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XLB Tour with New to Towner + Asian Market?

  • c

I'm going to be taking a new to Southern California girl to the great SGV for some XLB! I usually go to Mei Long Village (standard order--one steamer of pork, one steamer of pork+crab, one order of cold-stirred cucumber).

I'll be picking her up at the South Pas gold line station, and driving the two of us to dumpling heaven. After lunch, I thought it would be fun to take her to an Asian market.

1. Does anyone have any recommendations for a grocery mart? I doubt we'll do any serious shopping, I just want to show her what this part of California looks like.
2. Regarding the grocery mart--is there a xlb place near said mart? I know I usually go to Mei Long Village, but I'm open! (I'm not sure of time of day, so I don't think Din Tai Fung is a good choice. I don't want to haul her cookies out there, only to be presented with the Sold Out! sign.)
3. Regarding XLB place--any other menu suggestions are heartily welcomed. I'm allergic to shellfish, so only one of us will be sampling that part of the menu.

Any and all geographic and food tips welcome! I'll report back!

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  1. I really like Mei Long Village too and just a block and a half east on Valley and Del Mar there is a 99 Ranch supermarket. Definitely within walking distance.

    Some other dishes I really enjoy are the Shanghai Noodles, Shanghai Rice Cakes (Nian gao), and Jade Shrimp. Here is a previous post on other dishes http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/529805

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    Mei Long Village
    301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

    1. You've got a XLB trifecta in the same plaza and next door to each other. To the right of Mei Long Village is Dragon Mark and J&J. Not sure if you'll be up to back-to-back-to-back XLB, but the possibility is there.

      DTF has their new side up and running, so as long as you get there early enough, XLBs will be available. Getting a seat isn't as bad as it used to be.

      As puppychao said, there's the 99 Ranch in Focus Plaza. Hawaii Supermarket is also close by on the corner of Del Mar and Valley. Further east will bring you to Superstore on the corner of San Gabriel and Del Mar. Westward is 168 Market on the corner of New Ave and Valley. Plenty of markets to choose from.

      -mpken

      1 Reply
      1. re: mpken

        Hawaii Supermarket possesses approximately 500 more awesomeness points than Ranch 99. It's a bit funkier, a bit rougher around the edges, but you find all manner of fantastic delicacies that is rare to find, even in the San Gabriel Valley. Fresh durian, for example. (as opposed to the much tamer frozen ones). 3x wow.

        Mr Taster

      2. Go to J&J (in the same mini-mall as Mei Long Village) for XLB, then to Mei Long Village for their "Lion's Head", then across the street to 99 Ranch Market at Focus Plaza. to walk off all that food. Make sure to check out the live seafood tanks at 99 Ranch Market. Skip Dragon Mark.

        Afterwards, you may want to consider taking her to Tea Station or Pa Pa Walk for some delicious Taiwanese brick toast and fruit-flavored teas. All within walking distance.

        1. At Mei Long Village, in addition to XLB, I would suggest the following:

          - braised pork butt (or shank)
          - stir fried rice cakes
          - dry salted pork spare ribs
          - bitter melon with conpoy
          - clay pots
          - stir fried sardines
          - water boiled fish

          As to the market, Mr Taster is right about Hawai'i Market, which is just east of Mei Long Village on the corner of Valley and Del Mar.

          13 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I'm going to dissent on the water-boiled fish at MLV (I didn't like it, and it's weird to see a Sichuan dish in an Eastern place). I would heavily agree with the Hawaii Market. 99 Ranch is fine but 168 is better and Hawaii is best.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              The water boiled fish go really well with the "ying-tsze jwiang" ...

              1. re: ipsedixit

                really?
                i like the silver thread rolls fine but find they get overpoweredby the heat of a sichuan dish.
                personal tastes i guess.
                again - prefer giang nan to meilong village although MLV is fine.
                even prefer lake spring garden to mlv.
                and i don't hate mlv.

