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Jun 17, 2008 12:50 AM

What ELSE to get at Mei Long Village?

I'll be directing my chow group over to Mei Long Village sometime this month to introduce them to XLB. But since we're driving from the SFV, it would be nice to order something else to round out the meal. Unfortunately, this group has adventurous stomachs but sometimes has xenophobic eyes -- if I can tell them that something is great, then they'll order and enjoy it, otherwise they'll pick something "safe". So, what else is fantastic at MLV?

Or, if MLV is a one-trick pony, then where else should we head for world-class XLB plus a few other excellent dishes that we can't get outside the SGV? (Preferably not too much farther away...)

Finally, one of our number doesn't eat red meat, and can't handle more than a little bit of onion. So bonus points if a couple of these dishes conform to his tastes. (Yeah, I know, tall order.)

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  1. MLV has many, many tricks up its sleeves. XLB just happens to be their greatest hit on the Chowhound hit parade.

    Their lions' head meatballs (pork) are excellent. Pork is technically a white meat, yes? The fried sweet&sour fish ("squirrel-style", don't worry... no real squirrels involved in preparation) is very very good.

    Noodles are excellent too.

    6 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      I second the Lion's Head Meatballs. This is a must get dish at Mei Long Village!

      1. re: eileen216

        Jade shrimp. Wuxi spareribs. Candied eel. Vegetarian goose. Pork pump. Braised fish tail. Jellyfish head!

        1. re: condiment

          Ditto the recs from condiment, and to add a few others:

          Nian gao with shredded pork
          Scallion pancakes
          Mustard greens with tofu skins

          I'm also a sucker for their corn chowder soup but then your results may vary ...

          1. re: ipsedixit

            when i went to MLV late last year, they did not serve scallion pancakes (cho yiou bing). did they add it to the menu recently?

            1. re: wilafur

              They had it last time I was there, but I must admit it's been a while since my last visit (prob. over 7 or 8 months)

      2. re: J.L.


        MLV is one of the best retaurants in the city, hard to wrong.

        They also do a special ordered brined pork pump that is less fatty than the regular, meltingly deliciousness of pure pork.

        I'll second, third or fourth the following:
        shanghai rice cakes
        jade shrimp
        braised fish tails
        lion's head meatballs
        tofu skin with preserved vegetables

        STAY AWAY FROM THE TEA SMOKED DUCK (dry, overly salty)

      3. Go with the pork pump -- the meat falls off the bone and is as succulent as any pork I've ever eaten.

        I second (third?) the lion's head meatballs.

        My wife loves their wonton soup.

        2 Replies
        1. re: glutton

          I second the pork pump, it is a HUGE portion of delicious tender meat, and the sauce is delicious.

          If you like soup, I highly recommend the spicy beef noddle soup. The broth flavor is amazing. I need to head over there soon!

          1. re: CarlieInLA

            Mmmmmm, beef noddle.

            Absolutely, the pork pump is a must.... it seems expensive in (about $15), but it serves 4-6 people.

            We also really enjoy the pan fried rice cakes.... they are tiny, flat oval discs of glutenous rice dough, pan fried with a lovely brown sauce and veggies.... a great contrast of flavors and textures.

            Mr Taster

        2. I remember something like shredded pork with dried bean curd sheets that was very good and not at all intimidating - the dried bean curd sheets resemble noodles, paired with mild stir-fried pork.

          1. What is XLB? All the dishes you are talking about sound wonderful!!!

            10 Replies
            1. re: JEN10

              Hey Jen,

              XLB are short for "Xiao Long Bao" (literally Little Dragon Dumplings), known as also as "Soup Dumplings." They are the size of normal dumplings but round in shape, and contain a burst of unctuous Pork Broth in each one (in addition to the marinated Ground Pork and other seasonings). A specialty of Shanghai and the surrounding region.

              There've been extensive arguments on CH and in general about who makes the best XLB, with one camp pushing for the more rustic like Mei Long, and the other camp liking the thinness of Din Tai Fung.

              1. re: exilekiss

                The duck braised in brown sauce (sorry, I don't remember the proper name) was fantastic, as were the pork pump and lion's head meatballs.


                1. re: exilekiss

                  I am learning so much about Asian style food here on the CH site. Thanks for the info Exile!!!

