XLB's (xiao long bao)

there is no XLB thread on local LA FTC board and so i decided to start this one, mainly because someone mentioned that “mama” had returned to dean sin world (DSW) and i went earlier this month to check it out.,

i would recommend DSW as being chow-worthy again - if you don’t mind getting cups that look like someone with a massive underbite used it first. but that’s actually part of the quaintness of a place that uses 20 oz. black vinegar bottles purchased directly from the supermarket directly on the table.

the XLB came out piping hot, with the leak minimized by using a soup spoon to facilitate transfer. ginger is available when you ask, and with a little practice, you could get just the right amount of vinegar out of the bottle to cut the fattiness of the soup broth. (think presbyterian/catholic baptism vs. total immersion.) to me, that’s part of the appeal of the no-frills approach.

the SJB were also pretty good

though the shui jian bao at tasty noodle house (same plaza as golden deli)

are now my current fave head and shoulders above the kang kang version

going back to XLB’s i still prefer the more delicate yet leakproof version at shanghai dumpling house;

to any XLB to be found at prospect plaza at J&J (probably the best of the 3),

meilong and

happy kitchen)

one plaza to the west.

honorable mention to P P Pop in MP for their less refined version being only $4.75 (up from $4) and being available until they close at 10 pm,

and being a better value than the $5 lunch special available at shanghai restaurant in focus plaza.

i had the version served by 101 noodle express earlier this month. ( i went there because i forgot that flavor garden is closed on wednesdays.)

while there were 12 instead of the 8 (they jacked up the price accordingly) they were just… underwhelming.

this reflects places i’ve visited in the last 12 months i think most folks would like an updated list, especially since a number of new shanghai places have hit the scene more recently.

i REALLY recommend trying the shui jian bao at tasty noodle house - lightly crispy on the bottom, light and fluffy bun and porky filling. and eat them while they’re still hot.


Thanks for the report!

The XLB at Shanghai Restaurant look truly horrific.

Thanks for the great XLB update.

How is the crab XLB at Shanghai Dumpling House? Some places do a great regular XLB but the crab version is terrible because they use inferior crab meat. My current favorite is the crab XLB at J&J.

Also how is the rest of the menu at Shanghai Dumpling House. Are the hot pots any good? Need some non carb options.

Kudos. Now THAT is some great FTCing on XLBs.

Thanks BarryC! :slight_smile: Good report and a good thread to start.


i forgot to post a pic of the spicy XLB

but IIRC we didn’t do the crab XLB mainly because we had a seafood allergy issue within the dining party.but yeah, we skip the crab XLB at mama’s lu (circa 2014)

and stick to the pork only for much the same reason.

the hotpots are good but fairly small

that’s probably the best way of describing the menu. quality reigns over quantity

pork chop over rice sticks fried until crispy on the bottom and chewy-gluey in the middle

i wish i could tell you what this was.

a shanghai style noodle dish

the beef roll was good, but small (only 4 pieces)

this noodle dish was made much more interesting as it included a bowl of soup for dipping that included nori. and for some reason i neglected to take a picture.

dumplings were nicely crispy on the bottom without being burned.

if you want more non-carb shanghai-ese options, you should IMO try old shanghai kitchen. the folks who originally opened wang jia and then sold it to returned to china re-emigrated from china and opened the place last year.

i can’t recall if the soup was complimentary

either the wuxi or shanghai ribs (we preferred the shanghai ribs)

fish in spicy sauce, lightly spiced because there was no need to mask any untoward taste or aroma because the fish was fresh.

again, either the wuxi or shanghai ribs

shrimp with bean curd. almost no seasoning to let the shrimp do the heavy lifting

tofu also delicately sauced

tea smoked duck

thanks. i’m sure there are others i didn’t get to. and DTF gets worked to death IMO.

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+1 for the XLB at Shanghai Dumpling House. Always amazed at how delicate the skin is, and how it holds up that much broth without exploding.


The pork and crab XXLB at long xing ji. #compensating

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i heard that they recently changed names. don’t know if it’s a legit ownership change or one of those tax motivated “one company dissolved - new company formed - unpaid tax problems go away” type things though., the point being same people vs new people in the kitchen.

before anyway, IIRC one of the few places that allowed you to differentiate the level of sweetness in the filling - a lot of shanghai-ese have an apparent sweet tooth.

I believe it’s the same people. I really liked the subtle sweetness and you can really taste the crab, unlike some places.

i always thought the big XLB was a gimmick. i mean, get one if you must to say you’ve had one (which i did, BTW), but paying $5+ for an XLB you’re not supposed to eat never made sense to me. i suppose i need to go back and try the sweet version even though IIRC @TonyC described the sweet version as capable of kicking a diabetic into blood sugar shock.

where’s Wang Xing Ji?

edit: oh right the name changed

The funniest part is that Clarissa Wei who pegged herself as a Chinese food expert wrote that you should carefully drink the soup before consuming the (leathery) exterior and (usually dried out) interior. And continued to do so even after being corrected.

I remember hearing somewhere it’s a sign of the newfound affluence/excess in China where you can discard food.

Then again, it depends on if you believe you should be eating the ingredients that make up the broth in Cantonese double boiled soups. Same concept of using certain ingredients just to make broth.

i understand the new chinese money from the mainland is buying up property in the ESGV and they take conspicuous consumption to a completely new level,

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Here’s my take on upscale Chinese dining in the ESGV from last year.

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Interesting take. My opinion is that the Alameda Corridor East project has something to do with it.

Interesting indeed–gratuitous class digs and all.

“mismatched designer clothing” i got a huge chuckle out of that.

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For those of us who grew up in the western part of the SGV, it doesn’t seem gratituous at all.

On-topic: looking forward to getting my XLB fix next weekend perhaps. Can’t say I’ve ever been particularly interested in trying the giant XLB…

my mother used to make me double boiled ginger beef soup when i was sick as a child. threw out the meat and the ginger. i tried recycling the beef once but it was ginger infused.