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New place, not yet open on Clement in SF...called "Xiao Long Bao"

between 5th and 6th I think (or 6th and 7th) mid block...new sign, but as of today..not yet there! Hoping for the best!

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  1. Please keep us posted!

    Wonder if it's related to Xiao Long Bao Kitchen in South San Francisco.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      seriously doubt it,. storefront is very narrow maybe lengthy,

    2. 7th and 8th perhaps? Corporation Wiki shows a "Xiao Long Bao" at 625 Clement, owned by a person with the same name as the owner of Clement BBQ.

      3 Replies
      1. re: soupçon

        And same owner as Clement Restaurant which is in between 625 Clement and Clement BBQ for three adjacent storefronts.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Yikes, the XLB at Clement Restaurant is not very good!

          1. re: Civil Bear

            xlb at cantonese eateries usually aren't the same as those in northern eateries. sometimes the xlb are commercially permade....they are not made on site....

      2. It's open; I stopped by. They're not completely up and running yet, but what I tasted tonight was not very promising at all. The XLB was mediocre, which I guess is okay considering it was $4 for six of them. They came in like foil corrugated wrappers; I don't know what that signifies. However, the beef pancake (one of only four items offered tonight) was extremely greasy and one of them was almost completely raw.

        For now, I would say it's not worth a visit if you aren't a neighborhood local, and even then, eh.

        4 Replies
        1. re: dunstable

          If I recall correctly, Daimo at the Pacific East Mall (Central Avenue exit in El Cerrito, but technically in Richmond) steams their Shanghai dumplings in little foil cups. They don't do anything for the flavor, but avoiding broken or stuck-together dumplings and the inevitable loss of broth might be an acceptable trade-off.

          1. re: Jefferson

            came across xlb's in tin foils at bk's in newark. think these are commercially made. as i don't think this is a concidence.

            also, saw pics of same from the "shanghai" place in burlingame that opened and closed last year.

            1. re: Jefferson

              Similar XLB in foil cups at East Ocean in Alameda. they were mediocre with little juice and thick wrappers.

              1. re: Jefferson

                The XLB are made on site. A man in the back was laying out dozens of empty foil cups into a giant steamer, filling hand rolled wrappers, and then placing each one into a cup. I didn't try any finished, but he was rolling out the dough pretty thick and the filling wasn't particularly glistening with gelatin chunks.

                It may be the case that the foil wrappers are used in mass produced XLB, but here, I think the foil cups are kind of like training wheels--- they're able to make a ton at once and the customer still gets the soup from broken ones.

            2. Xiao Long bao is basically a take out eatery. no table service. order & pay at counter. 8? tables to eat at.

              menu: dumplings, noodle soup, baos, minipancakes.

              impression is given everything made on site. not true. baos brought over from next ooor (clement rest)

              eats:xlb (6/3.5)
              -steamed smashed pork meat in xlb wrap.liquid has no taste. dipping sauce:soy sauce, vinegar, and msg. not red vinegar and sliced ginger

              spicy dumplings (10/2.99)
              -mini versions of dumplings elsewhere. some flavor
              -same dipping sauce as xlb + chili oil.

              minipancakes looked like pancakes. xlb not authentic. dumplings ok for price.

              tourists and older chinese like this place. not me though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: shanghaikid

                Xiao Long Bao has the same owners as Clement Restaurant, so it's quibbling to say that baos brought over from next door are not made "on site."

                Also, on my visit, xlb were served with black Zhenjiang vinegar, the proper vinegar for dipping. Red vinegar is NEVER used for dipping xiao long bao in Shanghai.

                1. re: shanghaikid

                  >>"tourists and older chinese like this place. not me though."

                  Do tourists even know of this place?

