Dumpling Empire in south city
Found out about this new joint (open about ~3 months) after giving up waiting at the Tofu House in downtown South San Fran. The place has extensive options for dumplings. I personally think it's better than most dumpling joints in the city.
From the appetizer menu, the kitchen has pretty good idea what they're good at. Pork elbow, marinated beef, cilantro tofu/bean stick, tofu with green onion are all well seasoned. However, I wouldn't describe it as 'orgasmic' since the restaurant is restricted using the average supermarket grade products (e.g. tofu isn't silky, tofu/bean stick lacks the fresh flavor, etc). However, for the price you pay, it's definitely a steal!
Anyway, the place isn't famous for XLB, so for those of who that are looking for a good XLB experience, you're in the wrong place! The owners are from ShanDong province and they're known for their dumpling & noodle. Stick to these and you shall not disappoint :)
if they are shandong, definitely would try the .noodle and dumpling. noodle might even be hand pulled. at 6ish kind of pricey for dumplings compared to s.f. would skip xlb also.(not a shandong speiclalty, might even be premade).
haven't been there yet. other site rates it 4 stars
eaten there twice. lamb dumplings are the standout, but my coworkers were also very impressed with a pork dumpling that is 'soupy' inside (i.e. super juicy, you have to make sure they don't pierce when picking up with a chopstick). great vinegar side dip too. i also thought the vegi dumpings were good, though perhaps not the standout on the menu.
I was in the mood for wheat, so I didn't get the QQ noodles-- they are mung bean noodles according to the menu.
The tong ho with garlic sauce was very good as were the pork and celery boiled dumplings.
Beef pancake was a pool of oil.
I liked the sauce for the zha jiang mein--- the right amount of saltiness and plenty of pressed tofu. The fresh noodles themselves were short, overcooked, and not properly drained.