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8 Great Places to Find Soup Dumplings in Philly

No matter the season, a basket of xiaolongbao is always a good move

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Spring may be here, but there’s never a bad time to grab one of cold weather’s best comfort foods: soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao. Translating to “small basket buns,” xiaolongbao deliver a beautifully wrapped gift of flavor and comfort all in a single bite (or a few, depending on how you eat it). This delectable dish is generally served as an appetizer to share, but honestly ordering a steamed basket of 6 to 8 dumplings for yourself is just about as normal as it gets these days.

Approach these thinly wrapped dumplings filled with hot soup with caution, as they can be dangerous to handle. Because of that there’s a bit of debate about which way is the “correct” way to eat soup dumplings. Try the classic format: place the dumpling in a large spoon, take a small bite on the side to break the skin, and check the temperature of the soup. Then, slowly drink some of the steaming soup. Once it’s cooled down, pop the rest in your mouth.

The late Anthony Bourdain described soup dumplings as “pillows of happiness,” and their flavors and textures bring delight, comfort, and surprise. So don’t miss out: Philly is not short on places that offer pillows of happiness of all kinds.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. BOOM BUNS

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6649 Castor Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19149
(610) 707-5185
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In Northeast Philadelphia, stopping by Boom Buns is a must. From the outside, the restaurant’s small front and large neon red sign might catch your attention, but that wouldn’t say much about how amazing the food is inside. The most prized item on this menu is the pure pork soup dumplings. Additional hot tip: Order the pan-fried pork and shrimp buns while you’re at it. You’ll be in for a monochromatic surprise.

2. Unit Su Vege

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2000 Hamilton St # 106
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 988-1888
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Most of the time, soup dumplings are a pure carnivorous experience which means vegetarians have to sit out of the fun. Unit Su Vege makes it a point to say that Chinese vegetarian food definitely exists and is welcome in Philly. Unit Su Vege has veggie-filled soup dumplings alongside a vast menu of small-plates.

3. Nom Wah Philadelphia

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218 N 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 519-2889
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Before making its way to Philadelphia in 2015, Nom Wah put down roots in New York City in 1920. Nom Wah honed its long history of classic style dim sum over many generations, and its dishes are classically Cantonese with a bit of Chinese-American twist. But don’t let that stop you from adding some of their Shanghainese soup dumplings to your to-go order.

Nom Wah [official photo]

4. Dim Sum Garden

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1020 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 873-0258
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If you’re a lover of soup dumplings and live in Philly you can’t not talk about Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown. Dajuan “Sally” Song and her mother, Shizhou Da, have deep roots in xiaolongbao history. Shizhou Da is a fifth generation descendant from the first person to ever make this delicious food. Dim sum originally came from the Cantonese area of China, but has been adapted by most of China, especially Shanghai. At Dim Sum Garden, you’ll get a true Shanghainese dim sum experience. The staple establishment is said to have the best soup dumplings in the city. They also have frozen soup dumplings for pickup.

5. ShangHai 1

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123 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 457-5363
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If you want variety and affordability, Shang Hai 1 is the place to go. Not only does Shang Hai 1 have the staples of pork, crab, and pan-fried soup dumplings for cheap, but Shang Hai 1 also offers its specialty: the Wuxi-style soup dumpling made of pork and shrimp. Plus, if you’re looking for a dessert fix, this is the place to be — don’t miss the green tea Swiss roll.

6. Dumpling Academy

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1017 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 352-4324
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This last place is less of a restaurant to go-to and more of an experience to gain. Prior to the pandemic, owner Yin Yang offered workshops on making a variety of dumplings (including soup dumplings) that reflected the historic Philly Chinatown community. At the moment the workshops are on pause but the Dumpling Academy still offers catering, if you’re looking to feed a lot of people. A little birdie said recently that Dumpling Academy’s workshops might start back up again later this year, so keep an eye out if you want to learn to make your own pillows of happiness someday soon.

7. Ninja Bao

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1500 JFK Blvd Two Penn Center Suite 6 underground
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(267) 273-0582
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Ninja Bao has three main products: rice bowls, pot-sticker dumplings, but most importantly, its main attractions, baos. These pillow-like cloud pouches are traditionally filled with small pieces of meat, with flavorful sauces on the side. However, Ninja Bao offers pan-fried pork soup baos, which combine all the best qualities of baos and soup dumplings. The most amazing thing about Ninja Bao is that you can stock up on some of these dumplings and baos as they offer frozen packs for pickup and delivery.

