My search for the best dumplings in New York continues….

21 SHANGHAI HOUSE, 21 Division Street (between Catherine and Market Street), Chinatown

The new restaurants that open in the heart of Chinatown never get the same amountĀ of press and fanfare as the hot restaurants that open in Brooklyn or Chelsea. So they often slip under-the-radar.

The Undiscovered Dumplings

In doing some research for a new Gothamist article, I discovered 21 Shanghai House, which is one of the newer Shanghainese restaurants in the neighborhood. It’s only been open for a little over the year. Inside it’s less crowded than other touristy haunts in the neighborhood and there is a clean, cozy vibe.

XLB All the Way

The menu looked tempting, but I was here specifically for the xiao long bao, aka soup dumplings. The price was just right and I was impressed to receive a bamboo basket full of eight dough-purses at just about $6.

Xiao Long Bao at 21 SHANGHAI HOUSE

These were much smaller than the ones at nearby Joe’s Shanghai and so they fit perfectly on the spoon without any excess drooping.

XLB at 21 Shanghai House

They also had a thinner wrapper and I found them to be much more delicate all around.

Pork Soup Dumplings at 21 SHANGHAI HOUSE

In the soup department, they were a bit lacking. The broth was light and flavorful, but not overly so. The pork meatball (I didn’t end up ordering the ones with crab) was firm and rich, but there wasn’t as much soup or juice as I had expected.

Man Meets DumplingNevertheless, these were much more refined and delicate than most of the greasy, soup bombs in the neighborhood. And the price is just right for the quality. Hopefully this place will be around for a long time.

Does 21 Shanghai House make the best soup dumplings in NY? 7 out of 10 because they are refined and brothy with a lighter experience than most. They could just use a bit more soup.

21 SHANGHAI HOUSE
21 Divison Street (between Catherine Street and Market Street),
Chinatown
(212) 226-8998
21shanghaihouse.com
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Category: Dumplings

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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