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Where to Eat Great Dumplings from Coast to Coast

Whether you prefer the chic ambiance of a modern Asian-fusion restaurant or the comfort and familiarity of a mom-and-pop place, here are 12 of the best dumplings across the United States to fit your taste and budget.
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Photo: Phil Design Studio

Dumplings from Coast to Coast

Dim sum dumplings — once the sole province of Chinese restaurants — are having their breakthrough moment. From a fifth-generation chef in Philadelphia folding traditional xiao long bao to a Portland food truck steaming up bacon cheeseburger dumplings for passersby, chefs across the country are delighting diners with dim sum and then some. Whether you like your shumai from a Chinatown dive or in a glitzy nightclub, we've tracked down some of the best dumplings to fit your taste and budget.

Photo courtesy of Phil Design Studio

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Photo: Yvonne Gu

Atlanta: Gu's Bistro

This unassuming family-run place on Buford Highway has been Atlanta's go-to for Szechuan for years. The menu features over 150 items (both mouth-numbing and "Americanized"), but the thing to get is the Zhong-style dumplings topped with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Both the pork filling and the sauce are family recipes dating back to 1893, and chef Gu and his wife, natives of Szechuan Province, still make the dumplings by hand every day, using skins thick enough to withstand the generous pour of sauce on top. (At $8 for a plate of 12, they're a steal). The Zhong-style dumplings have been so popular that the owners are poised to open a second dumpling-centric offshoot in Krog Street Market in Inman Park.

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Gu

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Photo: Matthew Bacon

Boston: Blue Ginger

Celebrity chef and cookbook author Ming Tsai has been regaling Bostonians with his brand of East-meets-West cuisine since 1998, when he opened his first restaurant, Blue Ginger. Since then, he's added Blue Dragon to his empire, but no dish encapsulates Tsai's style more than the foie gras shumai served at Blue Ginger. A riff on the classic French pairing of foie gras and Sauternes wine, the open-faced dumplings are stuffed with a foie gras-and-shiitake mousse and served with a caramelized shallot-Sauternes broth. At $16 for three pieces, it's definitely not Chinatown prices, but then again, we're not talking mystery meat either.

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Photo: Mott St.

Chicago: Mott St.

From the hip open layout to the boldly flavored Asian-fusion mash-ups (General Tsao lamb sweetbreads, anyone?), it's easy to see why chef Edward Kim's casual little sister to his acclaimed Ruxbin has racked up countless awards for best new restaurant in Chicago. Snag a seat at a communal table, order a cocktail (Dashi martini, perhaps?) and settle in with a plate of steamed pork dumplings — pillowy pockets stuffed with pork, ginger and green onion — served with a traditional black vinegar dipping sauce that's been spiked with a housemade sambal. Be sure to follow up with the restaurant's other must-try item: double-fried Everything Wings.

Photo courtesy of Mott St.

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