Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best Xiao Long Bao in the San Francisco Bay Area

In the last few months I've gone on a lot of adventuring to the find the best Xiao Long Bao (also known as Shanghai Dumplings or Soup Dumplings) in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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.
  1. Shanghai Dumpling Shop, Millbrae
  2. Dumpling Kitchen, San Francisco
  3. Shanghai Dumpling King, San Francisco
  4. Shanghai Restaurant, Cupertino
  5. Bamboo Garden, Mountain View
  6. Xiao Long Bao Kitchen, South San Francisco
  7. Shanghai Garden, San Jose
  8. Koi Palace, Dublin
  9. Yank Sing, San Francisco
  10. Kingdom of Dumplings, San Francisco
  11. Su Hong, Palo Alto
  12. Cooking Papa, Foster City
  13. Hung's Kitchen, San Ramon
  14. House of Dumplings, Union City 
Admittedly, I could have easily swapped Dumpling Kitchen and Shanghai Dumpling King with #2 and #3, but I think they were both clearly in the top 3 and Shanghai Dumpling Shop was the clear #1.

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.

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