Welcome to Pittsburgh! What do you want to do first? Not sure yet? Well what about plans for tomorrow? …Well you still have time to decide… Where are you staying? You haven't booked a hotel yet?!?!
Steamed or pan-fried, Pittsburgh dumplings can't be beat
Yes, Pittsburgh is well-known for it's pierogis! But the humble dumpling is a star across the city, served in a variety of styles from trendy dim sum experiences to savory bao, crispy rangoon, soup wontons, gyoza and so much more.
I've never met a dumpling I didn't like, so I'm highlighting a few of my favorite stops around the city, along with the unique styles and influences that go into the dish, to help you create the ultimate dumpling tour of Pittsburgh.
Don't like my picks? Did I forget your favorite? Shoot me an email.
Number one on my list for a reason, The Parlor Dim Sum in Lawrenceville has been a top spot I recommend to everyone, local and visiting, since it opened in 2022. Cantonese-style Dim Sum (bite-sized dishes) steal the show here, and are served on a rotating glass you can spin to share (or steal) from your friends.
And the ambience here is perfect. Ordering your dim sum with the little pencils, duck in the kitchen window, Mahjong tiles decorating the entry way. This place truly has it all.
What to Get: Siu Mai (open-faced dumplings), ha gow (crystal shrimp dumplings), jade dumplings and be sure to get their spicy sauce to go with.
Pro Tip: Don't even think of waltzing in here on a Saturday night. Make reservations for this hotspot about a month in advance to get the time you want.
If I have to go near Squirrel Hill for any reason, I make sure I stop by Everyday Noodles. Noodles and dumplings here are made right in front of diners, with Taiwanese chefs expertly transforming dough to a fantastic meal on your plate in record time.
Half of the fun here is getting creative, so don't be afraid to try different noodle sizes for your main dish to pair nicely with their dim sum and steamed dumpling menu.
What to Get: Xiaolongbao (dumplings filled with soup) here are my favorite in the city to start, then the hot spicy wonton noodles (a taste of both their dumplings and noodles in one plate) for my entree.
Pro Tip: They close for a few hours between lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, so don't head here for a late lunch.
If you're just getting into the world of dumplings and dim sum, 芋见BAO in Oakland is a perfect first stop. The casual atmosphere and expansive menu make trying a wide variety of dumplings and buns easy, and almost all are available steamed or pan-fried to sample different textures. They even have sweet custard buns for dessert!
What to Get: Pan fried pork & bamboo buns, pork soup dumplings, Piggy cream custard buns (adorable and also a dumpling) for dessert
One thing I love about dumplings is how the preparation and fillings change country by country. In Nepal, the landlocked country between India and China, the momo reigns supreme.
Find the top momos in the city at Subba, one of Pittsburgh's best hidden gems. Venture up to this second-floor spot and enjoy Nepali, Indiana and Bhutanese food on a small menu full of new flavors that will win you over.
What to Get: Chicken momos, veggie momos each served with an out-of-this-world spicy sesame-chili chutney.
I make it a habit of putting every James Beard-nominated chef in my must-visit list. Wei Zhu of Chengdu Gourmet has now been nominated as a semifinalist five times, making their North Hills and original Squirrel Hill locations popular stops.
Zhu's classic Sichuan cuisine is authentic as it gets here in Pittsburgh. The double cooked pork belly here is one of my favorite dishes anywhere, and the sichuan dumplings keep me coming back.
What to Get: Sichuan dumplings in red chili oil, steamed pork dumplings
When you're looking for that stunning presentation that will make your Insta and Tik Tok followers comment "OMG Where is this 😍," then head to Amazing Dumplings in Squirrel Hill.
The dumplings here pop with color and change seasonally, so expect heart-shaped dumplings around Valentine's Day, bunny-shaped on Chinese New Year and more unique presentations. And with the chef's talented North China repertoire, these taste just as good as they look.
What to Get: Van Gogh Starry Night mapo tofu dumplings, coral pork and fennel dumplings, general tso's dumplings
In Japanese cooking, pan-fried dumplings (or potstickers) are called gyoza and are as ubiquitous as ramen, found everywhere from fancy dining to street food styles.
In Shadyside, Fujiya Ramen plates a variety of Japanese favorites, from loaded ramen bowls to donburi (rice bowls), yakitori (grilled skewers) and much more.
What to Get: Pork buns, Pork and chive gyoza, takoyaki (fried dumplings filled with octopus)
Korean-inspired Bae Bae's Kitchen is one of the more popular stops in Pittsburgh's Cultural District, ideal for noshing before a theatre show.
Get adventurous with Bae Bae's unique menu; everything here has a fun twist or reimagining of a classic dish, and they encourage you to build your own entrees from their meats and side dishes. If you just want a can't-miss dish, their bimbimbap (I prefer the KFC option) is going to excite your palate beyond words.
What to Get: Bulgogi wontons (filled with beef and noodles), pan-fried pork dumplings (get extra sambal, it's amazing)
Because China is such a massive country not only in population but also area and climate, dumplings and fillings vary region to region. Northeastern Kitchen celebrates the flavors of the NE provinces with buns and dumplings unique to only their menu in Pittsburgh.
Surprised by the sauerkraut dumplings? Just like noodles, the history of this dish goes all the way back to earliest mentions in China.
What to Get: Miniature dumpling soup, sauerkraut dumplings, corn bun
When I started working in Downtown Pittsburgh, Yuzu Kitchen was my very first meal in the city, and a place I always find myself coming back to.
Their Asian fusion concept works in a variety of my favorite dishes from other restaurants all on one menu, so it's easy to have delectable dishes which originated in Japan, China and Taiwan all in one sitting.
What to Get: Cha Shu Bao (pork belly), wonton ramen
With three locations and constantly voted a top Thai restaurant in the city, Nicky's Thai Kitchen is going to be one of the top locations the locals will point you to for lunch or dinner.
My love language is crab rangoon, so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the perfect ones on their menu, a dish I order no matter what. The pineapple sauce it comes pairs perfectly with each crispy, cream-cheese filled bite.
What to Get: Crab rangoon, Thai steamed dumplings (served with a rockin' sweet and sour black soy sauce)