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Shanghai-style soup dumplings (shang hai xiao long bao) nominations?

Melanie Wong | Aug 7, 200201:02 PM

This is a continuation of the thread linked below, where chibi said, “So, in San Francisco, the money seems to be on Sweet Temptation, Old Shanghai (and I'll throw in Shanghai Restaurant too). Anyone have South or East Bay recs for the best soup dumplings? I was underwhelmed by 369 and Shanghai Gourmet.”

A worthy quest! I was on this hunt, but got distracted by the search for dan dan noodles. (g) Maybe it’s time to take it up again.

From what I’ve tried so far, yes, Sweet Temptation and Old Shanghai are the top contenders. I’ve had the “regular” pork-filled and crab/pork at both places. The wrapper at Sweet Temptation is thinner, whiter in color, and seems to be more sturdy, but less traditional. The doughy skin at Old Shanghai has a grayish cast, more elasticity, and the pebbly shiny surface seems more classic to me. I have a slight preference for the “regular” at Old Shanghai and would probably like them even more if I’d had them on weekends as you recommend. (

The crab-filled ones at Sweet Temptation, though, are very special. The fresh crab meat makes a big difference. The extra price for the crab version at Old Shanghai isn’t worth it.

Please tell us more about the xlb at Shanghai Restaurant.

Likewise, I was disappointed by the xlb at Shanghai Gourmet (Richmond), also at Shang Hai Taste Delight (Mountain View), Little Sichuan (San Mateo), and Chinese Harvest (SF Clement). Each of those restaurants has their other strong points, but xiao long bao is not a star dish.

I’ve had decent ones at DPD Restaurant (SF Chinatown) which will do in a pinch, especially since they’re open after 10pm. The version at Go Go Café (SF Irving) was tasty, but not the soupy Shanghai-style. The to-go xiao long bao that Rafe and I found from Family Style Restaurant in Campbell were very good for frozen, but I haven’t been back to try them fresh yet.

We’ve had mention on this board of good versions in San Mateo: Happy Café, San Tung, and Chef Ding’s, also Queen’s House in MountainView, which is as much as I can remember off the top of my head. But I haven’t tried any of these personally yet. Hopefully we can turn up some new recommendations with this post!


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