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Best of Toronto

The Best Dumplings in Toronto

Posted by Dayna Winter / November 9, 2010

dumplings torontoThe best dumplings in Toronto aren't found, necessarily, in the finest restaurants or in the most obvious of places. Dumpling connoisseurs seem quite happy to descend into underground holes and frequent desolate Markham strip malls to experience some of the best doughy pockets in the city.

A Chinese specialty and cheap eats staple, dumplings can usually be ordered steamed or pan-fried. The shapes vary, but somehow they all manage to resemble strange and beautiful sea creatures with their translucent skins (a thin, stretchy dough) and visible inner organs (minced meat, veggies, egg etc.).

My suburban early childhood admittedly left me closed-minded to Chinese cuisine, after too much greasy Americanized take-out, frozen egg rolls and VH plum sauce. I formed a sweeping (and unfair) dislike for Chinese food, even after I escaped the suburbs. Years later, I experienced authentic Hot and Sour soup on a bad date (the only good memory from the evening). Next came dim sum, then dumplings and after that I was hooked.

Here's a list of the seven best dumplings in Toronto as voted by readers of this site.

See also: Rats Feast at Dumpling House

Mother's Dumplings

Mother's Dumplings

Since re-locating from Huron St., Mother's Dumplings hasn't missed a beat. The new Spadina location encompasses all of the best parts of Chinatown - the vibrancy of red paper lanterns, the energetic bustle and the mingling yummy smells. Just before noon, six kitchen staffers prepare dumplings by hand in the open kitchen. Boiled, steamed or pan-fried, Mother’s dumplings are available in 10 to 24-piece orders. More »

Dumpling King

Dumpling King

Located in one of an endless line of strip malls on Midland Avenue in Scarborough, The Dumpling King earns low marks for ambiance. The scuzzy fluorescent-lit space with disinterested staff certainly kill the appeal. But the dumplings don't disappoint. The menu is literally 200 items long, too, including 25 varieties of dumplings and pot-stickers. More »

Ding Tai Fung

Ding Tai Fung

Another strip mall location, (this time in Markham) Ding Tai Fung makes more of an effort to be inviting. The layout is a little too open for my liking, and not ideal for dates whatsoever, but the staff is pleasant, attentive and quick. Dumpling here don't skimp on the filling - all are plump and hearty. Try the Hot and Sour soup, too. More »

Chinese Dumpling House

Chinese Dumpling House

A good bet for take-out, this teeny suburban Chinese resto gets high marks for efficiency, even if the customer service could use some work. The interior, while small, is tidy and actually has decent lunch-hour ambiance. The dumplings are smaller than average, but $4.99 buys you a whopping order of 15! Try the leek and egg variety. More »

Chinese Traditional Buns

Chinese Traditional Buns

Entering this lower level eatery feels like walking into a cold-storage unit through a thick plastic curtain. Employees hand-stretch noodles just inside the front entry, literally in the way of the door. This is how you know the food is fresh. And the dumplings? They're just as good as any on this list (and super cheap!), and owner Linda is wonderfully accommodating. Try the vegetarian Shao Mai, and definitely add a spicy bean curd soup for $1.99. More »

King's Cafe

King's Cafe

Kensington vegetarian locale King’s Cafe serves up traditional Asian fusion with a healthy spin. Dishes, including veggie and mushroom dumplings are prepared with natural ingredients and without preservatives or chemicals. Dumplings are boiled or pan-fried, served with a ginger dipping sauce. King’s is a tranquil spa-like space set in the middle of market chaos. More »

Asian Legend

Asian Legend

Asian Legend has six locations in the GTA including one on Dundas just east of Spadina. Here they hand-prepare some of the most aesthetically lovely dumplings I’ve seen in the city. Steamed soup-filled dumplings are a favourite, featuring dried scallops, pork and luffa in a gorgeous green-hued dough. This flagship location is a pristine space with intimate private rooms perfect for a shared meal among friends. More »

Discussion

35 Comments

dolce / November 9, 2010 at 09:55 am
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Yessss! I love Mother's Dumplings! I was just there on Sunday.
Aydin / November 9, 2010 at 10:10 am
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Oh, I get it! Dumpling House had a rat problem almost THREE YEARS AGO, and now their dumplings are not allowed to be on the list!

I'm sure that NO other restaurants in Toronto have rats. Could you imagine what we would see if all kitchens were open and exposed during off-hours like Dumpling House? I'm not saying it wasn't gross, but we're being naive if we believe that Dumpling House is the ONLY place that has had a rat issue.

