Water Dumpling Quest
I also don’t usually order the dumplings at restaurants. Of the onese I’ve tried, my favorite is the Cafe Yulong’s version. The skin is good, but the filling is very good – has the right density and ratio of meat to veggie. I like both the fish and shrimp varieties.
Have you also tried San Tung? They should have a decent version also.
The dish in your picture is normally called Hong Yo Chao Sho (Red Oil Sichuan Wontons). It’s normally made with Sichuan style wontons and not Shandong style dumplings (which the above looks like). But I don’t doubt those dumplings are excellent as the shape and size look very “accurate”.
And I agree with you regarding those at Shan Dong in Oakland – not much to write home about.