The Best Chinese Dumplings in NYCOur guide to the city’s plumpest, steamiest, tastiest Chinese and Taiwanese dumplings.
In some parts of New York, you can’t walk five feet without stumbling into a steamer basket full of perfect, pillowy dumplings. And in a town with so many choices, you naturally need to know where to find the absolute best jiaozi, wontons, and xiao long bao. If you want to impress someone with your knowledge of where to find the best Chinese dumplings, this is the guide for you.
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou is a small, always busy spot on Grand Street that serves classic Fujianese dumplings, peanut noodles, and soups. There’s not a lot going on here in terms of decor, but we couldn’t care less—the food is that good. We’re more than happy to sit on a counter stool overlooking the street with a plate of the best dumplings $3 can buy. Both the pork and chive, and chicken and cabbage dumplings have very thin skins, and such juicy fillings that they don’t even need dipping sauce.
The walls of Mr. Bun, a Shanghainese spot in Bensonhurst, are decorated with cute anime characters contemplating equally cute, smiling dumplings. We understand the impulse to make art inspired by the food here. The dumplings at this casual restaurant are perfect. There are the obvious wins, like thin-skinned yet structurally sound soup dumplings, with either pork or pork and crab fillings. Then there are the less obvious ones, like sticky rice shu mai with steamed rice wrappers, which are little parcels of glutinous, slightly chewy delight.
If you want some truly exceptional dumplings, go to White Bear in Flushing. A tiny takeout-only window, it has a big menu taped above the counter with 34 options on it. The most popular thing by far is the plate of wontons with hot sauce (no. 6). The wontons come filled with pork and vegetables, and they’re incredibly soft and just a little bit chewy. An order comes with 12, which is good for a light meal (you can always get 100 frozen wontons to go if you want to make some more at home).
Mama's Noodle House is Brooklyn's answer to White Bear. Order the No. 5 Hot and Spicy Wontons and you'll get big, juicy balls of pork and shrimp in translucent wrappers. They're smothered in a sichuan peppercorn sauce and that will make your lips buzz, and lots of fresh, green aromatics. This little spot is takeout-only: you'll order directly from one of the two chefs who run the place, then find a nice patch of sidewalk where you can enter a state of wonton-induced euphoria.
At Best North Dumpling Shop, the sight of the cooks chopping cabbages so perfect they look like they came straight from a Studio Ghibli film might make you tear up a little—and it definitely will make you hungry for the 12 types of dumpling available at this stall in a Flushing shopping center. The mutton-filled ones are extremely juicy, with a strong but pleasant gamey flavor—but if that’s not your thing, get the pork and cabbage or pork and fennel instead. There are a few tables across the hall where you can sit, eat, and bask in the atmosphere.
The pork and scallop xiao long bao at Liu's Shanghai may be our favorite soup dumpling in the city. Inside the thin, golden skins, you'll find whole, dried bay scallops that have rehydrated thanks to the soupy broth inside. It's like taking a bite of the ocean, if the ocean had all the best textures of xiao long bao and was served with a black vinegar and ginger dipping sauce. This casual, sit-down spot that's technically in Bath Beach also makes pork and crab xiao long bao, as well as dessert-like fried wontons topped with chili oil, peanuts, and sugar that are worth trying at least once.
Deluxe Green Bo is a great place to bring a small group in Chinatown, since there are a bunch of round tables that comfortably fit six-ish people. The decor is bare-bones, but the service at this cash-only spot is always super friendly. Start with an order or two of xiao long bao. There are no colorful skins or extravagant fillings here, but the classics are simple and delicious. The fried tiny pork buns are always worth getting, and we also like the hot and spicy wontons drenched in peanut sauce and hot chili oil.
Wei Mei Xian is a Fujianese restaurant with some counter seats and a few tables, making it a good pick for a quick, inexpensive meal (and it's a stop with a bathroom if you’re on a Sunset Park food crawl). Their pork and chive dumplings are $3.50 for an order of 10, with nearly-translucent wrappers and meaty, flavorful filling. Also try their version of xiao long bao, which are like a cross between Shanghainese soup dumplings and steamed pork buns. The meatball inside is delightfully plump and salty, and the soup is thick and rich, like a sauce.
The dumplings at Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen have a cult following, for good reason. The crab and pork xiao long bao have super thin skins, and are significantly more flavorful than ones you’ll find at touristy spots like Joe’s Shanghai. You can also get pork dumplings sans soup in both steamed and pan-fried versions. The space is large, with lots of seating and some fun wall murals, so it works just as well for a casual date night or low-cost group dinner as it does for a quick solo meal.
This is the kind of place you’d want to duck into when you get caught in the rain and could use a snack of very good dumplings that cost $4 for 10. King Dumplings is an old-school Chinatown spot that’s been given a bit of a makeover—namely graffiti-style wall art featuring an anthropomorphic dumpling, a table and a few counter seats. The dumplings are of the thicker-skinned, extremely simple but satisfying variety.
At Taiwanese dumpling spot Sanmiwago, everything is shiny, white, and feels oddly high-tech. But there’s plenty of seating, and the dumplings are excellent with very, very thin skins. The fillings are simple but delicious. Steamed or pan-fried, there’s no wrong answer here. Both options come topped with chili crisp and a pile of fresh herbs.
One of our go-to spots for a styrofoam container full of fried pork and chive dumplings, Tasty Dumplings on Mulberry Street is a bare bones, cash-only spot. The wrappers here are on the thicker side, and stand up well to a thorough pan-fry for a delightfully crisp exterior. At $2 for an order of four dumplings, this is also one of the best food deals in lower Manhattan. Grab one of the tables with a view of Columbus Park.
Great dumplings in the West Village? Yeah, we said it. Lin & Daughters is a mom-and-daughter shop with cute little touches, like a neon lucky cat waving from one of its big windows, which fill the cafe with light. We like this spot for casual dates, friend hangs, or as a place to see if you actually like spending time out with your coworkers before committing to team drinks. Lin & Daughters makes wonderful, perfectly crisp pan-fried dumplings (try the curry chicken or the cumin beef with chili sauce), cheese-filled scallion pancakes, boba drinks, and a few noodle dishes named after Lin family members, like Grandma’s Peanut Butter Noodles.