ROC Kitchen - Soup Dumplings Come to 3rd Street

Was in the neighborhood, so decided to try ROC Kitchen, which just opened in a mini-mall on 3rd Street, near La Cienega. Apparently there is also one on Sawtelle.

Somehow the soup dumpling craze had eluded me – these were my very first soup dumplings ever. So I have absolutely no point of reference. I can say that I found the fish dumplings tasty and I was quite fascinated by the concept of poking your dumpling and slurping out the soup and then eating the dumpling.

I was by myself, however, and I don’t advise soup dumplings for solo diners. You get 8 dumplings and it is just too monotonous to have an entire meal of soup dumplings. 2 or 3 dumplings and then on to the main course would have been preferable. So I think you need a dining companion.

I was in the mood for dessert afterwards and they only have two desserts – dessert dumplings and steamed buns. I just couldn’t abide the thought of any more dumplings, so I ordered the red bean bun. Also a new experience for me and again I have nothing to compare it to. It kind of tasted like someone took squishy white Wonder bread, smeared some red bean paste on it and then steamed it.

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Yes, it’s better if the xiaolongbao are enjoyed with others in your group. I wasn’t aware this location had opened. Thanks fro reporting back.

Me either.

But I have polished off two orders on my very own and craved even more.

And that ain’t no fucking joke.

glad you enjoyed the experience. they are often consumed with a bit of shredded ginger & (black) vinegar, and yes, they’re most often ordered and shared, though shanghai restaurant in san gabriel does offer a $5 XLB lunch special.

i am curious about the quality of the wrapping, they’re often overly thick to minimize/eliminate leakage and to compensate for lack of skill at crafting them. that can contribute to the monotony by massive carb overload. but i can polish off an entire order when the construction allows for an exterior that is quite thin but still leakproof. it should be about the soup (which should be quite hot and relatively rich) and not the container. anytime i see an XLB in a mini foil pan (to trap the liquid leaking out of it) i wince. there are a lot of somewhat tasty but poorly executed XLB out there, even in the SGV,

As I said, these were my very first soup dumpling so I have no point of reference, but yes they did seem kind of thick and eating 8 of them by myself, I did feel massive carb overload. The Wonder Bread like dessert bun added to the feeling of I’m going to die from eating so many carbs.

I think unless maybe you are carb loading for a marathon, you can’t do 8 dumplings by yourself and no matter how much I wanted dessert, I should have skipped that bun.

Everyone says din tai dung are the standard bearer for XLB and maybe so, but I enjoyed the food and the experience more at mama lu’s

Noodles 101 express has some XLB on the menu but if you’re going there do not skip the hand torn Dan Dan mian

i think you mean din tai fung, but i was amused.

and while we’re at it, IIRC it’s mama’s lu though most folks call it mama lu’s just like they call omar “omar’s”.


M’s L makes pretty good XLB. i prefer the pork only vs. the crab/pork. their scallion pancake is also among the best & cheapest in the SGV. i wouldn’t go near the cantonese portion of the menu though.

P P Pop makes a tasty & soupy XLB, but the skins are a bit thicker than the ones at, say, shanghai dumpling house, which are my current favorites. but it’s hard to find better XLB’s for only $4.75 at PP Pop. get an order of those, the beef noodle soup and an order of the popcorn chicken and be out the door for less than $20,

there are three places in prospect plaza right next door to each other that offer XLB. some folks like the one’s at J&J, but they’re just OK to me.

a chacun son gout.

oh yeah, 101 noodle express - they’re probably best known for the beef roll which used to be the standard, but they’ve slipped and newer places have some good renditions out there. IIRC the 101 noodle express in alhambra was closed temporarily earlier this year due to health violations.

Who says this? Certainly not me…

I’ve been to the Alhambra 101 Noodles since they reopened, and the beef rolls were beefier than they were prior to the closure. Maybe they’re being less stingy to make up for the closure, maybe not, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much filling was in my beef roll.

more meat is usually a good thing, especially if it’s mainly about being a carnivore. but i used to really like the rendition by flavor garden across the street (in the mall that includes lee’s sandwiches) when they first opened; it wasn’t particularly beefy, but for me it’s more about the the balance/ratio of both textures and flavors;crispy and not oily pancake with meat/sauce playing its own tune with the cilantro conducting. unfortunately the quality fell a bit as flavor garden got more business.

a few places add cucumber and when done correctly, it works, but some places are less meticulous and the cucumber makes things soggy.

the last beef roll i had made by 101 NE was from the arcadia location over a year ago. it was pretty good, just not the best by leaps and bounds anymore.

Laowai, and his closest BFF.


And another +1 just because.



Is it because I put soy sauce on my white rice?

And use a single chopstick to spear at tofu cubes?

Which is who I usually recommend the place to… Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good. I just don’t think it’s AMAZING.

Let us stop the DTF shaming, cuz the DTFs in Asia ain’t got no laowais, just a sea of black hair.

It is what it is.

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The Arcadia ones and the South Coast one are also at least 75% Asian currently.

I get that Ipse wants to promote the smaller mom and pop places that do XLB but DTF is obviously internationally successful and the success rests mostly on Asian clientele.

My only problem with DTF is they’re way more expensive than any of the mom & pop places.

Then again, I’m judging mostly by the one at the Americana. It would not surprise me to learn that that particular location has higher prices than others.

The dumplings themselves there are VERY good. I was less impressed by the non XLB items. The noodles in particular seemed pretty meh.

Oh, I completely agree that the balance is what’s most important; however, I was referring more to 101’s “downhill slide” where they were getting pretty stingy with the beef. I once had a beef roll where the end pieces were nearly devoid of filling, just rolled-up pancake, but my most recent order from there was nice and beefy, the way the rolls were a couple years ago.

i can start using a lot more musical analogies when it comes to food if you really want