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Jul 23, 2008 08:57 AM

Wuxi-style XLB?

So I'm spending a few days engineering in scenic Wuxi, about 100 miles north-west of Shanghai. I had some great dumplings on my way through Shangahai (Wuxi airport is closed for the olympics), but wuxi style XLB are something else.

Think of Wuxi spare ribs - hugely sweet slow cooked ribs, just nearly falling off the bone - and translate that sauce into the soup of a standard XLB. Yum city (although lacking in the ginger balance of standard XLB)

So --- will I be able to get that taste back by the bay, or do I have to angle for another Wuxi trip?

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  1. Sorry don't know of a place. I am interested to find out more. Are you saying Wuxi XLB are sweet and "rustic" (for lack of a better word)? I'm not quite getting the parallel with the ribs.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      I was hoping for description-by-association. If you have the taste of wuxi style ribs in your mind, and take that taste and put it in the soup part of XLB, that's about what a wuxi style XLB tastes like.

      If you don't have that taste in your memory, I'd say it's a savory/sweet molass-y blend of tastes, not entirely unlike a Kansas City rib coating in base taste, with a lot more sweet and no heat/kick to speak of

      On the same note - apparently in Shanghai they also make a potsticker-style soup dumpling, cooked in hot oil. Thicker skin, like a regular potsticker, but with soup.

      Here's a food blog with pictures of the guys at the bottom:
      Any hope of those?
      the place I went to was on a little food alley and called Yong's or something. 4 dumplings, 4 RMB. Yum.

      1. re: bbulkow

        I've heard of the fried XLB in the Bay Area, I think I may have read it on CH. Too many XLB threads however.

        Okay, found it: K_K mentioned fried ones in this post:

        >Methinks artfuldestruct may have better luck trying the fried version
        >instead, Shen Jian Bao, at Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale that holds
        >way more soup and is bigger than the average XLB in SF Bay Area.

        1. re: ML8000

          Sheng jian bao are not really fried xiaolong bao. The wrapper is made differently, the "soup" is more fat than aspic, and they are at least 50 percent larger than XLB.

          They're good though, as Utah Phillips would say.

        2. re: bbulkow

          As ML800 noted, what you are thinking or are sheng jian bao, and the place you are thinking of is my namesake's, Xiao Yang's on Wujiang Lu. I've had them recently at three places locally, (left to right) Shanghai Dumpling King, Shanghai Restaurant (Oakland) and Sunny Shanghai (San Bruno). Shanghai Restaurant had the prettiest ones, but Shanghai Dumpling King's were the best of the three.

          Shanghai Restaurant
          930 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

          Shanghai Dumpling King
          3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

          Sunny Shanghai
          189 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066

        3. re: ML8000

          They are sweeter and a bit larger than the Shanghai style XLB

        4. I had these once in Wuxi and the soup filling is different, even odd in comparison to the familiar Shanghai-style XLB. It's noticably sweet and dark from soy sauce. I'm trying to remember if it had any notes of anise or tangerine peel. Your comparison to Wuxi ribs is apt.

          Haven't seen it here at all and I'd think that a restauranteur would be wary of putting it on a menu because most people would find it so unfamiliar.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. LOL. Wuxi is my home town and I grew up on XLB and won ton soups. How jealous of you! Have some wontons for me - the best and not to be found overseas!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Maple

                My wife is a Wuxiren (via Shanghai) and I've had Wuxi XLB in Wuxi, but frankly I find them too much on the sweet side.

              2. I'd hoped to stop at Mei Long Village (San Gabriel) while in the southland this weekend, but it didn't work out. They serve XLB and also have Wuxi ribs on their menu. Might give them a call, if you're willing to travel down to LA.