As I noted in my instagram: "Who makes the best #xiaolongbao in the USA? It could be this chef. Unknown to the print media and online outlets, even to Chowhound and Yelp users, is this chef who worked the oldest Xiaolongbao shop in existence at 150 years. For 10 years, Quiping Qian was a chef at Nanxiang Mantou Dian in the Yu Gardens section of Shanghai. Despite the fact she wasn’t there on my first visit last winter, I couldn’t shake the feeling there was something special here, despite rough appearances and no music!, a bit strange. After meeting Ms. Qian, the aura around these XLB is confirmed, there’s a connection straight to City of God Temple where she once cooked. This is an unbelievable find! Objectively speaking, the XLB here are the correct size and shape, skins proper and proficiently formed. There is a hard worn muscle memory, a steely dedication when she assembles the mantou here. (See my video in my feed.) This is the reference XLB that all others must be judged against. "
Also, she makes a mean Sheng Jian Bao, Shanghai style Shiu Mai, and the kitchen does a tremendous Lion’s Head Meatball. The Shanghai rice cakes are the softest rice cake I have had and features a super green Shanghai vegetable that I forgot the name of. Finally, she has her own appetizer invention (last pic) “golden” sticky rice roll, with pork and sticky rice in the center.
Yu Garden is a complete non-descript place on Kissena Blvd, but it is quite the find, IMO.