Bao wow! Downtown eatery will serve up Shanghai soup dumplings

Plated: Chef Zongxing Tu will bring his soup dumplings to Downtown when the still-under-construction Yaso Tangbao opens on Lawrence Street.
Photo by Michah Saperstein

These budding restaurateurs hope to leave them wonton more!

A trio of Shanghai-born entrepreneurs are aiming to give Downtown diners a taste of their childhoods with a new dumpling eatery near Fulton Mall, which they say will fill a hole in the neighborhood’s burgeoning dining scene.

“This area is coming up very quickly,” said Downtown resident Chi Zhang, who is teaming up with his high-school buddies Kevin Gu and Chong Wu Du to open the restaurant on Lawrence Street next month. “And there is no authentic Shanghai food anywhere near here.”

The forthcoming food outlet, dubbed Yaso Tangbao — or “Uncle’s soup dumplings” — will specialize in xiaolongbao, a type of steamed dumpling filled with broth and meat that boasts a cult following among New York foodies.

The liquid-centered dough-balls are a specialty of the threesome’s home town of Nanxiang, and they say their offerings will be the real deal.

“Our authentic soup dumplings are made just like we made them in our village, from scratch every day,” said Gu.

To keep the signature dish authentic, the owners say they’ve hired chef Zongxing Tu, another native of Nanxiang who has been cooking Shanghainese specialties around New York for 40 years. He is a big deal in the potsticker world, said Chi.

“He’s kind of a celebrity for people who like Chinese dumplings,” he said.

The casual eatery — customers will order at the counter, fast-food-style — will also whip up other regional treats, including Shanghainese-style drunken chicken — which is made by soaking poultry in rice wine — pork meatballs, and noodle soups, the co-owners said.

If everything goes to plan, the dumpling dealers plan to open the doors on Sept. 26.

Yaso Tangbao (148 Lawrence St. between Willoughby and Fulton streets Downtown, www.facebook.com/yasotangbao). Opening Sept. 26.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.

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