My friend Colin in London knows how much I love soup dumplings. He also knows that I have been on an endless search to find good or even just decent ones in London, and sadly have not succeeded thus far. When I told him about my NY trip, he said that The Bao NYC was a must, and that they serve one of the best Xiao Long Baos (soup dumplings) he has tasted. When Stewart and I lived in Vegas, I worked for a casino company with operations in Macau – which led me to travel to Asia at least six times a year. Because of that, I consider myself a dumpling snob and hard to please…
When Stewart and I were in NY for the weekend, he begged me not to make plans and reservations for every single meal, so the idea of walking to the East Village for soup dumplings suited him perfectly.
What we ate:
The classic XLB: absolutely delicious, thin skinned and soupy dumplings. The broth was light but with some necessary fattiness and the pork was umami, nicely ground and delicious.
Dim sum sampler: this portion of five different dumplings was a major miss. Opposite to the deliciousness of the XLB, these were inedible to me, and Stewart ate some but not all. The skins were thick and the fillings dense and overly packed, and they were massive dumplings.
At this point we debated ordering one of their traditional Chinese dishes or more XLB and opted for the latter as we love them, don’t get them often, and knew they were good.
Wasabi XLB: we went then for the wasabi version, which was a spin on the classic as the pork had some hot wasabi mixed in. It worked surprisingly well and was a nice twist, but beware, they put a lot of it in, so you better love the jolt of wasabi.
In sum: go for the XLB, they won’t disappoint! Service is quick and efficient, but no frills and the space is simple but a cool vibe with some massive Chinese modern art!
The Bao NYC
13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003