Soup dumplings are rapidly gaining popularity. One can probably attribute this craze to the Trader Joe’s soup dumpling or social media’s obsession with some of China Town’s best spots. Whatever it is, people can’t seem to get enough of these little bundles of joy.
Soup dumplings are a variation of the steamed Chinese bun. They’re typically filled with pork, but other versions have seafood, vegetables, and various types of meat. Accompanying the filling is a broth made into gelatin, so when they are steamed in a bamboo basket, the gelatin melts, and the soup is sealed into the wrapping. The process of eating one of these can be difficult for novices. To avoid a mess, the dumpling can be placed onto a soup spoon. You can then either pierce it with a chopstick and drink the broth directly or pour out the broth and eat it separately. People pour soy sauce inside and more traditionally in Chinese cuisine, it is dipped in Zhenjiang vinegar. These delights are a kind of dim sum traditionally enjoyed during breakfast or as a snack.
Surprisingly there aren’t all that many choices in New Jersey regarding places that serve soup dumplings. If you’re looking for a few options of restaurants that do have them, you’re in luck. Here’s where you can find some of the best soup dumplings in NJ.
1. Tasty Moment, Edison
If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves a wide variety of soup dumplings, check out Tasty Moment in Edison. They have five variations and the most that I’ve seen at a restaurant yet: the classic Pork, crab meat and pork, spicy pork, gourd luffa and pork, and something they call the “lucky three.” Gourd luffa is a descendant of the cucumber family and holds a mild and slightly sweet taste. They don’t specify what the “lucky three” is comprised of, but I’d guess it is a variety of flavors. The dough on these dumplings is a bit thicker if that is something you look for in Xiao Long Bao. They also offer other delicious eats like spicy cucumber salad or scallion noodles. The ambiance and decor in the interior are also something to note, it’s super classy and beautiful.
2. Soup Dumpling Plus, Fort Lee
Next up is Soup Dumpling Plus in Fort Lee. What makes this place unique is that they hand you a piece of paper when you arrive with all of the menu options on it. Guests then check off which items they would like. And let me be the first to say, it’ll be hard not to check off everything. They’re known for their pork soup dumplings, but the scallion pancakes are another fan favorite. A special aspect to note about the dumplings is the abundance of broth. They do a great job of ensuring that each one is filled with equal amounts of filling and soup to make what I find to be the perfect ratio.
3. Authentic Shanghai Dumpling, Edison
Authentic Shanghai Dumpling in Edison is another hotspot for some authentic Xiao Long Bao. They just recently opened this past summer and are getting in on the soup dumpling craze. This cozy spot can be found tucked into a short strip mall slightly off of the main road. If you aren’t looking for this restaurant, it could be an easy one to miss. The location is completely deceiving; however, the food is anything but ordinary. The soup dumplings are a little doughier than most but pack a flavorful punch. Besides dim sum, they sell these thin, silky pork wontons dressed in a spicy sauce that are bound to please.
4. Old Shanghai Soup Dumplings, Palisades Park
The menu at Old Shanghai Soup Dumplings is endless and there are so many delicious options to choose from. They have everything from Peking duck bao buns, to pork ribs, and, of course, their pork soup dumplings which steal the show. The dumplings are adorably shaped like little volcanoes and they pack a molten surprise on the inside. Make sure to blow on these soup dumplings before enjoying them because the broth can be scorching hot. This location in Palisades Park is extremely popular with locals and is a highly-rated restaurant, so it’s worth checking out if you are nearby.
5. Chef Zhang, Marlton
Located in Marlton, NJ, Chef Zhang is a Sichuan restaurant right outside Cherry Hill. It’s a fairly new addition to the area, opening only a year ago. Their menu has a whopping 240 items to choose from, so there is no doubt they serve something you will enjoy. If you’re also looking to spice things up and try something new, they have several options that I can almost gurantee will be new to you. Their pork soup dumplings are a great place to start when looking at the enormous menu and they offer several other dim sum options as well.
6. Jinli Sichuan Cuisine, Marlboro
If you’re looking for a location to enjoy soup dumplings that fall on the classier side, Jinli Sichuan Cuisine has the perfect ambiance. They offer regular pork soup dumplings as well as a combination of crab and pork soup dumplings. The dumplings are on the larger side and fill the bamboo baskets to the brim. You might only need to order one or two orders of these dumplings because they can be quite filling. This restaurant is located in a strip mall, but has all the feels of a nicer establishment once you enter. Hit this location with a large group of friends and enjoy some warm soup dumplings as the colder months begin to roll in.
7. YOUYU Noodle Bar, Atlantic City
Located inside the Hard Rock Hotel, YOUYU Noodle Bar is a casual dining establishment perfect for a quick bite to break up your vacation. They serve shanghai soup dumplings, which are of the classic pork variety, along with other Asian classics like pad thai and ramen. The noodle bar makes itself more of a tourist attraction by offering these soup-filled dim sum. It’s a perfect opportunity for the restaurant to attract hotel guests by serving a menu item that isn’t so common. Their soup dumplings are large and have an impressive number of pleats as well, a good way to tell that these are handmade.
8. Dumpling Den, Fort Lee
Dumpling Den in Fort Lee is another great option to dip your toes into the world of Xiao Long Bao. They sell pork, crab & pork, and lastly, a vegan option for anyone that’s ever wanted to get in on the joy of soup dumplings, but haven’t found a veggie option. They replace the meat filling with vegetables and the wrapping is also completely vegan. The location now delivers, so you can enjoy it all from the comfort of your home. Another fun addition to their menu is their dumpling sampler. It comes with two each of house, chicken, kimchi and veggie soup dumplings. The result is an array of eight, colorful dumplings in pink, yellow, orange, and green. This is a fun way to try an array of dumpling varieties.
9. Shanghai Bun, West Windsor Township
My second to last soup dumpling spot is Shanghai Bun in West Windsor Township. They serve pork soup dumplings with a variety of other dim sum. Something I found interesting about their dumplings is the sheer number of pleats it has. Din Tai Fung, a highly popular soup dumpling restaurant, emphasizes the importance of 18 folds, and this dumpling seems to check that box. You know the chefs are doing a great job with their soup dumplings when there are more pleats than you can count. The atmosphere is super casual, nothing fancy, but the food speaks for itself. Another notable mention is their rice cakes and pan-fried pork buns.
10. The Madison, Hoboken (Bonus Pick)
Last but not least, this spot is an exciting one for me and there is one reason why— french onion soup dumplings. Yes, you read that correctly. The Madison in Hoboken created a fresh take on soup dumplings and infused them with one of the most popular soups. I know this isn’t the classic Chinese Xiao Long Bao, but it’s a fresh take on the concept and I’m all here for it. To paint the picture, each dumpling is filled with french onion soup and nestled into its own little dumpling compartment on a specially designed tray. The dumplings are then covered in a mix of provolone and gruyere cheeses. After being put into the oven, the top layer is browned and the cheese transforms into a caramelized blanket that covers each dumpling. A fun take on a beloved classic.
Do you know other restaurants that serve great soup dumplings in New Jersey? Leave their name below!