Baozilnn’s three restaurants serve authentic, well-priced northern Chinese street food. Baozilnn, which means ‘people’s canteen’, has grown a loyal following for its all-day Cantonese dim sum with Hunan and Sichuan influences. Star dishes include prawn and pork wontons; chengdu jiaozi dumplings (steamed ground pork dumplings) drenched in XO sauce; and classic xiao long bao with minced pork and scallop. Away from the dumplings, make sure to leave room for the group’s handmade dan dan noodles in homemade soy sauce, sesame sauce, peanut sauce and minced pork. It’s one of the capital’s very best dishes.
25 Newport Court, Soho, WC2H 7JS, 34-36 Southwark Street, Borough Market, SE1 1TU and 24 Romilly Street, Soho, W1D 5AH
Din Tai Fung
This superlative steamed bun emporium has been crafting its world-famous delicacies since the 1970s. Today, Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings) are still considered a delicacy — when the restaurant’s first European site opened in Covent Garden last year, customers queued for up to five hours to sample the goods. The Michelin-starred Taiwanese restaurant’s Henrietta Street outpost offers a selection of the group’s signature dishes, including the aforementioned xiao long bao made with a delicate dough skin, which is then pleated, twisted at the top and steamed. Comprising at least 18 folds, every bun is created with surgical precision: each passes through six separate stations manned by a different team of dim sum chefs.
5 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8PT
Every good night ends with a trip to the local takeaway. But in Chinatown, forget kebabs: it’s all about midnight dumplings. True to its name, Dumplings’ Legend is the only place for a late-night dumpling fix. Open till 2:30am on a weekend, the team offers an extensive menu of steamed delights, including xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings), its signature dish. For National Dumpling Day, renowned Australian chef Brendan Pang, known as the 'Dumpling Whisperer', has created a guest menu at Dumplings' Legend. Best known for his vibrant rainbow dumplings and inventive flavour combinations, Pang will bring native Australian ingredients to Chinatown, including crispy salt and pepper crocodile, kangaroo xian bing (meat pie) and prawn and abalone wontons.
15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 6JE
Imperial Treasure has restaurants in Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Incheon and now London – and many of them are currently awarded with one or two Michelin stars. At the group’s St James’s location, an assortment of authentic dim sum is available daily, crafted by a dedicated chef. Guests can enjoy exquisite dumplings which sing with authentic flavours, such as the seafood dumpling consommé with dried scallop and bamboo pith; Ibérico pork shanghai soup dumplings; and grilled vegetarian shanghai dumplings.
9 Waterloo Place, St James’s, SW1Y 4BE
My Neighbours The Dumplings
Serving up dim sum dishes in a fun, informal atmosphere, this dumpling house and sake bar is the first of its kind in Clapton. The décor is scuffed but darkly glamorous come night-time – all glowing multi-coloured lightboxes and lanterns – and the hand-crafted dumplings are almost pretty enough to frame. Classic siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings) and har gau (shrimp dumplings) are steamed to perfection, and team really well with the menu’s fresh and spicy salad selection. There are also plenty of veggie-friendly options and an impressively extensive sake list, which can also be enjoyed in the dedicated dive bar downstairs.
165 Lower Clapton Road, Clapton, E5 8EQ
Opium Cocktail Den
Decadent multi-story drinking den Opium transports guests to a bygone Chinese era via expertly mixed tipples and elegant surroundings. Opium’s intimate hidden bar, Peony, features a menu of 10 cocktails – each one named after and taking inspiration from a Chinese city – as well as a succinct menu of dim sum. The ‘Dim Sum Platter’ offers four siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings), two har gau (shrimp dumplings), two char siu bao (BBQ pork buns) and two seasonal vegetable dumplings, while its ‘Seafood Platter’ contains three har gau, three scallop dumplings and three seabass dumplings. Good news: Opium is open until 3am from Thursday-Saturday.
15-16 Gerrard Street, Soho, W1D 6JE
Chinatown mainstay Orient London welcomes a range of customers, from theatre-goers seeking some quick dim sum to those after a spot of karaoke. The kitchen serves show-stopping dumplings, handmade daily by a dedicated dim sum chef. From classic Cantonese versions, such as har gau (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings) to scallop gyozas (Japanese dumplings), deep-fried beancurd skin and prawn rolls, and its signature dish of crystal king prawn dumplings with black truffle and XO chilli sauce, Orient London has all your dumpling desires covered.
15 Wardour Street, Soho, W1D 6PH
Red Farm occupies a prime slice of Covent Garden, right next to another New York export, Balthazar. Exec chef Joe Ng is known for his inventively styled dumplings, and his most celebrated creation is his ‘Pac Man’ dim sum, which have happily jumped across the pond. An Instagram sensation, the dish comprises shrimp wrapped in ginger, coriander, curry and bamboo dumpling skins. The dumplings have been given eyes to recreate the game’s four ghosts Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, while a sweet potato tempura Pac Man sits atop a mound of subtly Asian-spiced guacamole. The pork and crab soup dumplings are also worth a try.
9 Russell Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5HZ
P.F. Chang’s Asian Table
P.F. Chang’s Asian Table is the younger, more artistic side of the world-famous global restaurant P.F. Chang’s. A modern space with a fun bar (which is often taken over for various pop-ups celebrating everything from Japan’s cherry blossom season to Wimbledon), the West End pan-Asian restaurant is an ideal spot for dinner with the girls. To celebrate National Dumpling Day, the restaurant will be serving up 100 free portions of its much-loved, hand-pleated dumplings. Pan-seared and golden brown, the dumplings are filled with a choice of pork or shrimp and finished with a drizzle of chilli sticky glaze. They’ll be up for grabs to the first 100 diners who quote ‘Happy Dumpling Day’ to their server on 26th September.
10 Great Newport Street, Soho, WC2H 7JA
The Royal China Group consists of six authentic Chinese restaurants, including the critically-acclaimed Royal China Club in Marylebone. Based in Baker Street, Bayswater, Fulham, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Canary Wharf, its five Royal China restaurants focus on excellent dim sum. The must-order platter includes spicy crabmeat dumplings with tobiko; dumpling wrappers made with baby spinach juice; prawn dumplings; scallop and minced prawn dumpling with tobiko; and spicy minced duck dumplings. Head to Royal China Club and you’ll find more luxe dishes, such as wagyu rolls in Szechuan sauce; crispy lobster dumplings with garlic; and crispy frilly rolls with scallop and foie gras.
Various locations across London
Combining Western ingredients and Asian home-style recipes, Ugly Dumpling aims to elevate and refine the perception of the humble dumpling. The kitchen uses British seasonal ingredients to create new dumpling flavours: case in point, exec chef Emilian Craciun’s festive-themed braised short rib dumplings, which he served guests last Christmas. Alongside more traditional fillings, such as pork belly, prawn and chive, and satay chicken, expect to encounter fusion fillings, such as cheeseburger dumplings and mushroom and truffle dumplings. Don’t forget to end the meal with the most unusual filling of all: Nutella dumplings, with mixed nuts and marshmallows.
1 Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RB
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