As soup dumplings become more accessible through wholesalers like Costco, Sam’s Club or Trader Joe’s, these piping-hot pockets of soup have taken social media by storm. TikTok and Instagram are bombarded by foodies preparing them in various ways, whether it’s topping them with soy sauce, freshly squeezed lime or chili oil — it ultimately ends with a premature bite and scorched tongues.
So, where do these delicious soup-filled bites originate? Xiao long bao or soup dumplings were created in 1870 by Huang Mingxian, a Shanghai restaurant owner. He found that by adding an ingredient called aspic to the filling, the savory meat stock gel turned into a soup-like consistency when steamed.
While grabbing a box of frozen dumplings at the store is easy, nothing beats handmade, local soup dumplings from these Denver restaurants.
Location: 1555 Blake St., Denver and 10195 E. 29th Dr., Denver
The Lowdown: Cholon first opened in Denver in 2010 with a menu full of traditional dishes found across the Far East combined with Executive Chef and Owner Lon Symensma’s classical European training. Hence the birthplace of some of the tastiest French Onion Soup Dumplings ($15) and “General Cho’s” Soup Dumplings ($15).
Location: 1520 16th St., Denver
The Lowdown: YumCha is a dumpling and noodle bar concept under the Cholon Restaurant umbrella with similar french onion soup dumplings and creative shareables. From Cheeseburger Bao Buns ($12) and Firecracker Chicken Bao Buns ($12) to Commando Fries ($14) and Kimchi Ramen ($17), the menu offers plenty of unique eats to accompany those soup dumplings.
Location: 2917 W. Mississippi Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: Star Kitchen is known for its authentic dim sum and long list of dumplings — from pan-fried leek and scallops to shrimp and pork sweet rice. However, the real star of the show is its Steamed Shanghai Soup Dumplings with Pork ($6.65). These bite-sized pockets have the perfect ratio of dough and filling, with just enough space on top for some spicy chili oil.
Mason’s Dumpling Shop
Location: 9655 Montview Blvd., Aurora
The Lowdown: Mason’s Dumpling Shop, perfectly coined as not your average dumpling shop, offers a plethora of boiled, steamed and pan-fried dumplings to Aurora. Amazing bites aside, the steamed soup dumplings are a staple and go-to when ordering at Mason’s. Served steamed, warm and soupy — it doesn’t need all the dressings.
Lao Wang Noodle House
Location: 945 S. Federal Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: Lao Wang Noodle House sits in a shopping mall with an unassuming storefront and an incredible kitchen inside. The Xiao Long Bao ($9.95) comes in a traditional bamboo basket full of soup-filled dumplings. You honestly can’t go wrong with any noodle or dumpling house on Federal Boulevard.
While this list doesn’t cover all restaurants in Denver offering soup dumplings, it’s an excellent start for beginners. For more dumpling-related content not exclusive to soup-filled, check out 11 Best Spots for Dumplings In and Around Denver.