                1. re: Jerome

                  Why always trying to compare Giang Nan to MLV and other places?

                  The OP asked for recs for MLV and that's what was provided.

                  No one here was saying MLV was better (or worse) than Giang Nan.

                  Just trying to respond to the OP ...

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    no need to get personal
                    OP writes that OP usually goes to MLV. OP doesn't ask for specific MLV poitners - in fact writes
                    "Any and all geographic and food tips welcome! I'll report back!"
                    so thse are any and all from me. It' snot a contest. A person can love all of these places or none. Thse are my tips - sorry they're not the same as yours. I don't own shares in giang-nan.
                    Also, OP mentions Din Tai fung, so there' a discussion going about different places
                    I certainly wasn't criticizing your post. My exp with yin-si rolls is just different than yours, no better or woirse or more critical than if someone said they love mustard with a charcuterie plate and my saying i thought mustard overpowered it. If you or anyone filt this comment was an attack, I heartily apologize. and i would add that's it's ok to voice differing opinons when the OP asks for any and all etc.
                    happy days to everyone.

                    1. re: Jerome

                      Didn't take it as an attack, at all. And no need to apologize.

                      But I just found it a bit misplaced to recommend Giang Nan in light of the OP.

                      And, really, I could care less about the yin-si rolls. As you said before, every person's taste differs. Such is life.

                      (By the way, I know another poster on another thread mentioned that Giang Nan outsources their XLB from Dean Sin World. I find that a bit hard to believe unless there is some sort of ownership association between the two places. It just doesn't make economic sense to buy and then resell XLB when margins are thin to begin with. Plus, it doesn't take a master chef to make XLB, any back of the house kitchen cook can do it. Do you know if this is true ... whether Giang Nan outsources their XLB? And if it is, why???)

                      Cheers.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        And I think Dean Sin World's XLBs are damn good. Economics aside, any restaurant would be proud to feature DSW's XLB, including Din Tai Fung [J.L. ducks as the masses hurl rotten vegetables his way for blasphemy]...

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          According to Tony C. and at least one other food blogger, DSW indeed provides XLB's to many a restaurant and Giang Nan was among those named. So cut out the "middle man" so to speak and stop by and see Mrs. Lu at Dean Sin World. I concur with J.L. here, their XLB are mighty tasty.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            i have no idea. i find it odd as well, to outsource such a basic food.

                            1. re: Jerome

                              As someone who's actually tried to make good XLB at home (note the word 'tried'), it takes a special person to wrap these things just right.

                              1. re: J.L.

                                No, not a special person. Just practice and repitition.

                                I'll bet an autistic person would be awesome at making XLB or dumplings.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  ....five minutes to dumplings.

                                  Mr Taster

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  They do an amazing Fish head Casserole as wll.

                3. Thanks for all the feedback! I hope to go in the next week or two!

                  1. We braved the rains last Saturday, and drove out to Mei Long Village. The lunch was lovely, the conversation, a little stilted...

                    On the way to lunch, she told me she was about to start a raw, vegan diet. (Hmmm...)

                    I pushed forward, dumplings were ordered and consumed, we had a lovely time. The staff is always nice there. I know some places in the SGV get knocks for their service, my friend and I sat and caught up with each other's lives for two hours, and never got the bum's rush. (I reflected our lengthy stay in a large tip.)

                    However! Because of our long chat, she wasn't up for a market visit. Thanks for the tips--next time I'm getting dumplings, I'm going to check out the Hawaii Market, to satisfy my own curiosities.

                    -----
                    Mei Long Village
                    301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                    2 Replies
                      1. My husband and I went to J&J on Christmas Day. We had a lovely meal, sat at a shared table, got to stare at delicious items we did not order, and can't wait to go back!

                        We got
                        Scallion pancakes
                        Pork xlb
                        Pan fried dumplings (uh, also pork.)

                        Thanks again for everyone's input!

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                        Jin Jiang Restaurant
                        109 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776