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Xiaolongbao aka Soup Dumplings in Calgary

I'm going to be in Calgary over the Christmas holidays and i'm looking for a restaurant that serves Xiaolongbao aka soup dumplings. These are not dumplings in soup but rather dumplings that contain soup inside. Check out the wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaolongbao

I'm really hoping i can find some because Montreal is severely lacking in them. I tried the only ones available today and they didn't contain any soupy goodness. I know Calgary has a much bigger Chinatown than Montreal so i'm sure they gotta be somewhere.

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  1. I've had them at Peking Garden (#416, 4625 Varsity Dr. NW) for weekend brunch, but not sure if they're available at dinnertime. It's not in Chinatown though.
    http://ugonnaeatthat.com/2006/11/15/c...

    1 Reply
    1. re: alau2

      I'm willing to travel anywhere in the city for them. Actually i'm somewhat familiar with that area since i lived near Banff Trail before. I'll make sure to call ahead to confirm that they're available before i go. Thanks.

    2. The best I've had in Calgary were at Forbidden City in the NE (Pacific Place).... but even those leave a LOT to be desired compared to the ones I had in Shanghai.
      The ones at Peking Garden are alright too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Strider

        I've been to Forbidden City many times for the dim sum. Unfortunately that was before i knew about xlb.

      2. OR.....When you get back to Montreal, you could make the 6 hr drive to Toronto and get xiaolongbao =D I know, I know.... not helpful...but I love those soup dumplings as well! Being in Victoria now, I'm really missing yummy asian food ....

        9 Replies
        1. re: sumashi

          I was actually in Toronto this summer and i went to a Chinese restaurant that was recommended for xlb in chowhound and it turned out that they didn't have any. It was very disappointing (the lack of xlb not the actual restaurant). I can't remember the name of the place though.

          1. re: blond_america

            Really? Hmm... the first place that pops to mind for me when I want xlb would be Ding Tai Fung. It's at First Markham Place, so not readily accessible by TTC. At the back of the store, you can see them making the dumpings through the huge glass windows.
            They have good pork soup dumplings that you can order either as six large dumplings or twelve small dumplings. Their pan-fried dumplings are also good and usually filled with soup as well.

            1. re: sumashi

              How about giving us some suggestions for Calgary, sumashi?

              1. re: John Manzo

                Sorry John, I hopped into this thread with no clue about Calgary. I've only been to Calgary twice and nothing CH-worthy to mention. I was just feeling wistful for some xlb since coming to Victoria and being originally from Toronto. Victoria is sorely lacking in good Asian food, I'm sure there is much more selection in Calgary though!

                1. re: sumashi

                  OK, sorry for the misunderstanding!

                  If you do want chow recos for Cgy be sure to check back ;)

                  1. re: sumashi

                    If you are ever headed to Vancouver post back prior to coming over (or do a search here) for some recs.

                    1. re: fmed

                      I actually will be in Vancouver next weekend so am scouring Chowhound for recs. Since I'm craving good Korean food, I'm thinking Insadong, based on that well-done review you wrote not too long ago! I'm also looking for a ramen place, but not sure between Kintaro and Benkei. But now I'm hijacking this post so I'll stop here!

                      To blond_america, many of the best Chinese restaurants are found in the suburbs because of the population distribution in Toronto so hopefully next time you'll have a friend who can drive you north of the city for some really great finds :)

                      1. re: sumashi

                        >>I actually will be in Vancouver next weekend so am scouring Chowhound for recs.

                        Start a new thread and we'd be more than happy to assist.

                2. re: sumashi

                  The place i went to was in Chinatown. Most of the suggestions on the board were out of the way or even in the suburbs and we were without a car. But i'll keep your suggestion in mind next time i'm there.

            2. There was a thread from earlier in the year;
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/545630
              As already mentioned, Peking Garden and Forbidden City rated highly.
              Also mentioned were Happy Hill and Regency Palace

              2 Replies
              1. re: cancowboy

                I've had xlb at Happy Hill Restaurant. They make it fresh and deliver it to your table, piping hot. In fact, all of their dim sum is like that.

