Dumpling Empire: A Taste of Shanghai

photo by Donna Hui

It was this photo from my friend @cwpiequeen that lured me to try Dumpling Empire, located in South San Francisco. This is a dish of green onion pancake, a popular savory snack from Shanghai. When the batter is cooked, it turns into thin flakey layers filled with a depth of onion flavor. I don’t get to eat them often, but the green onion pancake here was cooked to a perfect crispy golden brown that could conquer any empire.  
The small restaurant is called Dumpling Empire, so of course I had to have some dumplings. Shanghai soup dumplings or xiao lung bao are filled with pork and soup and are my favorite kind of dumplings in the whole wide world. These were pretty solid as only one was missing soup. Having experienced making these before, there is a high level of difficulty in cooking xiao lung bao. The burst of broth always gives me a heavenly feeling.

The second dumplings I tried were the Shanghai pan fried soup dumplings. They had the similar meat and soup filling of the xiao lung bao, but the outer layer was a doughy bun that was pan fried. I thought the inside of the dough was slightly undercooked and it was not crisp enough on the outside. I would likely skip these next time, but there is a list of 21 additional dumplings on their menu.  

I also ordered the mustard green noodle soup which includes hand made noodles with thinly chopped mustard greens and pork. I enjoyed the fresh chewy noodles and the subtle infusion of the mustard greens in the entire bowl. The simplicity and the flavors of this bowl brought back memories of when I visited Shanghai.

I made a special trip out to Dumpling Empire and thought it was worth it. If you happen to be near the San Francisco Airport (SFO), I highly recommend making your way to Dumpling Empire for a taste of Shanghai.