first impression | If walking into Tiger Soup Dumplings gives you a sense of déjà vu, odds are it’s the mural painted on the wall demonstrating the proper technique for eating xiao long bao (AKA soup dumplings). Co-owner Yue Zhai also created wall art for her mother’s restaurant, Soup Dumplings STL, in University City. She’s now branching out with her own take on the dish. Tucked away in a shopping center in Fenton, Tiger Soup Dumplings is ready to show customers how it’s done—literally! One of the restaurant’s standout features is the large demonstration window, offering a glimpse into the dumpling making process.

wash it down
To complete your dining experience, Tiger Soup Dumplings offers a variety of bubble teas and smoothies. The Strawberry Oreo Marble ($9.25) was a surprisingly refreshing smoothie option. The Oreo was used sparingly for a nice pop of sweetness that didn’t become overwhelming. Many of the beverages feature a cheese foam, which can be an acquired taste.

must trys

Cucumber Salad, $3.75: Refreshing with a big flavor, this is one of two veggie sides that were on the menu during our visit. Unfortunately, those were the only vegan or vegetarian options available, so be aware if you’re dining with someone who has dietary restrictions.

Spicy Wonton Noodle, $7.95: This was definitely the star of the side dishes. The meat-filled wontons are delicious and pair wonderfully with the chili oil they are drenched in. It is available without noodles, but they’re great for picking up that extra chili oil. Plus, who doesn’t love noodles?

Pan Fried Shrimp & Cheese Soup Dumplings, $10.99: Fans of Soup Dumplings STL will recognize most of the soup dumpling varieties on the menu, but this is the exception. The shrimp tasted great. The cheese is not too in your face, with its presence limited to the broth. Pan frying is something else unique to Tiger Soup Dumplings, and it’s awesome. The addition of the crispy edges creates a wonderful balance of textures with the dumpling and tender filling.

Pan Fried Beef Soup Dumpling, $11.99: I’ve always been a sucker for beef soup dumplings. They have a richness that just isn’t there with white meat and seafood. These were no exception with their wonderful umami flavor. Again, maybe it’s the novelty of the preparation, but pan fried is the way to go. That added crunch is just an all-round win.

Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings, $8.99: The most traditional of the items on the menu, a classic is classic for a reason. The broth is full of flavor, mostly savory with a slight sweetness on the end. It pairs beautifully with the vinegar and chili provided for dipping. Sure, I’ve been talking up the pan fried varieties, but you really can’t go wrong with the steamed either.

For soup dumpling fans (which this reviewer admittingly is), Tiger Soup Dumplings is certainly worth the drive to Fenton. While the menu is limited, everything is fantastic. On both occasions our dining party visited, the restaurant was packed—with an equally impressive collection of dine-in and take-out customers. It’s exciting to start off 2023 celebrating the success of a local business.

98 Gravois Bluffs Circle Drive, Ste D

Pictured at top: Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings with Cucumber Salad
Photo: Bill Barrett