                There's also xlb in Snow Palace in Crowfoot. Give it a try!

                1. re: makan2

                  Forbidden City I think makes the best XLB in Calgary.
                  I can't rank it in there with the ranks of Vancouver . .. but in terms of the juice, thickness of the skin and the meat inside. I think Forbidden City is the one to go to

              2. I guess the only decent ones are Forbidden City as people have suggested... However, having tried them the first time in Queens, NY (of all places I know, but it was amazing), and the Toronto ones, nothing in Calgary comes close. The biggest problem usually is the skin/wall is waaaaaaaaaaaay too thick and there's no soup at all in them...

                2 Replies
                1. re: MeXx

                  I agree, the wrapper is the main problem in most commercial dumplings, even frozen ones. Finding ones full of soup isn't as difficult if you are willing to dine in rush hour. The soup gets absorbed by the wrapper or seeps out the bottom if they aren't served promptly. Seew long bao is the Cantonese name.

                  1. re: MeXx

                    Queens is a fantastically multicultural borough so this doesn't surprise me at all.

                  2. Just had some xlb at the new Tai Pan Restaurant (where old Tropika was). It's not bad and piping hot and comes with red vinegar without having to ask the waitress to bring the sauce.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: makan2

                      Went by yesterday, to the disappointment that Tai Pan is just another chinese restaurant... I was expecting a full out dumpling or shanghai or northern china style restaurant... I didn't stay as the line was busy, but good on them to have a lot of business during a snowy day... Maybe I'll go for the peking duck next time, as it seems like a good deal...

                      Hehe, only 2 more weeks or so and I can have my dumplings back home :)

                    2. Wow thanks everybody for all the great tips. I'll report back after Christmas and let you know how it went.

                      1. So i ended up going to Forbidden City twice this week. Last Sunday i went at night and they didn't have any XLB available. They informed me that they only had them during dim sum.

                        This afternoon i went again for the dim sum. I ordered four XLB as well as some other treats. The XLB were plump and completely full of broth. These were definitely the best XLB i've ever had but that's not saying much since the only other ones i had in Montreal all broke before i tasted them. The menu lists them as "steamed crab meat and pork dumplings". I would have never figured out they were XLB if i didn't ask a waiter.

                        Thanks for all the great suggestions and i hope to visit some of the other places next time i'm in Calgary.

                        1 Reply
                        1. I have stumbled on what I would probably call the best, closest to authenticity XLB you can get in Calgary. The wrap is thin, almost transparent, soup gushes out (filled the spoon completely) Only downside is the wrap might be too thin that it rips very easily (the trick of course is thin, but strong), and the meat inside wasn't good. Of all places, it's at Ginger Beef in Brentwood. Price: $4.95 for 5 dumplings. Beside it is Captain Fish and Chips (I think that might be the same F&C place that I've been reading/looking for in Brentwood Mall, correct me if I'm wrong?)

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: MeXx

                            I didn't know they had XLB at Ginger Beef! I only ever order honey ginger shrimp and yang chow fried rice so I never look ta the rest of the menu. Do you know if they have them all the time or limited to certain hours or weekends?

                            That's the same fish and chip place. He must have more customers because he was less into his paper and more chatty last time we were in.

                            1. re: sharonanne

                              I saw these dumplings on Kylie Quon's show on foodnetwork and instantly wanted to try them but couldn't remember the name. So thank you! And I never thought that they would be available in Calgary, so thanks again. I'm going to Forbiden City as soon as I can.

                              1. re: sharonanne

                                I believe it's anytime. It's not an outrageous price either. Oh dear, there's more to Chinese than Yang Chow fried rice, although it's one of my favourites/fallbacks as well :)

                                1. re: MeXx

                                  There's definitely more to Chinese than those 2 dishes, my husband is half Chinese. We just think of it as a different cuisine not necessarily related to Chinese food. That particular combination is my guilty pleasure.