                  1. re: JEN10

                    More specifically, Mei Long Village serves Shanghai style food. Stick with us Chowhounds long enough and instead of lumping "Asian" food into one category, you'll be eating Issan Thai, Khmer, Hyderabad, Hakata tonkatsu ramen and Hue imperial Vietnamese food with the rest of us!

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      Mr T.
                      I just tried Vietnamese food this last week for the first time. I also had my first bit of Korean a couple weeks ago, oh YUMMMM. I am trying to hook up with a local chower and hit up some local places that were recommended. I LOVE this board, it is addicting.

                      1. re: JEN10

                        You sound like me 7 years ago :)

                        There are so many treasures to be found in LA. Go where the great food is, where the ethnic communities live, and you will be rewarded. If you expect them to come to you, more often than not you will get mediocre to bad results. Woo Lao Oak in Beverly Hills is a great example of a great cuisine dumbed down for people too intimidated to seek out the great stuff in Koreatown.

                        In fact it was this board (and Jonathan Gold's "Counter Intelligence" book and column in LA Weekly) which inspired a 7 month chow tour of southeast Asia, China and Korea with my then-girlfriend-now-wife. I wasn't a new agey LA Asia-phile or anything... I just love good food, and so does she... it was a match made in heaven :


                        (lots of great food pics on the blog.... still haven't finished posting all the pics from 2 years ago...)
                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          7 years!!!?!?!? has it been that long? yikes!

                          I always liked the wuxi spareribs and pork pump as well [though I seem to recall the pork needs to be ordered in advance]. And whether they came from Din Tai or Mei Long, I never got the fuss over the XLB--theys dumplings and thats good but there is sooooo much more to Chinese and Shanghai cooking than those darned dumplings......

                  2. re: exilekiss

                    Actually, it is Not Little Dragon Dumplings (小龍包) . I made the mistake as reading it that way initially for a long time as well. The problem is compounded in that I have seen a restaurant or two incorrectly use the dragon character.

                    The actualy character(籠) in the dish is also pronounced the exact same way, long (with a rising intonation), but there is a subtle additional radical (zhu -- (竹) bamboo) on the top of the dragon phonetic. This new character﹐ 籠﹐ has the meaning of cage or basket, and it references the container the baos are steamed and served in. Traditionally, and you will see this in China, the steamer is made of bamboo, and the bamboo bars on the bottom to let the steam through make it look like an inverted bamboo bird cage. In the US, due to health regulationis, the baos are steamed in metal containers that basically look the same as their bamboo counterparts. I personally find there is a slight difference in the taste between the xlb prepared in bamboo vs metal, but it is subtle.

                    Now, I am not a huge fan of the XLB here. They were unevenly cooked and I felt they were too big with skins too thick. Only 2 of the baos had juice in them, but when they did, it had a very nice flavor. I believe, that XLB are good here, I just got a bad batch. I will return one day, but its hard to get my group to return to a place since there are so many restaurants in the SGV.

                    Exilekiss, I hope you don't feel this was somehow an attack. It is not, I just wanted to add to the discussion about the naming of the dish. I found out the hardway and in a somewhat embarrasing situation. :-)

                    Plus I hope the characters show up correctly on peoples computers, never entered them to a message forum before.

                    1. re: exilekiss

                      Actually, Xiao Long Bao means little caged dumplings. The cages refer to the bamboo steamer...

                      The Long character (龍) is not the right one, but 籠 is indeed the right one...

                      1. re: J.L.

                        Hi J.L., zruilong,

                        D'oh! Thanks for the clarification (^_^;; my Kanji skillz have failed me! (O_o)

                  3. xlb, check!
                    lion head meatballs, check!
                    jade shrimp, check!

                    we also love the two kinds of spare ribs on the menu, I think wuxi and shanghai?? (I never remember which is which). One is sweet, sticky, and addictive little nubs of spareribs, the other is long braised in soy sauce --both delish!

                    They have an extensive menu, but we rarely veer away from these dishes, they are that good!

                    Don't forget to get a $15 foot massage a few doors over, while you're there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: debra

                      The sweet sticky (and delicious) one is the Shanghai style. Just anecdotally, most of the time I am at MLV every single table has a plate of the Shanghai style spare ribs. Every other dish mentioned here is good though. They do a particularly great version of the sauteed green beans with minced pork and the fish filets with spicy bean sauce are good too.