Rats, schmats - Dumpling House's dumplings taste far better than Mother's. Sorry! It's not a pretty restaurant, but if I got take-out, and gave you a blind taste-test, there is no way you'd pick Mothers.
rats! / November 9, 2010 at 10:25 am
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@Aydin - too bad they're closed for 'renovations' again...
michelle / November 9, 2010 at 10:36 am
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mother's dumplings is under seasoned and overrated.
NYAIYLS / November 9, 2010 at 10:42 am
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YES! I have to give you incredible respect for putting "Chinese Dumpling House" on there. Those is the best dumplings and for an awesome price!
Sometimes I thought nobody knew about that place besides me!

Les / November 9, 2010 at 10:43 am
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I normally don't complain about these lists but really Chinese Dumpling House at #4? Gross salty dumplings, filthy dine in area (this is coming from a person who is SUPER lenient when it comes to cleanliness and chinese restaurants) and a known rat problem that just didn't make the paper because it's in Scarborough and not Chinatown.

Both the aforementioned Dumpling House and the OTHER non-affiliated Chinese Dumpling House located on Steeles in Metro Square (also heard there's another location in Richmond Hill) are vastly superior to the one on this list. Hell I have half a mind that people who were voting didn't know they were voting for the Scaborough Chinese Dumpling House.
dolce replying to a comment from Aydin / November 9, 2010 at 11:08 am
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You moron, these lists are tabulated by votes. If the most people on the website voted for Mother's, then clearly there seems to be a trend...

I think people know what they're eating and whether or not it is good, thanks. I know I certainly do.
HelenInTheEast / November 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm
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Why does the writer need to describe an eatery location in Markham as "desolate"? A place that is popular and well-liked (mainly by Chinese patrons, who know their dumplings and who live in Markham) doesn't deserve such an inaccurate & condescending moniker. Stop the judgements & just report on the food. If people who DON'T live in Markham want to travel there, that's their choice and no one needs the attitude. Just because an area is not crammed with bodies does not make in "desolate". Silly.
Greg replying to a comment from HelenInTheEast / November 9, 2010 at 01:39 pm
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Whoa there. Yes Markham is desolate. Y'ever tried riding one of your fixies on those road up there? 'Nuff said.

Welcome to BlogTO, you must be new.

Also, her best friend is Chinese. Checkmate.
jd3545 / November 9, 2010 at 01:50 pm
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I still prefer Mother's back at the old location. Tho, it is great to be able to find a table now. But I just found the food was much better.

I have to admit, I really enjoy the soup dumplings at Asian Legend.
Ugh / November 9, 2010 at 02:00 pm
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I agree with Aydin. Dumpling House will always be tastier than Mother's.
Aydin replying to a comment from dolce / November 9, 2010 at 03:01 pm
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If we're going to insult eachother...

Hey you mental midget, don't you find it a bit suspect that just about every other Best Of list on this site has more than seven entries? Don't you notice that almost every list has multiples of three in it, making the lists look much nicer esthetically on the page?

Do you REALLY think that every single person who visits this site ONLY voted for THESE seven restaurants, and not a single other one? Based on the other responses to my original comment, clearly I'm not the only one that thinks Dumpling House is suspiciously left off of this list.

I know I voted for Dumpling House, and I'm sure others did. But even if I was the only vote, it should have made the cut, as it's never presented as the "Top Seven Most Popular", is it?
Aydin replying to a comment from dolce / November 9, 2010 at 03:08 pm
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Oh, and hey genius, why do you think they put the "See also: Rats Feast at Dumpling House" at the bottom of the list's description? Strange coincidence, huh?
Now go back to eating what you think is good.
Tim / November 9, 2010 at 03:35 pm
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There's no conspiracy theory. Dumpling House was disqualified from being on this list due to past rat infestation problems AND the fact it is currently closed for renovations.
Pete / November 9, 2010 at 03:57 pm
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Dumpling King is fantastic. Their green beans w/ spicy pork are heavenly.
Toronto_B*tch / November 9, 2010 at 04:43 pm
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What is wrong with Torontonians? We are a bunch crabby assholes. The commentary left on Blogto has a strong stench of negativity.

I've met people who've moved to Toronto from Europe and other large American cities, such as NYC and they all make the same comment. Toronto residents are angry and a bunch of whiners. If you're going to make snippy comments, you might as well make them entertaining and/or witty.
Soren replying to a comment from Aydin / November 9, 2010 at 05:07 pm
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Rat shit is never tasty, dude. Deal.
Chino / November 9, 2010 at 06:16 pm
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Anyone know where i can get Shanghai style "soup dumplings"? They're pork/shrimp dumplings with soup broth inside.

