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

A friend of mine who lives in Pittsburgh recently asked me if I had ever had soup dumplings. He saw them featured on a television show and thought they sounded very interesting. Have I ever had soup dumplings??

I told him to look for a Shanghainese restaurant and that they should have them on the menu since Xiao Long Bao (I very obnoxiously told him the real name of this dish) are a specialty from Shanghai.

So knowing that China Blue, a spin-off of a very good Szechuan-focused restaurant in Midtown, concentrates on this regional Chinese cuisine and has even decked out the large Tribeca space to feel like Shanghai in the 1950’s (not sure how accurate it is since I was never there), I figured I should try their soup dumplings.

Strangely, they were one of the least exciting things I tasted. The lunch special came with marinated baby cucumbers and those were spectacular. I wrote about them here.

The soup dumplings were ordered as an extra appetizer, which I was happy to pay for, but they just did not live up to the ones I’ve had at less fancy restaurants around the city.

Most glaringly, the biggest issue was the lack of soup. When I burst each round skin open, not much came out. The soup that did spill out was flavorful enough, but lukewarm and not up to the experience I’ve come to expect with xiao long bao.

I was also disappointed by the filling inside. I found the crab and pork mixture terribly bland, dry (possibly from lack of soup), and even a bit chewy.

Perhaps this was an off day as I’m totally surprised a well-respected restaurant claiming to specialize in Shanghainese cuisine has screwed up the soup dumplings. I might have to tell my friend to tread carefully.

Does China Blue have the best dumplings in NY? Even though everything else seems to be accurately Shanghainese, the dumplings are lacking soup and flavor so they only earn a out of 10.

CHINA BLUE
135 Watts Street (at Washington Street),
Tribeca
(212) 431-0111
chinabluenewyork.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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