Best dumplings in America
You know the name by now: Din Tai Fung, the xiao long bao mecca that started in Taiwan and now has locations in Los Angeles and Seattle. Each soup dumpling—the chain’s specialty—is meticulously made, resulting in lovely, thin-skinned pouches filled with savory pork (there are shrimp and veggie options, too, but you'll want to go with the pork) and hot broth, then eaten with a dab of soy sauce, vinegar and ginger. Other dumpling offerings—think shrimp shu mai and kimchi and pork potstickers—don’t disappoint, either.
New York's first dim sum house opened in 1920 at a crook in Doyers Street known at the time as "the bloody angle." By 2010, the 90-year-old stalwart had fallen into disrepair, and new owner Wilson Tang gave it a remodel and updated the kitchen, doing away with the procedure of cooking dim sum en masse: now, each plate is cooked to order. Some of the best dim sum offerings are Nom Wah’s excellent dumplings: look for steamed pork su mai and our favorite, delicate shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings, served on a homemade, open-faced wheat wrapper.
This ever-crowded Asian fusion spot in South Philly has drawn raves ever since it opened its doors in early 2015. Dim sum is offered all day, the menu filled with absolutely delicious options like pork soup dumplings bursting with miso ramen and spicy lamb dumplings whose flavors recall Morocco, with harissa oil and African spices. Vegetarians will appreciate the delicate, meat-free scarlet dumplings, stuffed with red beets and tofu and topped with crispy garlic chips.
After all these years, Sea Harbour is still a crowd favorite. The cozy, red-hued dining room has been offering made-to-order dishes since 2002. Dare to visit on a weekend morning and you’ll find a line that formed long before opening. With a menu of 100 items, you’ll do best to stick to the well executed basics, like crystal shrimp dumplings and pork dumplings. The vibrant pork soup dumplings are hot and juicy in their tins on arrival, while uniquely earthly black fungus and celery dumplings are an ideal choice for vegetarians.
Hailed by many as the best dim sum in the city—with the wait-times to prove it—this FiDi standby offers a more refined dim sum experience, complete with white tablecloths, potted orchids and mahogany-paneled walls within the Rincon Center. Well-appointed carts roll by frequently, filled with staples like sticky rice, chicken feet and dumplings galore. The xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, and Kurobuta pork-filled Shanghai dumplings are particular specialties; both are exemplars of their form.
At this uptown offshoot of Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng's West Village dim sum house, located in the former Fatty Crab annex, dumpling devotees can find signature plates and Asian-inflected fare that, while wildly inventive, rely on classical Chinese technique. The soup dumplings are an absolute must-order, packed with pork and crab in a rich, flavorful broth.
Chinatown’s Richland Center mall is a Windy City favorite for cheap, authentic Asian eats: its food court counts excellent Filipino, Japanese and Chinese vendors among its yummy offerings. In the latter category, we flock to Qing Xiang Yuan, a sleek, recently renovated sliver of a restaurant steaming up delicious dumplings in a variety of flavors. The lamb and coriander variety, bursting with juicy, well-seasoned meat, is our fave, but we’re also partial to pork and zucchini and shrimp and leek dumplings.
This perpetually packed spot presents traditional Szechuan-style Chinese fare in a stylish atmosphere. The menu lists only one type of dumplings—pork—but they’re a dream, thin pockets of dough pinched around juicy, well-seasoned organic ground meat. Wash them down with a cold beer of your choosing—the restaurant is BYOB.
The much-debated challenger to Kingdom of Dumpling just down the street, Dumpling Kitchen serves Shanghai-style comfort food in a narrow, wood-paneled space. Of course, the generously filled dumplings are the main event: sip soupy xiao long bao, nibble fiery wontons in chile oil and gobble juicy fried pork dumplings. The restaurant’s egg puffs, pork belly, pan-fried noodle dishes and Shanghai-style rice cakes are also popular orders.
On the heels of his successful Korean concept Sakaya Kitchen, chef Richard Hales opened Blackbrick, the now three-year-old Chinese restaurant in the same Midtown Miami neighborhood as its forerunner. Here, he specializes in modern Chinese Szechuan cuisine with a few, crowd-pleasing American Chinese dishes sprinkled in for good measure. The restaurant’s dim sum offerings teem with excellent dumplings: try shrimp and cilantro dumplings, pork cheek pan-fried dumplings and xinjiang cumin lamb dumplings, boasting complex northwest Chinese spices.