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Soup Dumplings in Chinatown

We need to take a visitor to Chinatown for soup dumplings. Not SGV. Where should we go?

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  1. When you say soup dumplings, do you mean (1) wontons in soup? Or (2) xiaolongbao (abbreviated: XLBs)?

    Sadly, there are no really good XLBs in Chinatown that I'm aware of. Awaiting other 'Hounds to chime in with some hope...

    1. Chinatown is largely Cantonese and Vietnamese, while "soup dumpling" as known in New York, (referred to as XLB out here) is a Shanghai dish. Mandarin Chateau on Broadway is the only Shanghai style restaurant in Chinatown that comes to mind, and I believe they still have XLB on the menu. However, Mandarin Chateau is not particularly good. Some of the Cantonese dim sum places may serve XLB at lunch time, but I have yet to encounter really good XLB at a dim sum restaurant in the L.A. area.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Chandavkl

        There's been such an explosion in popularity of XLB that I wouldn't be surprised if they start showing up in Chinatown. Whether they'll turn out to be any good is another argument entirely.

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Chandavkl

          I've never had a good XLB at dim sum.

          1. re: raytamsgv

            I seems that XLB are becoming a force of nature, busting down regional cookery barriers. The latest evidence I've seen is 101 Noodle Express pimping an awfully creative line of XLB (duck, lamb, beef). I see no reason why the mediocre dim summeries of Chinatown might not look to 101's success and eventually get on the bandwagon (especially when they figure out that many XLB-seeking-westsiders aren't willing to drive the additional 8 miles to travel beyond the Great Wall of Union Station. (Then again, doesn't 101 Panda Express in Culver City sell them now?)

            Mr Taster

            1. re: raytamsgv

              I've never had a good XLB at dim sum.
              ===============================
              Shanghai #1 Seafood Village in SGV does pretty good XLB for dim sum. Try their shenjian bao which is spectacular.

              Koi Palace in SF does awesome dungeness crab XLB for dim sum.

              Lei Garden in Hong Kong has a $5USD/1 XLB on their dim sum menu that is currently the best XLB I've ever had.

              1. re: Porthos

                Which Lei Garden location? I LOVE XLB...

                1. re: Porthos

                  I had the "Shanghai Dumplings" at Elite recently and liked them. The skin was very thin and the broth and filling inside were tasty. They don't have a lot of broth and are very small, but I liked them more than the XLB I've had elsewhere.

                  1. re: Jwsel

                    Are you referring to their shenjianbao? Those are a different species than the XLB (though I agree they're absolutely delicious in their own right!)...

                    Oh Lord, I wonder when we'll start calling them "SJBs"...

                    1. re: J.L.

                      I'm not an expert on dumplings, so I honestly don't know. At Elite, they called them Shanghai dumplings in English. Here is a picture - http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/CIPw9R...

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        These aren't shenjianobao (SJBs are pan-fried). The linked picture shows a variant of XLB.

                      2. re: J.L.

                        Do people really refer to them, out loud, as "ecks ell bees"?

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Verbally it's just as easy to say xiao long bao. However XLB is easier to type.

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            "Ecks ell bees" is overheard all over the "Ess Gee Vee".

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. If you can do Los Feliz The Palace has them.