This popular little food exists in various cuisines and is simply a filling wrapped inside a thin dough skin. This page will focus specifically on Northern style Chinese dumplings that are freshly made to order. It’s generally best to go in a group of 3 or more in order to try a variety of dumplings. Some places do offer half and half for an extra cost.
Qing Hua Dumpling (Cash only with bank machine inside)
1019 St. Laurent (closest metro: place d’armes)
Last visit: Dec 2015, # of visits: 3
1676 Avenue Lincoln (closest metro: guy concordia)
Last visit: Summer 2011, # of visits: 2
They specialize in soup dumplings. The way to eat a soup dumpling is to hold one in a spoon and bite a small hole in the dumpling then sip the soup broth from inside before eating the dumpling or dipping it in sauce. Their dumplings definitely have a lot of soup, enough that if you just bit into them directly, the liquid will spew out all over the place and make a mess. A single order has 15 dumplings, steamed or pan-fried. It’s a $1.50 extra for pan-fried. Although I personally prefer pan-fried, these days I find most restaurants including Qing Hua do a poor job of pan-frying so I skip it. Pork + Shrimp filling is a classic and probably the best one to try first. Lamb+Coriander and Beef+Onion are also good combinations. Some people like ones with curry but I don’t care much for them. Some of the funkier ones like the one with mackerel or oysters are well made but probably not the best to go with on a first visit. I personally did not like the flavor profile of either one of those but didn’t regret trying them. The Chinatown location also offers chicken, beef, lamb and seafood fillings too. Prices range from $8 to $13.
The St. Laurent location was a recent addition to Chinatown in late 2011 while the original on Lincoln has been around for years. The Chinatown location is much larger with a lot of 4 person and six person tables (could probably fit 80 ppl or so).
Mai Xiang Yuan (Cash only)
1082 St. Laurent (closest metro: place d’armes or place des arts)
Last visit: December 2011, # of visits: 2
1929 St. Catherine O
Last visit: November 2015, # of visits: 2
To be updated but its offerings are similar to Qing Hua but a smaller variety. Prices and order sizes are also similar with 1 dollar or so difference depending on the filling.
Before Qing Hua opened their Chinatown location, Mai Xiang Hua was already on St. Laurent for at least a full year in 2010. In 2015 they moved to a slightly bigger but still small location next door. Their second location on St. Catherine is bigger with more tables for 2 or 4 people.
La Maison Dumpling (Cash or debit only)
Last visit: October 2016, # of visits: 1
This opened in August 2016, I believe. It is a very small place (it looks like an apartment) with a small selection of 6 different fillings including pork, pork+shimp, beef, chicken or lamb. I tried the lamb and pork+shrimp and thought both were quite good. They aren’t soup dumplings but they’re tasty and moist. Prices range from $9 to $12 for a single order of 15 dumplings.
Sammi & Soupe Dumpling (Probably cash only)
1909 St. Catherine O
Last visit: Summer 2015, # of visits: 2
This is the best place to get Xiao long bao. They also offer pan-fried dumplings but have not had those recently.
Mei Yuan (Cash only or debit)
1425 Mackay (closest metro: Guy Concordia)
Last visit: July 2016, # of visits: 5
This opened in 2013 (possibly May). Its menu offers a lot of interesting little dishes with lots of variety. That includes many dumplings and also tang baos (little buns with soup broth in them, Xiao long bao is similar to this). They have also added a long list of skewered meats (like Xin Jiang style lamb chuanr) and a Chinese crepe called Jian bing. The food is a bit more expensive than say Chinatown prices. The best dishes I’ve had here recently were the lamb noodle soup (Hui mian) and another noodle dish called Zha jiang mian. The last time I tried their tang bao, it was quite disappointing with little soup in them. I had some cold noodles which were pretty good taste-wise with a vinegar, sesame type sauce mixed with the noodles with sliced cucumbers. It had very little beef with it.
1050 Clark (closest metro: Place d’Armes)
Last visit: June 2013, # of visits: 2
This is a place that I think opened in May 2013. Their dumplings have soup in them and I thought they were quite adequate even if they’re not the best. I haven’t been there recently and there have been some changes so I deleted my previous comments.
4801 St. Laurent
Last visit: December 2015, # of visits: 1
Disappointing, there was generally a lack of flavour and one of my orders came lukewarm somehow. They do have soup broth inside. An okay place if you live nearby but not worth a detour. A single order only has 12 dumplings but for about the same prices as other more popular dumpling shops in Chinatown which usually offer 15.