8. Dim Sum Factory - Walnut

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1304 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 687-2531
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OG soup dumplings are made from minced pork but sometimes restaurants will offer a crab and pork dumpling for variety. Dim Sum Factory also offers a chicken soup-based dumpling that will be especially pleasant if you’re in need of some chicken soup comfort. Both the Horsham and Walnut Street locations offer takeout options, but if you happen to be vaccinated, the Horsham site is also open for indoor dining. Oh, and they have so many dumplings to choose from, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.

1. BOOM BUNS

6649 Castor Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19149

In Northeast Philadelphia, stopping by Boom Buns is a must. From the outside, the restaurant’s small front and large neon red sign might catch your attention, but that wouldn’t say much about how amazing the food is inside. The most prized item on this menu is the pure pork soup dumplings. Additional hot tip: Order the pan-fried pork and shrimp buns while you’re at it. You’ll be in for a monochromatic surprise.

6649 Castor Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19149

2. Unit Su Vege

2000 Hamilton St # 106, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Most of the time, soup dumplings are a pure carnivorous experience which means vegetarians have to sit out of the fun. Unit Su Vege makes it a point to say that Chinese vegetarian food definitely exists and is welcome in Philly. Unit Su Vege has veggie-filled soup dumplings alongside a vast menu of small-plates.

2000 Hamilton St # 106
Philadelphia, PA 19130

3. Nom Wah Philadelphia

218 N 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Nom Wah [official photo]

Before making its way to Philadelphia in 2015, Nom Wah put down roots in New York City in 1920. Nom Wah honed its long history of classic style dim sum over many generations, and its dishes are classically Cantonese with a bit of Chinese-American twist. But don’t let that stop you from adding some of their Shanghainese soup dumplings to your to-go order.

218 N 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

4. Dim Sum Garden

1020 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

If you’re a lover of soup dumplings and live in Philly you can’t not talk about Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown. Dajuan “Sally” Song and her mother, Shizhou Da, have deep roots in xiaolongbao history. Shizhou Da is a fifth generation descendant from the first person to ever make this delicious food. Dim sum originally came from the Cantonese area of China, but has been adapted by most of China, especially Shanghai. At Dim Sum Garden, you’ll get a true Shanghainese dim sum experience. The staple establishment is said to have the best soup dumplings in the city. They also have frozen soup dumplings for pickup.

1020 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

5. ShangHai 1

123 N 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

If you want variety and affordability, Shang Hai 1 is the place to go. Not only does Shang Hai 1 have the staples of pork, crab, and pan-fried soup dumplings for cheap, but Shang Hai 1 also offers its specialty: the Wuxi-style soup dumpling made of pork and shrimp. Plus, if you’re looking for a dessert fix, this is the place to be — don’t miss the green tea Swiss roll.

123 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

6. Dumpling Academy

1017 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

This last place is less of a restaurant to go-to and more of an experience to gain. Prior to the pandemic, owner Yin Yang offered workshops on making a variety of dumplings (including soup dumplings) that reflected the historic Philly Chinatown community. At the moment the workshops are on pause but the Dumpling Academy still offers catering, if you’re looking to feed a lot of people. A little birdie said recently that Dumpling Academy’s workshops might start back up again later this year, so keep an eye out if you want to learn to make your own pillows of happiness someday soon.

1017 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

7. Ninja Bao

1500 JFK Blvd Two Penn Center Suite 6 underground, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Ninja Bao has three main products: rice bowls, pot-sticker dumplings, but most importantly, its main attractions, baos. These pillow-like cloud pouches are traditionally filled with small pieces of meat, with flavorful sauces on the side. However, Ninja Bao offers pan-fried pork soup baos, which combine all the best qualities of baos and soup dumplings. The most amazing thing about Ninja Bao is that you can stock up on some of these dumplings and baos as they offer frozen packs for pickup and delivery.

1500 JFK Blvd Two Penn Center Suite 6 underground
Philadelphia, PA 19102

8. Dim Sum Factory - Walnut

1304 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

OG soup dumplings are made from minced pork but sometimes restaurants will offer a crab and pork dumpling for variety. Dim Sum Factory also offers a chicken soup-based dumpling that will be especially pleasant if you’re in need of some chicken soup comfort. Both the Horsham and Walnut Street locations offer takeout options, but if you happen to be vaccinated, the Horsham site is also open for indoor dining. Oh, and they have so many dumplings to choose from, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.

1304 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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