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United Dumplings, a Bernal Heights spot known for their traditional Xiao Long Bao and a fusion-flavored dumplings, is about to expand throughout the Bay Area. Since opening in October 2020, owners Julia Zhu and Sandy Zheng continue to see success with a menu inspired by their upbringings in Northern China and their love of multicultural flavors cultivated in the U.S.
The women-owned business will open two new locations this year; first in the Marina and then in Oakland towards the end of this year. Zhu confirmed with What Now San Francisco this week that they’ve recently applied for their beer and wine licenses at both locations.
“We wanted to find a way to incorporate the things we like into the cuisine of our roots,” Zhu said. For her and Zheng, the tradition of making and enjoying dumplings with family is nostalgic and something they wanted to carry on when they began having their own kids.
Having lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, they sought to create something inspired by the flavors they were exposed to in this country, from Korean to Mexican. Aside from their Xiao Long Bao, made with a gluten-rich dough particular to the northern region of China, United Dumplings is also known for fusing flavors of other cuisines into dumplings.
One of their most popular is the Korean Beef BBQ Dumpling, which is filled with bulgogi-flavored beef. Zhu says that the fusion flavors are something she and Zheng are working to expand with their new locations.
Each new restaurant will carry a different flavor. In the Marina, for example, Zhu says they are experimenting with an empanada-like offering called Little Havana, which is inspired by Cuban cuisine.
She says that their new location at 2015 Chestnut St. is still awaiting inspections but will hopefully open by the end of this month. Meanwhile, progress is already underway in a bigger space at 6247 College Ave. in Rockridge, which is scheduled to be complete by the end of this year.