled egg roll and barbecue roast duck rice noodles, at either the West Village or Upper West Side locations.

529 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

9. 3 Times

818 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
A modern fast casual restaurant interior features some potted plants and gray brick and lots of woodwork
Inside 3 Times
Robert Sietsema/Eater

3 Times has gone through a couple of iterations since it opened late last year, but no matter what pops up on the new menu, head first to the classic pork soup dumplings for a consistent taste of tried-and-true Shanghai xiao long bao. Owner Jason Zhu recently brought on longtime chef Yuqin Xu to revamp the dim sum program, and besides the classics, the restaurant sells six-piece truffle soup dumplings and another pork version with crab roe.

818 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

10. The Bao

13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

The Bao’s very popular soup dumplings are back after a brief absence for quality control. Beyond the “near-perfect” classic pork-filled pouches, there are also ones filled with a melty chocolate and banana mixture. The East Village Chinese restaurant is a spin-off of Flushing’s Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, serving an across-the-board Chinese menu of dim sum, Sichuan dishes like cumin lamb, Cantonese classics such as beef and broccoli, and others from Hunan and beyond.

13 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

11. Pinch Chinese

177 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
A photo of the bar at Pinch Chinese during service, lined up with customers
The bustling bar at Pinch Chinese
Sean Tang/Pinch Chinese [Official Photo]

Soho’s Pinch Chinese came out swinging with an impressive roster of rich, flavorful soup dumplings when it opened a couple of years ago and aced a Times review just months into its existence, in part due to its soul-satisfying chicken soup dumplings. The pork dumplings — described as “bite sized explosions of porky goodness” on the menu — and the fish dumplings with the house spicy sauce are also not to be missed.

177 Prince St
New York, NY 10012

12. Memories Of Shanghai

68-60 Austin St #10A, Forest Hills, NY 11375

In newer Chinese food destination Forest Hills, an alum of soup dumpling stalwarts like Joe’s and Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao opened his own restaurant on Austin Street in 2018, bringing his soup dumpling prowess with him. Owner-chef Xueling Zhang is known for stand-out versions of both a classic pork and a pork with crab meat. It’s counter-service and doesn’t have a ton of seating, but it’s already a local hit.

68-60 Austin St #10A
Forest Hills, NY 11375

13. Shanghai Heping

104 Mott St, New York, NY 10013
A selection of crab and pork XLB surrounded by other plates and dipping sauces
Crab and pork XLB
Robert Sietsema/Eater

For years, two large and distinguished Shanghai restaurants stood almost side-by-side on Mott just north of Canal, Shanghai Café Deluxe and Shanghai Heping, providing fierce competition where soup dumplings were concerned. Now the first of those is closed, leaving Shanghai Heping (named after a public park in Shanghai) to prevail. Its dumplings are very good, with a particularly rich dipping sauce that doesn’t stint on the black vinegar and fresh ginger.

104 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

14. 456 Shanghai Cuisine

69 Mott St A, New York, NY 10013
A soup dumpling is held up on a white spoon that a hand is grasping, with more dumplings in a bamboo steamer in the background
The XLB are perfectly formed.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

456 Shanghai Cuisine is probably the best soup dumpling bargain in town. Founded in 1963, it claims to be our oldest Shanghai restaurant. The dumplings are bulbous and perfectly formed, with a skin a bit thicker than usual, and a gravy slightly on the sweet side. At eight for $5.50, they’re the cheapest at this level of homemade quality.

69 Mott St A
New York, NY 10013

15. Deluxe Green Bo

66 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

Watch women pleat and fold dumplings right at the entrance to Deluxe Green Bo, and then order them by the basket. Chances are, the table will end up wanting an extra order of the super-porky dumplings that have a very savory broth inside the thin skins. First Nice, then New, and now Deluxe Green Bo, the restaurant has been a Shanghainese Chinatown staple for years.

66 Bayard St
New York, NY 10013

Related Maps

16. Shanghai Dumpling House, Fei Long Market

6301 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Six pork soup dumplings arranged in a bamboo steamer
Pick the plain pork filling.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

This anchoring stall in the Fei Long Market’s food court, wonderfully close to the Eighth Avenue N stop in Sunset Park’s Chinatown, has what might be the best soup dumplings in town. These are the no-frills article, available in six variations, some surprising, including one filled with pork and crab roe, and another featuring vegetables and mushrooms. Six to an order, the dumplings are bigger than usual and exceedingly thin-skinned, packing an improbable quantity of soup. Cash only.

6301 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220

Related Maps