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Are there Decent Soup Dumplings (XLB) in Denver/Boulder?

Hi Hounds,

I've tried doing some research and my only findings are Chopsticks in greenwood village, and Lao Wang Noodle House on federal...

I'll be checking out LWN tonight but I'm hoping there is more to try out besides these two. Has anyone had it at LWN or Chopsticks? if so should I be prepared for disappointment or are they worth the drive from Boulder...Thanks!!!

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  1. Star Kitchen in Denver - Mississippi and Federal

    6 Replies
    1. re: apmcmoon

      Thanks, i will have to try it out there. i had the XLB at Lao Wang and wasn't really impressed. the skin was on the thicker side and the amount of soup inside seemed to be lacking. ill be going back for other treats tho!!

      1. re: liveloveat34

        Hmm—mine definitely had enough soup. And they weren't too thick; though not the thinnest I've ever had, they were hardly doughy. Were yours?

        Still, I was even more enamored of the potstickers.

        1. re: tatamagouche

          not doughy, but on the thicker side...overall they were fne but for almost a dollar each i wasn't that impressed....

          1. re: liveloveat34

            Fair enough. For me they were just right—that fleeting aroma of star anise, that burst of soup—but I can see where a little more juice would go a long way.

            Be cool to do an XLB crawl down Federal sometime and compare—Lao Wang, Lee's Garden, Star Kitchen...

            1. re: tatamagouche

              i would be up for a XLB crawl anytime! only if we could get the potstickers at Lao as well! ;-)

    2. Try Lee's Garden at Mississippi and Federal, which is actually owned by the brother of the guy who runs Chopsticks. I've been to both several times and prefer the XLB from Lee's Garden.

      2 Replies
      1. re: gastronaughty

        I didn't know they did XLB! Cool, I"ve been meaning to get there.

        1. re: gastronaughty

          awesome- thanks for the rec!! what other dishes do they do well?

        2. We have not found any decent Shanghainese food in Denver, period.

          Lao Wang Noodle House, for example, is Taiwanese. That is a big clue that they would not know how to make authentic XLB.

          Chopsticks had a sign on the outside of their old location indicating they served Shanghinese food, but they too turned out to be Taiwanese. We have not been and have no plans to go to the new location.

          This is not to say that you have to be from Shanghai to make decent XLB; however, we would not get our hopes up for any non-Shanghainese place that attempts them.

          9 Replies
          1. re: eade

            right, i guess i'm just trying to find the best version that denver has to offer...

            1. re: eade

              Well, that's a little strong, don't you think? I asked some questions about that very thing (how come this Taiwanese place is cooking so much Shanghainese) on another thread that yielded some interesting responses: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691579

              1. re: tatamagouche

                That is an interesting thread. However, I still do not think it is unreasonable to hope that in a city of Denver's population, there would be one chef who really knows how to do Shanghainese cuisine.

                It is true about the Taiwan diaspora and all, but the XLB and other Shanghai dishes often end up being like Taiwanese-Shanghainese fusion food when cooked by Taiwanese. Lao Wang and Chopsticks are two examples. The Shanghai dishes they cook are not pure Shanghai; they have their region's influence on it.

                Especially since Denver has an authentic Sichuan restaurant, I don't think it is unreasonable to hope that someplace could do real Shanghai food.

                Fwiw, the chef at the authentic Sichuan place (China Jade) is not from Sichuan (he is from Tianjin), but he learned how to cook authentic Sichuan food so well it could fool a Sichuan native. It is not unreasonable to hope that someone could similarly cook authentic Shanghainese cuisine in Denver. Maybe someday soon~

                1. re: eade

                  So I'm a little confused...on the one hand you say there's no decent, strictly (as opposed to fusiony) Shanghainese food here, on the other you say China Jade in authentic. Can't tell if you like China Jade or not?

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    Sorry, to clarify --

                    1. There is NO authentic Shanghainese in Denver. (At least we have not found any; any leads are welcome.)

                    2. There IS authentic Sichuan in Denver. (China Jade)

                    We love China Jade. Perhaps it has unfairly raised the standard for all Chinese in Denver -- if it weren't for China Jade I would not expect authentic anything in Denver -- except for Taiwanese, Cantonese and Fujianese. But there in a strip mall in Aurora is a truly authentic Sichuan place. As a result, now I maybe have gotten a bit picky and wonder, Denver can do real Sichuan, why can it not do authentic Shanghai?

                    1. re: eade

                      Oh, sorry. that was me spacing out. Gotcha. I've heard CJ is wonderful. Got to get there soon.

                      1. re: eade

                        Just got back from China Jade. Thought their wontons weren't nearly as good as Lao Wang's, and the crispy duck was a little flabby. However, the eggplant in garlic sauce—wow. Terrific.

                        Also, pork shoulder went by that looked great.

                        What are some of your fave dishes?

                        China Jade
                        12203 E Iliff Ave Ste D, Aurora, CO 80014

                        1. re: tatamagouche

                          Stick to the Sichuan and Tianjin dishes.

                          For example, I order the mapodoufu (spicy tofu) before they even bring the menus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapo_doufu (It has pork in it; you can ask for vegetarian if you prefer.)

                          1. re: eade

                            That *was* one of the dishes we ordered—addictive.

              2. Superstar Asian on alameda at Yuma. They don't serve it from the dim sum carts but I order it. Pretty juicy. Also good dimsum that can hold it's own against sf NYC or even hong kong

                1. ChoLon -- if you're still interested.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ClaireWalter

                    Yes, though Cholon's doing them sort of French-onion style, like TAG...

                    I never got around to mentioning that, though East Asia Garden didn't at last visit have XLB per se, they do make some really good, huge yet not unwieldy dumplings...

                    Asia Garden
                    3100 Harrison Ave Ste E9, Butte, MT 59701

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      i know this is old but to me the best xlb in denver is lao wang. great pot stickers too.

                      1. re: cookmyassoff

                        I love lao wang's XLB, potstickers, and dan dan noodles, but I wish they had more vegetables on the menu. Just dumplings, broth and noodles is a bit one-note for me - wish I could liven it up with some mapo dofu or eggplant or something.

                        1. re: monopod

                          well they have the spicy cabbage, the szechwan cucumbers and the seaweed, but yea, they could use some more veggies. like maybe some chinese broccoli in oysters sauce or some sort of veg stir fry. im actually heading over there right now. the son is making h is own beer now so im gonna check that out, along with some potstickers and XLB. :)

                          1. re: cookmyassoff

                            Is the son with Caution Brewing Co.? I was there a couple of weeks ago and they have Lao Wang Lager (I think) by Caution on tap. It was rice-based, I think; light-bodied lager, good with spicy food. I enjoyed it.

                            1. re: monopod

                              ya that son is doing his own brew for caution. they are only selling it at lao wang so far, dont know if they will be bottling it. it went quite well with my potstickers and cold sesame noodles.

                  2. I'm a new to Denver hound still looking as well. Agree about general consensus here about LWN. I ordered them at JJ's Chinese off Alameda and they though the filling was good the skin was far too thick and gummy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: maiweezy

                      Thanks for reviving this. I'm also new to Denver and will be on the hunt for XLB and other great chow-worthy places in general. I'll still try LWN but glad to know what to expect.