Frozen shuijiao (water boiled dumpling) and XLB roundup (SFBA)

The upcoming Lunar New Year got me thinking about jiaozi, and I realized that, except for notations on the 400+ restaurant Regional guide, there isn’t a Hungry Onion thread dedicated to restaurant-made dumplings you can buy frozen.

I will periodically update the below roundup with community tips. Let us know your favorite places, and specialties uncommon to other places like fish dumplings, shepherds purse dumplings, or notable vegetarian dumplings.

The post is geared towards northern-style boiled dumplings, but let me know if there are places with exceptional wontons, (steamed) xiao long bao, etc. The XLB at newly opened Pan Kee Food in Foster City (from the owner of San Jose’s Famous Dumpling House) and those comical-shaped XLB at descendants of Qinghe Li’s King of Dumpling have thinner skins than the machine-made supermarket and Trader Joe’s brands.

San Francisco

East Bay (northern)

East Bay (southern)

Peninsula

South Bay

3 Likes

What a great idea - thanks so much!

Great list. One minor nitpick: Asian American Food Company is the ancestor, not the descendant of King(dom) of Chinese Dumplings, It got noticed around 2007 in this Chowhound thread, and itself was apparently descended from a storefront on Noriega that existed as long as 30 years before then.

If these places have fresh ones, I highly recommend getting them fresh before they freeze them. Fresh ones needed to be boiled for about 6 minutes. Frozen ones about 9 minutes. Boiling the frozen ones for longer period of time was needed to cook the frozen filling all the way through, but tends to overcook the skin. But boiling the fresh ones for 6 minutes cook the filling and get the skin just al dente.

Eng mama has a recommendation on how to boil dumpling. I haven’t tried since its a bit involved, but I am speculating her way of cooking may address the issue of overcooked skins for frozen dumplings if they are just boiled in hot water.

image

Wow, thanks! I didn’t realize they’d been around since 1976!

http://kingofchinesedumpling.com/english/index.htm

Thanks! It’s great to hear that Dumpling City sells fresh ones, not just frozen.

I’ve been pleased with a variation on that multiple boil technique (see discussion on another thread).

The following has worked well with dumplings from Pan Kee and Yummy Dumpling:

  • bring 4 quarts of water to a boil
  • add dumplings, stir occasionally as you return to a low boil (a rolling boil would destroy dumplings)
  • add 2 cups of cold water when a low boil has been reached
  • bring back to low boil, stir occasionally as you return to a low boil
  • drain

Shandong Deluxe is either closed or renamed, despite Yelp not showing it yet. Walked by last night and the restaurant had a totally different name on the sign. (Some of the posters of the food displayed in the window appeared to be the same as Shandong Deluxe, so not sure if the management is actually different).

Probably just blasphemous but I wonder how they would rate against those prefrozen dumplings you can grab at like 99 ranch?

I’d like to hear this too! Some noodle brands are better than handmade (depending on chef skills), so why not dumplings too? After all, restaurants like Zumplings use machines for shuijiao, and the often praised Koi Palace XLB are machine made too.

@Night07 and @hyperbowler - I’d like to know this too. Maybe someone can start a thread about the best brands of frozen dumplings available in Asian markets…

2 Likes

I can vouch for frozen xiao long bao from Prime Foods (from Brooklyn, of all places), as does my wife, who is from Shanghai and is an excellent cook herself. The Chinese brand name is Jia Jia (嘉嘉), which is phonetically similar to, though has no connection to Shanghai’s great Jia Jia Tang Bao chain. I think they are about $4 for a bag of 16 (avoid the crab) in Chinatown.

We seldom buy frozen shui jiao, as Ju Ju can make them herself, though in the past we’ve enjoyed both the Prime Foods and, especially, Wei Chuan brands.

image

4 Likes

@theluketsai posted on Eater a Covid-updated dumpling list. How have folks fared with these?

We are still working through the hundreds of frozen dumplings I bought when I created this thread from Pan Kee and from Lai Young. Both are high quality and have fared well in the permafrost or our deep freezer 4-5 months later! Pan Kee is currently open, I’m not sure about Lai Young.

Pan Kee’s are larger than Lai Young’s, and my favorites are their fish dumplings, which are made from sole, and the chicken and corn. The XLB’s, which come with little foil cups, are tricky to cook— the directions don’t say so, but I learned from an employee that you have to lightly grease the cups before putting them in the steamer.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold