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Xiao Long Bao options in the City?

dordogne Jan 30, 2012 05:27 PM

I'm hoping to introduce out-of-town (indeed, out-of-country) guests to the wonders of XLB, but Shanghai Dumpling King is closed on Tuesday, our only free evening together. Any other recommendations in the City and what other dishes do you suggest for those recommended places?

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  1. k
    Keesey RE: dordogne Jan 30, 2012 05:49 PM

    Kingdom of Dumpling or King of Noodles. Same owners so same XLBs. The latter having hand pulled noodle options.

    1. singleguychef RE: dordogne Jan 31, 2012 10:31 AM

      Dumpling Kitchen is another option, often I find they're not as crowded. People typically get the string beans and stir-fry rice cakes.

      1. Pei RE: dordogne Jan 31, 2012 08:59 PM

        Shanghai Dumpling House (down the street from Shanghai Dumpling King).

        1. d
          dordogne RE: dordogne Feb 1, 2012 10:41 AM

          We went to Kingdom of Dumpling at 5:30, hoping to avoid the Lunar New Year crush in this tiny (15-20 seat) place. By 6:00 the wait was out the door and hovering over the diners inside.
          The XLBs were markedly inferior to Shanghai Dumpling King--smaller, wrappers flimsy in texture and not nearly as artfully pleated, filling not as flavorful. But they do have a vast selection of non-soup dumplings, and the pork/shrimp/chives version was very good. My favorite dish was the stuffed Shanghai pancake--like a conventional onion pancake but lightly filled with vegetable and savory items, then pan-fried--a Shanghai quesadilla.

          But thanks to Chowhound XLB enthusiasts, I now have a list of additional places to try.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dordogne
            vliang RE: dordogne Feb 1, 2012 10:53 AM

            Depending of what part of town you are looking for, Bund Shanghai in Chinatown isn't bad either.

          2. h
            hyperbowler RE: dordogne Feb 1, 2012 11:06 AM

            The names of these places are maddening. You can find mediocre XLB at most dim sum places in the city, but here's a list of Shanghai style places serving XLB. There are a billion XLB threads on here, so use the search function to track specific reports.

            Bund Shanghai Restaurant
            Dumpling Kitchen
            Kingdom of Dumpling (owners of King of Noodles)
            King of Noodles (owners of Kingdom of Dumpling)
            Old Shanghai Restaurant (last Chowhound report in 2003)
            Shanghai Dumpling House
            Shanghai Dumpling King
            Shanghai House

            Shanghai House
            3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

            Shanghai Dumpling King
            3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

            Old Shanghai
            5145 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

            Kingdom of Dumpling
            1713 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA

            Bund Shanghai
            640 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA

            King of Noodles
            1639 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA

            Dumpling Kitchen
            1935 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

            Kingdom of Dumpling
            1426 Noriega Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

            2 Replies
            1. re: hyperbowler
              Keesey RE: hyperbowler Feb 1, 2012 11:39 AM

              I remember Old Shanghai being the only restaurant in SF that made true XLBs until all these other ones popped up. They were quite large and needed a few bites to consume one dumpling. They were very good flavor wise, but I forget how the skin fared. Stopped going there because I thought their prices were too high.

              My fav is still Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Milbrae.

              1. re: Keesey
                ML8000 RE: Keesey Feb 1, 2012 11:52 AM

                Shanghai Dumpling Shop and Shanghai Dumpling King use to be owned by the same people. I always preferred SDK but they're close.

            2. h
              hyperbowler RE: dordogne Sep 9, 2012 10:14 PM

              Capitalizing on a rare fog free day in the Sunset, I embarked on a Xiao Long Bao crawl today (Dumpling Kitchen on Taraval-> King of Noodles on Irving -> Kingdom of Dumpling on Taraval). I happened to have had dinner at Shanghai House in the Richmond last night, so I'll add that in this report too.

              My ideal XLB have a flavorful soup, a uniformly thin and chewy skin, and a solid meatball.

              ==Broth Quantity==
              XLB's from all four places held their liquid, even the last ones to be eaten. Shanghai House had the most broth of the bunch.

              ==Broth Taste==
              Shanghai House and Dumpling Kitchen had equally intense broths, the latter having a slight gingery flavor. King of Noodle's was good, but Kingdom of Dumpling's was weak.

              Shanghai House: Tops a little thick and inconsistent across dumplings, but good texture overall.
              Dumpling Kitchen: Thin and uniform but the outside has a dry texture that sticks to your lips.
              King of Noodles: Terrible. These XLB are cone shaped, and the twists at the top contained dried raw dough. The skin is very loose.
              Kingdom of Dumpling: Passable. They're owned by the same people as King of Noodles, and these were also cone shaped. Fully cooked tops but very loose skin.

              King of Noodles' were the only ones that didn't form a solid mass. They were kind of mushy.

              Shanghai House and Dumpling Kitchen gave black vinegar & ginger prior to or along with the arrival of the XLB. King of Noodle didn't give any black vinegar & ginger to dip the XLB in. Kingdom of Dumpling gave us black vinegar & ginger after about half the XLB had been eaten.

              All things considered, Shanghai House made the best ones, and Dumpling Kitchen a close second. On account of their stronger broths, I like these both better than the ones I've had at Bund.

              Shanghai House
              3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

              Dumpling Kitchen
              1935 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

              King of Noodles
              1639 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA

              Kingdom of Dumpling
              1713 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA

              2 Replies
              1. re: hyperbowler
                singleguychef RE: hyperbowler Sep 10, 2012 09:56 AM

                Nice report! I tend to side with Dumpling Kitchen for its broth and service. I actually don't mind the XLB at Bund but for some reason I find their black vinegar/ginger sauce really off-smelling. It's like they use really cheap or old vinegar. Really made the experience not appetizing at all. Curious if you've ever tried the XLB at San Dong BBQ House on Geary? It's been years since I've gone, but they were pretty decent from what I remembered.

                1. re: singleguychef
                  hyperbowler RE: singleguychef Sep 10, 2012 10:14 AM

                  There's some place that serves the ginger in short and wide slivers that I thought made the dip not as fragrant as the thin slivers that are more common. Is that Bund? If so, maybe it was the vinegar rather than the ginger that was the problem.

                  Thanks for the tip! Doing some searches, it looks like San Dong also has hand-pulled noodles worth seeking out too.

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