Cheap Eats Shanghai Cafe Deluxe

Cheap Eats: Soup Dumplings!

“Cheap Eats” is my post-series on cheap restaurants and prepared food options in New York. I recommend cooking your own food most of the time, but every once in a while it is nice to indulge and you don’t have to pay through the nose to do so. I plan to review many of the cheap options I find on various websites and will let you know if they are as good and as cheap as advertised. If you have a suggestion for a place to review, feel free to let me know through my contact page.

A couple weeks ago, I received a great email from a reader named Art, who is doing an amazing job turning his financial fortunes around here in NYC! At the end of his email, Art suggested a “Cheap Eats” location, so I had to check it out!

Cheap Eats Shanghai Cafe Deluxe
Very modern, clean looking storefront.

Shanghai Cafe Deluxe – 100 Mott St (map)

I stepped in the restaurant and was a little skeptical. This place was nice, clean, and a little fancy looking – definitely not the good ole hole-in-the-wall joints that usually have the cheap eats that I love. I couldn’t imagine getting a meal for $5 in a place like this. But I stepped up to the counter and placed my order for pork soup dumplings.
Cheap Eats Pork Soup Dumplings
Every order has 8 of these delicious little dumplings!

I ordered the dumplings to-go, but this was definitely a sit-down restaurant first and foremost. If you felt like spending a little extra on tax and tip, you could easily have a nice dinner here for pretty cheap.


How was the ordering experience? I made the mistake of actually looking at the menu, and for a second, I was confused. Art had told me on the menu, they were called pork steamed buns, but everyone calls them soup dumplings. I sputtered my way through my order and tried to figure out which item I was supposed to actually be ordering. In the end, the lady behind the counter knew that I was probably trying to order the pork soup dumplings (I think they are the staple item there), so she just said “oh, pork soup dumplings” and I nodded gratefully.

How unique is the food? Ok, if you haven’t heard of soup dumplings, you need to try these. They are quickly becoming a popular dish among my friends. These are not dumplings in soup (as you can probably tell from the picture). No no – these are dumplings with soup INSIDE them! They are like delicious savory versions of Gushers Fruit Snacks. They also have a nice morsel of pork to go along with the soup in each one. I’d say these are pretty unique!

How delicious was the food? So good! That gush of soup as you pop these into your mouth is such a fun sensation. Plus the pork is delicious as well – for you vegetarians, they do have vegetable soup dumplings on the menu as well.

Did it fill me up for $5 or less? Sure did! They are definitely small, which is great because you can pop a whole one into your mouth and not worry about losing soup, but there are 8 of them, so the whole order does make for a good lunch and the final cost is $4.95!

Conclusion: Thanks so much Art for suggesting this place! I’ll definitely be back. There are quite a few cheap eats locations in Chinatown, but this one might be my favorite so far!

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10 thoughts on “Cheap Eats: Soup Dumplings!

  1. Claire M July 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

    yummm, I love soup dumplings. Definitely a fun and filling food! Great comparison to Gushers :p
    Claire M recently posted: Creating Change in Life AND Finances: What CrossFit Can Teach Us About Paying Off DebtMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      So good, I might have to get some more today…

  2. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life July 11, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Wow, that’s a pretty massive meal for $5!
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: My Single Most Effective Money Saving Strategy: Safe SexMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      For sure! It was a great find by Art!

  3. Nicola July 12, 2014 at 10:16 am

    These sound tasty – never heard of soup dumplings before!
    Nicola recently posted: The Ultimate Dream Part Two: Early Retirement.My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Definitely worth making an effort to find! They are delicious!

  4. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply July 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Man I’ve been having a craving for soup dumplings recently! I love them. I usually go to Joe’s Ginger (same franchise as Joe’s Shanghai but it’s too busy there). As for other cheap eats in Chinatown, have you had wonton noodle soup at Great NY Noodle Town or Big Wong? I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted: 4 Tips to Properly Price a Purchase OfferMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      I haven’t yet, but I will definitely add that to my list! Thanks Andrew!

  5. Art July 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it! The fried rice at this place is also under $5, delicious, and comes in large portions!

    • Mr NYBudget July 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Sounds amazing! I’ll have to get that next. Thanks again Art!

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