Baked, steamed or fried – London has quite the penchant for dumplings. Although a few years’ ago it would have been hard to feed the capital’s hunger for the bitesized Asian comfort food without a trip to Chinatown, now dumpling destinations have sprung up all over the city, meaning we can order our favourite gyoza, dim sum or bao at pretty much any time of the day or night. Here’s where to find the best dumplings in London, just in time for National Dumpling Day.
Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall
Okay, so this isn’t a single destination. But the great thing about Bang Bang is that you can find the best of London’s Asian food scene all in one place – and that means a seriously good selection of dumplings. Choose between Royal China’s offering of har gow (delicate shrimp-filled dim sum), or Xi Home’s selection of north-eastern Chinese dumplings, filled with pork and mushroom, or beef and onion.
399 Edgware Road, London NW9 0FH, bangbangoriental.standard
A modern take on the traditional Cantonese tea shop (which serve dim sum alongside the hot drink), The Courtesan has been reimagined as an late-night cocktail bar, with a side of live burlesque. Its extensive dumpling menu covers everything from steamed dim sum to fluffy bao, as well as local delicacies like cashew-coated crab claws and deep-fried frogs legs.
69-73 Atlantic Road, Brixton SW9 8PU, thecourtesan.co.uk
My Neighbours the Dumplings
Yes, this low-key Hackney spot has had a lot of hype. But it more than lives up to it, with its dedicated menu of dim sum made daily in-house – its scallop and spinach steamed dumplings are a must-try. Every dish on the menu is made for sharing among the table, and can be washed down afterwards in Matilda’s sake bar, the restaurant’s basement speakeasy.
165 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, London E5 8EQ, myneighboursthedumplings.com
Awarded a Michelin star less than a year after it was opened, Hakkasan is where to head if you want your dumpling fix to be on the finer end of the spectrum. Although not strictly a dedicated dim sum restaurant, Hakkasan’s delicate steamed bundles contain an elevated mix of langoustine with Prunier caviar, swordfish with water chestnut, and king crab with peppercorn sauce. Deliciously decadent.
17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 6QB, hakkasan.com
Din Tai Fung
The Taiwanese dumpling restaurant opened its first London outpost earlier this year to much acclaim and five-hour long queues. If you can brave the wait – which you can now do virtually via via the WalkIn app – then you’ll be rewarded with steaming baskets of its famous soup dumplings, as well as its equally well-known sweet steamed buns filled with red taro or chocolate. The decor is minimal and the service is brisk – but the dumplings more than make up for it.
5 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8PT, dintaifung-uk.com
Keen social media types will be familiar with the little multi-coloured Pac-Man dumplings that have been making their rounds on Instagram. But RedFarm’s dumpling offering isn’t just restricted to the aesthetically pleasing. Yes, the Pac-Man quartet taste as good as they look, and come packed with a delicious shrimp filling. But also on the menu are massive pork and crab soup dumplings, which come fragrant and fresh from the steamer, filled with a rich stock that will burn your tongue if you’re not careful. There’s also crunchy vegetable and peanut dumplings, chicken dumplings with a mushroom ragout… You get the picture. And, although, not precisely a dumpling, the chef’s signature cheeseburger spring rolls combine the best of East and West in a way that is deliciously wrong, but also so right.
9 Russell St, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5HZ, redfarmldn.com