Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao opened its first location in 2006, in Flushing Queens. Since 2007 it has been awarded “Michelin-recommended” status for nine consecutive years. In July 2022, it opened a location in Manhattan’s Korea Town neighborhood. The entire store front of the Manhattan restaurant is dedicated to an open kitchen/soup dumpling making production line. The speed, dexterity and precision of the dumpling chefs is amazing and their product is sublime.
The Dumplings: Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao serves the classic Pork alone and Pork and Crab meat soup dumplings, and some more exotic versions including: Truffle & Pork; Chicken; Scallop & Pork; Gourd Luffa, Shrimp and Pork; Sea Cucumber & Pork; Ham & Pork; and Abalone & Pork soup dumplings. Their menu also includes a slew of other styles of dumplings, including wontons, shumai, pot stickers, steamed dumplings and buns.
My first order for the evening was the Pork and Vegetable Wontons in Spicy Sauce, which are huge wontons stuffed with lots of flavorful pork flecked with a leafy green. The sauce is made from soy sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil and chili oil and had a great nutty flavor, but was pretty salty from the soy sauce and really needed some more chili heat. My other complaint is that the wontons didn’t have a lot of surplus noodle wrapper that could provide extra surface area to pick up and carry the sauce, which is one of my favorite aspects of wontons. Overall, these extra-large wontons were tasty but were not spectacular.
My second order was the pan-fried pork buns which were tasty and a solid effort, but again not amazing. Like all good pan-fried buns these had the combination of a slight sweetness from the fluffy bun, grilled charred notes from the pan-fried bottom of the bun and savory porky goodness from the meat filling. The buns were ping pong ball sized and pretty filling so I ended up taking home leftovers; they were very good, cold, for breakfast the next day.
The last order was the Truffle and Pork Soup dumplings which were spectacular! The dumpling wrapper dough was dyed black, I suppose to evoke the look of black truffles, which wasn’t a great visual. But don’t let this throw you, the combination of the truffle infused dough, the savory pork flavor and unctuous soup was an amazing flavor. The truffles provide an earthy, musky and funk flavor that pairs perfectly with pork. Like the other dumplings, the soup dumplings were large with lots of meat and soup, more soup than could be handled by the soup spoon they provide. I am pretty good with chopsticks, but I found these dumplings hard to handle and ended up eating them using the tongs that came with steamer.
The Location: Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao is mid-block on 33rd street between 5th and 6th avenue in Korea Town.
It all looks very appetizing and quite a heavy meal!! But not “Michelin-recommended” quality maybe??