Mother's Dumplings has them but the shell is too thin and they break once you pick them up = no good.





hellebelle replying to a comment from Chino / November 9, 2010 at 07:24 pm
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asian legend has soup dumplings. i haven't tried them though cuz i'm vegetarian, but my non-veg chinese parents have them all the time, so i assume they're tasty.
jd3545 replying to a comment from Chino / November 9, 2010 at 07:31 pm
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@Chino

From my post above. Try Asian Legend.
HelenInTheEast / November 9, 2010 at 10:03 pm
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Thanks, Greg! Yes, I'm new, and I suppose I was thrown off from my great dumpling hunt here by what seemed to be a negative sort of wordslap at the start. Hilarious. Anyway, I live on the border between Markham & Scarborough...and where I stand, calling a place that has a quarter of a million people and is a hugely vibrant, diverse & incredibly fast-growing young area (in addition to being widely spaced, and full of open fields and monster mansions, I grant you...) "desolate" struck the wrong cord. Dropped now.
secyw / November 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm
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Ding Tai Fung is pretty good but kind of pricy. I usually go to Asian Legend as they have a few restaurants both uptown and downtown.
Anon / December 13, 2010 at 05:59 pm
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I do like Mother's Dumplings quite a bit but there was another place that I think closed down recently called Family Dumpling House that was also very good. If I'm not mistaken, Family Dumpling House opened up in Mother's Dumpling's old location before Mother's moved to their new location.
Pat Ferris replying to a comment from dolce / December 19, 2010 at 08:16 pm
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My wife tells me that Mothers Dumplings has closed, too bad! Can anyone confirm this?
Sheldon / December 19, 2010 at 08:56 pm
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Your wife might be thinking of the old location on Huron north of Dundas. It moved to Spadina south of College. That location was bustling a week ago, so unless disaster has struck...
B.J. / August 31, 2011 at 06:56 pm
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I found a band-aid in my food at Dumpling House on Spadina.
Though I like their food and have been there more than once, I won't return, not because of the problem but because of the reaction of the owner, who raised her voice at the waitress, insisted we pay for the offending meal, wouldn't speak to me in English, wouldn't look at me, and behaved in a childish manner while I remained calm and polite, offering to pay for the appetizer but not the meal with the band-aid. Not impressed. I like supporting non-chain, locally-owned delicious authentic joints (even if they have had sanitation problems in the past), but the owner's reaction hit me worse than finding a band-aid in my noodles :(
FoodLovaa / September 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm
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As soon as I get over this flu, I am going to be eating my way through this list.
sadayweston / December 20, 2011 at 08:45 pm
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Ho / February 25, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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Try Newland BBQ Square. I went there with my fam - 4 people in total for lunch and it cost us just under $21. The quality is very comparable to Mother dumplings. I also enjoy that their food as they do not use MSG in their dishes.
Ho / February 25, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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Try Newland BBQ Square. I went there with my fam - 4 people in total for lunch and it cost us just under $21. The quality is very comparable to Mother dumplings. I also enjoy that their food as they do not use MSG in their dishes.
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm
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Ding Tai Fung is pretty good but kind of pricy. I usually go to Asian Legend as they have a few restaurants both uptown and downtown.
AA / October 11, 2012 at 03:27 pm
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I would avoid Yummy Yummy Dumpling House. It's at 79 Huron St, where Mother's used to be. Paid $10 for a GroupOn, and they changed the menu on me after I presented it. Very limited selection that was not intimated at the time of purchase.

When I asked the owner why this was not outlined on the GroupOn, he said he didn't speak English. A lady sitting beside me explained to him in Mandarin what I was talking about and he just shrugged his shoulders.

When I left, he chased me down the street telling me that I owed him $2.60 in HST (also not stipulated in the GroupOn). He spoke perfect English, btw.

I ate Pork & Dill Steamed Dumplings, which were pretty good, but not as good as Mother's or Ding Tai Fung. Salads were limited to shredded Potato or Bean Sprouts. Hot & Sour Soup was lame.

Overall, had I known about the limited menu, I would not have purchased the GroupOn. GroupOn aside, I still would not eat there again, as there are a number of better places to go for Dumplings.
fiddleton / March 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm
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For anyone who has stumbled upon this list looking for a good place for dumplings - take not that Mother's Dumplings is in fact horrible. By all means, pay them a visit - Just remember this little note of caution i've typed out for you afterwards - when you're at the closest bar ordering a shot of vodka to strip the flavour of that meal from your palette.
fiddleton / March 27, 2013 at 11:44 pm
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Amendment - for decent dumplings and dim sum, I recommend Asian Legend, Dynasty, Crown Princess, or even Sky Dragon. I'm sure there are other great places too, but these places tend to be consistently decent.
L. Toolis / March 13, 2014 at 07:11 pm
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How long does it take before you remove a problem from your review? The Dumpling House dumplings are excellent, as are most of their other dishes. They make their dumplings in the window, where people can watch.

Mother's Dumplings, which you rate highly, are terrible. Avoid their dumplings, order the Da-lu noodle soup instead.

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