Best of Houston® 2021

Best Of Houston® 2021: Best Soup Dumplings

Wanna Bao's soup dumplings are perfection.
Wanna Bao's soup dumplings are perfection. Mai Pham
Best Soup Dumplings: Wanna Bao

A regional specialty from Shanghai, soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, are a difficult delicacy to master. First, the dumping skin needs to be prepared fresh and rolled by hand until paper thin. Then, the dumpling itself must be made quickly — the filling placed on the just-rolled skin and then closed by a series of pleats that results in a perfectly shaped round dumpling. Prepared and steamed to order, the soup dumplings must be served at the table steaming hot with all the juice trapped inside.

This is what happens at Wanna Bao in Midtown. Owner Dean Dee, whose parents own One Dragon Restaurant in Chinatown, learned the art of making soup dumplings from his father, then innovated to come up with his own recipe. The results are delicious. Served six to an order and presented in a bamboo steaming basket with small pair of tongs, the paper thin dumpling wrappers are delicate but elastic, the soup plentiful and flavorful, the moist pork filling seasoned to perfection so that each package is just a joy to eat.

2708 Bagby, Houston
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