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Sep 4, 2009 11:08 PM

Dean Sin World

Finally made it to this tiny place on Garfield. The owners couldn't be nicer, really made me feel welcome even though I had little idea what they were saying! The XLB were stupendous, but the real revelation for me was the fried dumplings. I've never had pot stickers that had such a crunchy fried side like these. They were amazing, very chewy and flavorful. I almost didn't care what was inside. I ate an order each of XLB and fried dumplings at $5 each. I could have eaten two more orders. Gotta get the rest of my friends down there.

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  1. I am so uncool I am sorry.....What is XLB?

    10 Replies
    1. re: SIMIHOUND

      Don't feel uncool. It wasn't clear to me either when I first saw the abbreviations a few months back. Turns out that I knew what they were, just didn't know they had this abbreviation.

      XLB = Xiao Long Bao = Soup Dumplings

      Here are some pictures from some website:

      1. re: DrBruin

        Oh thanks. I have had those as an appetizer. Maybe I would like them if they were in soup. Does anyone even eat them in soup? They seem very doughy to me. I like my dumpligs softer, more like kreplach. I have always wondered which came first. pierogi, bao? kreplach, or any one of the many dumplings in the various cultures. Here are photos of kreplach if anyone has never had them. Oh it must be time for Rosh Hashanna,

        1. re: SIMIHOUND

          I'd recommend trying Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. One of the most well-known XLB places it's famous for having amazingly thin delicate wrappers. Pricier than other XLB places and sometimes prone to long lines, but every XLB fan should try it at least once for comparison's sake, even if you end up preferring another restaurant.

          1. re: huaqiao

            I think "sometimes prone to long lines" is a bit of an understatement! I agree with everything else though.

            1. re: SIMIHOUND

              Marty: How does their XLB stack up with other spots around town?

              Simi: XLB doesn't come in soup and personally, i doubt they'd be very good as such; the skins are too thick and the dumplings overall are too big (in most cases) to fit comfortably in a soup spoon the same way a wonton would.

              The overall "dough-iness" changes depending on where you go. Personally, I like my XLB with a softer skin - just thick enough to not break when you try to pick one up. I would certainly recommend the "usual suspects": Mei Long Village, Din Tai Fong, and Luscious Dumpling if you want a sampling for what a fairly good XLB can be like.

              1. re: odub

                Thanks Marty and Chino. I don't like the XLB skins at all. The dougniness is undesireable to me. Now that I think of it I have had it at a few places.

                1. re: SIMIHOUND

                  Most well-made XLB will NOT have doughy skin. They're meant to be light and delicate though, without question, there are places that make them with thicker skin but those are usually a sign that XLB is not a specialty there.

                  From my experience, the average (good) XLB has a thinner skin than the average dumpling/potsticker since those usually have to stand up to the rigors of either boiling or frying whereas the steaming process of XLB is less violent.

                  This is a long way to say: you should try XLB at places that actually make them well. Mei Long Village being an easy starting point, or Din Tai Fong if you want to deal with the wait.

                  1. re: odub

                    Adding to the discussion: Not all XLB eaters desire thin-skinned bao.

                    Northern Chinese XLBs are supposed to have a doughier, thicker feel to them. The soup's the thing.

                2. re: odub

                  I think they are my current favorites. I like a chewier skin, and DSW seemed to be the perfect balance to me. Plus they really exploded with juice, as did the fried dumplings.