Finding good dumplings in SF isn’t hard. But knowing where to get your hands on the kind that will make you want to impulsively quit your day job and devote the rest of your life to mastering how to fold xiao long bao? Well, that requires lots of research, dedication, and more than a few burnt tongues. Alternatively, you can just head to Dumpling Home, a Chinese restaurant that’s churning out some of the best dumplings in the city.
In Hayes Valley, a neighborhood teeming with wine bars and French restaurants, Dumpling Home is a welcome addition. And the food at this casual, walk-up only spot is something special. Behind a glass wall in the back of the restaurant, employees meticulously fold wrappers around little scoops of filling. Once you sit down, watching the careful attention to detail this process requires will unlock even more appreciation for every dumpling that lands on your table - like the steaming hot xiao long bao with skin so delicate you can see the flavorful soup through it. Or the green vegetable dumplings, which are pinched together to create a sort of inverted fold down the middle that makes them look like sleeping baby hedgehogs.
You should focus on trying as many steamed, boiled, and pan-fried dumplings as you can when you’re here. In fact, do yourself a favor and try all of them - everything, from the shengjianbao to the pork and Napa cabbage dumplings, is phenomenal. But what makes this spot so great doesn’t stop at the dumplings: the appetizers and sides are just as memorable, like the delicious craggy cucumber salad that’s mixed with what feels like an entire head of garlic, or the sticky dry-fried chicken wings with perfect, crackly skin.
A meal at Dumpling Home works well in essentially any situation, whether you’re swinging by for a mid-week date night or celebrating a lowkey birthday with friends. Service is quick and efficient (but never rushed), and the food will start coming out to your table almost as soon as you place an order - so you’ll be passing steamers and bowls full of dan dan noodles around in no time. Just know that you’re in the presence of some dumpling Hall of Famers, which we’re lucky enough to have right here in SF.
This is one of our favorite dishes on the menu, and a must-order every time we come to Dumpling Home. The uneven chunks of cucumber are tossed with a sh*t ton of fresh garlic, and it’s fantastic.
We never leave here without ordering a side of these.
You have to be careful when biting into these plump, pan-fried shengjianbao: hot, flavorful soup might accidentally spray across the table. But for dumplings this juicy, we don’t mind.
A translucent wrapper, tender pork filling, and light, savory broth come together to make one of the best xiao long bao in the city. The other variations on the soup dumplings, like chicken or crab and pork, are great too, but this one never disappoints.
The steamed vegetable dumplings have vibrant green wrappers and an earthy filling of mushrooms, carrots, green onions, and other veggies - and they’re excellent. The unique inverted fold makes these beautiful to look at, and delicious to eat.
If you’re like us, it’s pretty hard to say no to wings coated in a sticky, salty-sweet sauce. And the version at Dumpling Home has especially crackly skin that we love.
The long, chewy fresh noodles make this. If you want something other than dumplings on your table, this is a great option.