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Jan 20, 2007 04:11 AM

Crab soup dumplings (Xiao long bao) in Bay Area?

Hi, has anyone eaten the crab soup dumpling (xiao long bao) at Joe's Shanghai in NY's Chinatown? As far as I'm concerned, those are the best, even better than the ones I tasted in Shanghai and I know a lot of finicky Shanghai old-timers who think the same. Sadly, it was even better a few years ago, before they changed their crab. (The rest of their food is terrible, don't bother.)

Is there anything in SF or the Bay Area that comes close? I was not impressed by HC Dumplings in Cupertino village (though many have posted positively about them). Thanks.

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  1. This finicky oldster wouldn't agree, unless Joe's has come up with a pipeline to Dazha (hairy) crab. And Joe's pork soup dumplings are simply wretched implementations of xiaolong bao, if that's what they are trying to be.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup

      I just noticed your favorite comfort food in your profile. What are the good places for Shengjian bao? I'm on the penisula, but will travel for good food.

      1. re: eellover

        I've frankly not found any in SF or anywhere in the US that were as satisfying as those on the streets of Shanghai; I think it's a result of wimping out on the drizzle-down-the-chin grease factor. However, you might be in luck, because the most promising reports I have seen have been about the SJB at a place called Shanghai Flavour Shop in Sunnyvale.

      2. re: Gary Soup


        Wretched is a spot-on description - they give XLB a bad name!

      3. A Cantonese friend of mine introduced me to them at Joe's.

        Apparently out here, Joe's style is called "New York Shanghai XLB" or "New York style Shanghai soup dumpling". The short answer is, "no, you can't find them here."

        There are as tasty ones at a number of restaurants all over the bay area, but never that much soup, and thickness varies greatly. My current vote is for Shanghai House on Balboa, very tasty, but rather stingy soupwise. Not sure if they make them with crab.

        1. Shanghai East in San Mateo serves these as well (xlb, not new york style)