Manhattan’s Chinatown is getting busy again, although the restaurants close earlier than they used to, most are shut at 8:30 or 9pm. Not yet knowing this, we hit Chinatown around 9:30 looking for dumplings and found that all of our usual go-to joints were closed. The only place that was open was Deluxe Green Bo, which we have walked past a hundred times but never tried. I can’t believe that I have missed out on this place for so many years, their dumplings are brilliant.
Deluxe Green Bo is a small joint with several large round tables and a few four-tops, and has been serving up Shanghainese food since 1982. I think the reason that I haven’t stopped in before is that the windows are covered in menu pages and I couldn’t ever see into the restaurant when I passed by. But don’t make the mistake I did, head in and get the dumplings.
The Dumplings: The cryptically named “Steamed Pork & Crab Meat & Pork Tiny Buns” are Deluxe Green Bo’s soup dumplings, which were so good we ordered three steamers of them. These dumplings were perfectly steamed, so the wrappers stretched almost to the point of rupturing as I picked up the dumplings up, but they managed to keep their integrity. The dumpling wrappers enclosed a lot of unctuous soup that perfectly blended the pork and crab flavors. While the menu describes them as tiny, these soup dumplings are the usual standard size.
We also ordered a plate of the “Fired Tiny Buns (with Pork)” which are Sheng Jian Bao, a steamed bun that is pan-fried on the bottom and contains pork and pork gelatin, that upon cooking, turns into soup that makes the interior of the buns juicy. Since the early 1900’s, these buns have been of the most popular breakfast items in Shanghai. Despite the menu’s focus on “tiny” these buns were some of the biggest Sheng Jian Bao I have eaten. Deluxe Green Bo uses the thicker, Chinese sweet fluffy bread wrapper rather than the thin skins used at Shanghai’s Yang’s Fried Dumplings. The buns at Deluxe were amazingly flavorful, with a perfect blend of sweet, savory, porky and fried flavors, so good and totally irresistible. But after three steamers of soup dumplings these eight large buns were a gut bomb.
The Location: Deluxe Green Bo is on Bayard street in Manhattan’s Chinatown, on the north side of the street between Mott and Elizabeth streets. It is across the street from a bunch of desert places, but if you get a couple of plates of “tiny” buns you won’t make it to desert.