This Shanghainese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown makes some of our favorite soup dumplings in the neighborhood. You won’t see any colorfully-dyed exteriors or extravagant filings incorporated into these xiao long bao—they’re just plain and simple steamed pouches filled with crab, meaty pork, and savory broth.
Deluxe Green Bo has been serving customers on Bayard Street since 1982, and it’s a great place to bring a small group in Chinatown. (There are a bunch of round tables in the back that comfortably fit six-ish people.) In addition to the xiao long bao, you should order the fried tiny buns filled with pork, the extremely crispy scallion pancake, and the hot and spicy wontons that come drenched in peanut sauce and hot chili oil.
Just be sure to have cash on hand, as Deluxe Green Bo doesn’t accept credit cards. Also worth noting: This place is BYOB. Bring some beer or wine, and the restaurant staff will open your bottles and give you clear plastic cups to drink out of.
Steamed Crab & Pork Tiny Buns
Each of these xiao long bao comes filled with a ginger-and-scallion-heavy broth, with a hunk of crab and pork bobbing in the center. You can also get these with pork-only fillings—but we think the sweetness of the crab gives the dumplings more depth.
To this day, Deluxe Green Bo’s scallion pancakes remain some of the crispiest we’ve had. When you hold up a slice, it sticks straight out, and each piece crushes like high-end pastry.
Fried Tiny Buns
Meet the fried cousin of Deluxe Green Bo’s steamed tiny buns. These have thick, doughy exteriors that make them a lot more filling than the steamed varieties. Plus, the bottoms are crispy, as if they sat on a campfire.
Hot & Spicy Wontons
“Hot and spicy” doesn’t really tell you the whole story of what’s happening here. It’s true that these pork wontons swim in a thin layer of chili oil, but the heat is tempered by sesame peanut sauce. The dish would be more accurately called “hot, cooling, and spicy” wontons. Unfortunately, that name doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Shredded Pork & Spinach Rice Cake
Deluxe Green Bo has an entire section of rice cakes, but we always gravitate toward this version. Each piece of stir-fried pork and water spinach is cut roughly the same size, and there’s something satisfying about getting an equal taste of both (along with chewy rice cake) with each bite.