This began after reading a blog post that listed someone's top 6 choices. To my surprise, he listed Shanghai Dumpling King (my previous #1 ranked place) #6 overall. I was in shock.
So I hit up every place on this fellow's list, a few more I recall, and a few more from random places listed online, and here's my list.
- Shanghai Dumpling Shop, Millbrae
- Dumpling Kitchen, San Francisco
- Shanghai Dumpling King, San Francisco
- Shanghai Restaurant, Cupertino
- Bamboo Garden, Mountain View
- Xiao Long Bao Kitchen, South San Francisco
- Shanghai Garden, San Jose
- Koi Palace, Dublin
- Yank Sing, San Francisco
- Kingdom of Dumplings, San Francisco
- Su Hong, Palo Alto
- Cooking Papa, Foster City
- Hung's Kitchen, San Ramon
- House of Dumplings, Union City
I will say, Shanghai Restaurant at #4 could rank higher on this list depending on your personal taste. The soup is a slightly different flavor compared to the rest. It rated #2 on the fellow's blog up above and I can see why. It's very good.
After that it's really a bunch of "good but not elite", so the ordering could be flipped around some. I didn't take very careful notes like the original blog poster.
I couldn't hit up the Koi Palace in Daly City, don't know if it'd be the same quality as the one in Dublin.
Xiao Long Bao Kitchen has a fun extra large Xiao Long Bao to try if you're up for it. It's about 3X the size of an average one.
Update December 2014:
As a side note, one of the best xiao long bao's I've ever had was in Benu in San Francisco (see this post). I don't list it in the above b/c the xiao long bao was part of their tasting menu ... and you only get two :-( If this was served a la carte ... I dunno, it could be #1. It's hard to say b/c it's not like I can go back easily and try again to judge against the other places.
Update May 2016:
Din Tai Fung is now in Nothern California. See review here.