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Dec 19, 2012 07:04 PM

best xiao long bao SD

On the search for good xiao long bao in SD.

Today I got my fix. At Chef Chins. No, not din tai fung; but it made me happy. I just wanted a place in the county that I can satisfy my craving.

I haven't been satisfied with the quality at dumpling inn. (Although, I've found their boiled pork and chive dumplings consistently good).

I've tried them at Dede's and even Pearl rolls them around for Dim Sum. I had given up on finding reasonable quality until today.

Now I have renewed energy to find the best place in the county to get my fix! I know a number of other places serve it but I haven't been to them all!

What's your favorite?

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  1. I know I sound like a broken record, but the only place I can seem to get enjoyable high quality chinese in SD, is Rendezvous. IMHO the Xiao Long Bao from there is the best in San Diego, full stop. A bit more spendy than most places at 6 for $9, but so worth it.

    "Steamed Pork Dumplings $9
    also known as xiao long bao or Shanghai style soup dumplings, ours are filled with pork and green onion; served in a bamboo steamer with a side of medium spice dumpling sauce: (6); fresh ginger, vinegar, and/or soup spoon available upon request"

    If desired, they also have hotter sauce on request.

    1. Looking for the best xiao long bao in SD is like trying to find a unicorn at the Del Mar Tracks.

      16 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Yeah, I know you poo poo all SD dumplings and most all SD Asian restaurants. And while I'm no expert, I do enjoy Chef Mark Sun's cooking. Several others do as well . . .from a previous thread on dumplings:

        <"Rodzilla Oct 16, 2012 11:41 PM

        This may shock, but one of the harshest dumpling critics I know told me Del Mar Rendezvous had the best in SD (above Dumpling Inn)">

        1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

          Let's be clear and concise.

          In no way, and in no place, have I "poo poo[ed] ... all SD Asian restaurants."

          There are many outstanding sushi places, as well as some Indian restaurants in SD. Asian food (whatever that term may mean) may not be a strong point in SD, but there are certainly gems to be found. Chinese food, on the other hand, is a pure cul-de-sac.

          So let's not be sloppy.

          And to go back to Rendezvous, to say any "dumpling" in SD is the "best" is like picking out the tallest person at a midget convention.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Okay, okay, Chinese influenced Asian restaurants and I said "almost all". And as long as we're being concise . . . that would be, a Dwarf convention. ;-)

            1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

              "Vertically challenged" ... right?

              Next time I'm up in LA, I'm going to bring you back a bag of frozen XLB from Dean Sin World to sample.

              Heck, next time I make some, I'll give you a buzz ...

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Thanks! I completely understand your viewpoint, even if I don't completely agree, but I will defer to your greater experience and knowledge. I'll be in SF area starting Saturday. My brother lives there and has promised to take me to some fabulous Chinese dumpling spots. I'll report back.

                1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                  Not to get totally off-topic, but in SF you should check out Shanghai House for XLB, and perhaps Dumpling King as a second option.

                  If you don't mind going south a bit to Redwood City, go to iDumpling and try the lamb dumplings which go really really well with the liang-pi (which are green bean noodles mixed with good amounts of garlic, rice wine vinegar, horseradish and chili flakes and tossed with sliced cucumbers)

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Now that sounds wicked good! Thanks for the tips. I'm sure my bro, who's as big, if not a bigger foodie than me, has a delicious plan for us.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  What are your current top 5 places for XLB between San Diego through LA county? Also, if you make a good XLB - I want to learn. I've tried a good couple dozen flour combinations and I'm just not satisfied

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Hi ipse,

                I am constantly impressed with your very wide ranging knowledge of restaurants in LA and San Diego.

                Do you recommend any Himalayan (Nepalese) restaurants in San Diego and, if you do, what are the dishes to order?

                Thanks, GJ

                1. re: Gypsy Jan

                  GJ, I'm not Ipse, but I think I can answer your question.

                  Himalayan Cuisine/Bazaar in the shopping center at El Cajon Blvd and Baltimore Dr. in La Mesa has a loose consensus "best of genre"


                    1. re: Gypsy Jan

                      Sounds like DD gave you a good lead.

                      I'm not really familiar with Nepalese restaurants in SD, but if you just want some down and dirty, no fuss, Indian food, I like Sher E Punjab and Surati Farsan Mart. Punjabi Tandoor is ok too, but can be a bit inconsistent.

                      There's a great Nepalese restaurant in SF that makes the best Momos. I could easily make a meal out of plate of Momos and a bowl of chicken Jhol. Hmm, maybe a roadtrip is called for ..

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Thanks ipse, I love Indian/Asia food, always looking for more authentic experiences.

                        Years ago, an Indian business acquaintance treated hubby and myself to a fantastic dinner at their palatial home in Artesia. She was a strict vegetarian, but made meat based dishes based on instinct (the smell of cooked meat made her ill). I still remember the vibrant tastes of this exceptional meal.

                        ALso a road trip sounds great!


                        1. re: Gypsy Jan

                          Ok, I'll drive, and you can ride shotgun.

                          1. re: Gypsy Jan

                            Heh! I always call shotgun :)

                            (Also, I don't play with the radio/cd player or whatever. I don't whine about stopping for restrooms, I don't complain about route and I can go for hours without talking about anything at all.

                    2. re: Gypsy Jan

                      Taste of the Himalayas in Point Loma on Midway near Rosecrans is pretty good: ( I tried their goat curry lunch special recently and it was excellent. Their lamb has also been consistently good. I also liked the Bhera Ko Saag is cubes of lamb cooked with spinach in Nepalese spices. The naan is made to order and also excellent. They describe their food as "Nepalese and Northern Indian" which covers quite a bit of territory but they meals we have had there look and taste a lot like the food we ate in Kathmandu.

              3. Thanks Rhonelylnsandiego. I had not tried Rendezvous since I thought they would be the same as the dumpling inn (i.e. "from the creator of Dumpling Inn."). I'll give it a shot since it's closer to where I live anyhow.

                Anyone else with some non-jaded opinions?

                4 Replies
                1. re: koreansoup

                  not sure this will stay up, but Husband and I just made our own. AMAZING. One batch, our dough. One batch, wrappers bought at Phuong Trang (99 Ranch parking lot too crazy that day.) Both batches were delicious, with different textures in the wrapper. Some steamed, some fried. Surprisingly easy. And for the first time in my life I got to eat all the dumplings I wanted. Fun to do for the two of us if you have a willing partner. The boughten wrappers made it very easy.

                  1. re: pickypicky

                    [since this got bumped] Picky which wrappers did you buy? Fresh or frozen? I live near Phuong Trang and want to give this a try.

                    1. re: MrKrispy

                      Make your own wrappers.

                      10x better.

                  2. re: koreansoup

                    It's not the same as dumpling inn, definitely better.

                    The "creator of Dumpling Inn" is retired and neither of the restaurants really reflects his vision anymore. Rendezvous is run by the newphew of the original chef and is probably closest to what Dumpling Inn used to be.

                  3. I like the xiao long bao at Red Moon Noodle House. They aren't on the menu, but you can ask for them. I liked Dumpling Inn's when they were really the only ones offering it, but I think the ones from Red Moon are nicer.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodieinsd

                      We like Red Moon as well. The owner is really nice, always comes out to talk to our baby. He was actually raised in Yokohama, and his father was a captain at one of the Dim Sums in their Chinatown. We've liked everything we've had there. Their soup dumplings are pretty awesome.