The Crescent City once claimed the largest Chinatown in the South. Formed in the 1880s around the 1100 block of Tulane Avenue, near where the Public Library now stands, New Orleans’ Chinatown shuttered in 1937 to make way for the Medical District. A second Chinatown operated in the French Quarter on Bourbon Street from 1940 until sometime in the ’70s. To be clear, Chinese food in New Orleans has leaned more “American-Chinese,” with dishes like General Tso’s chicken and egg foo young. Today, however, there is great interest in true Cantonese, Szechuan and other regional Chinese cuisine—especially dumplings, the darling of dim sum.
This recently opened corner spot in the Lower Garden District has superior, thin-skinned, steamed shrimp wontons topped with a crispy chili oil; crab rangoons filled with sweet, Louisiana blue crab meat; and pork and shrimp potstickers to dunk in a fiery soy-based dumpling sauce.
A French Quarter dim sum restaurant (hence its name) known for its extensive dumpling menu. Go for the most popular bite, Xiao Long Bao. Take a nip of the tender dumpling wrapper, slurp out the soup inside and pop the works in your mouth. Nip, slurp, eat, repeat. Don’t miss the Kale and Chicken or shrimp Har Gow.
Wishing Town Bakery Café
Yes, it’s a wee bit of a haul, out near the airport, but Wishing Town is the area’s only Hong Kong-style bakery with a great savory menu. Pork or beef “SiChuan” Spicy and Hot Dumpling Soup is brilliant. So too are the Dragon Shrimp Dumplings.
Another totally worth it, destination-dining rec, out in Metairie, with excellent Szechuan dishes full of as much (or as little) mala pepper as you like. Ask for the “secret” menu to get proper fried pork dumplings held together and pan-crisped en masse, or the small steamed pork buns. Then splurge on cream cheese-filled fried crab rangoon, because…why not?