                2. Wonderful place! Their ‘mini pancakes’ are superb.
                  We had:

                  1. dumplings: xiao long bao-ironically, I found these average. Good, but not stellar. Average.
                  2. mini pancake-shrimp, chives, egg vermicelli. The dough is perfect thickness, flakey, and pan fried to golden color. Filling is fresh, generous, well flavored, bursting with bright green and pale orange/white color. Excellent
                  3. mini pancake-pork and bok choy. Again, the vaunted dough. Filling is less assertive than the shrimp, chives, egg vermicelli, but still well flavored. Excellent
                  4. Steamed bao-cha xiao bao (BBQ pork). Generous filling, neither too fatty, red, nor sweet. Excellent.
                  5. Steamed bao-curry chicken. Supposed to be spicy, but I found it mild. The flavor is not assertive enough to be encased in so much dough (in comparison to the BBQ pork above). Below average
                  6. Rice noodle roll-BBQ pork. Same, generous filling as cha xiao bao above. The soy sauce accompanying this is not the thicker, sweet soy, but thin soy. This is fine, but in comparison to the mini pancakes, it does not shine. Average.

                  Prices are excellent. Mini pancakes are mainly 3 for $2.50. Steamed baos are 3 for $1.75. Open 9am-6pm daily. Next time, I will try the other 2 mini pancakes: scallion and beef, and the chili pork dumplings. Can’t wait!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: elise h

                    I just loved that you persevered despite the other poor reports on other items to uncover some treasure here.

                    I walked by last Saturday on the way to dinner nearby. Two cooks were positioned in the window rolling out and filling bao.

                    No sheng jian bao here?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      no sheng jian bao here. Perhaps this place is more northern style. We are lucky to have so many regional chinese delicacies to enjoy in SF. Yes, it's fun to watch the cooks make the dough with deft, fast handwork.

                      Also, note there are about 8 tables in high demand during peak periods, though turnover is fairly fast.

                      1. re: elise h

                        Thanks, maybe you can be the first one to post a comparison of the these pancakes vs. House of Pancakes' on Taraval. :)

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          In the name of chow research, I returned to Xiao Long Bao and bought the scallion pancakes and the beef pancakes.

                          The scallion pancakes are about 5.5" in diameter and half inch thick. If you are ever going to blow your carb and fat intake, this is worthwhile. Pan fried to crispy, but still chewy, and fully cooked on the inside.

                          The beef pancakes are like smallish hockey pucks (same size as the pork & bok choy pancakes). Same dough as the scallion pancakes, but encases juicy ground beef. Too bad, the beef seemed unseasoned and boring.

                          Of the pancakes at Xiao Long Bao, I'll definitely continue to enjoy the superb 1) shrimp, chive & egg vermicelli 2) pork & bok choy 3) scallion.

                          At House of Pancake (Taraval St), I've only had 1 pancake (beef). It was larger and flatter than the beef pancake at Xiao Long Bao. It was also under seasoned, but its main flaw was being undercooked inside. I'll have to try the other pancakes at House of Pancake to form a comprehensive opinion!

                    2. re: elise h

                      thank you for reporting. are their steamed bao Tianjin style ? (they'd have many delicate, pinwheel pleats on the top)

                      1. re: elise h

                        Finally got to try this place. Really enjoyed the shrimp & chive and the pork & boc choy pancakes. Found the spicy dumplings to be a bit mushy and not very spicy. Love that everything came out fresh and hot.

                        1. re: elise h

                          Downhill product alert!

                          The mini pancake - shrimp, chives, egg vermicelli is now titled 'dried shrimp, chives, egg vermicelli'. The succulent fresh shrimp are replaced by tofu bits and the smallest dried shrimp I've ever seen. The flavor is now monochrome; the product is now a dud. What a shame. A better option would have been to increase the price and keep the fresh shrimp.

                          1. re: elise h

                            I didn't get to try them when they opened, but I'll 2nd the downhill alert.

                            I tried the 'dried shrimp, chives, egg vermicelli' mini pancake. For $2.25 you get two of them, and they're big... about 4 inches long. They're priced to compete with the cheapo dim sum places along Clement. The dough was thin and it was a bit raw along the pleats. Something was seriously wrong with the filling. It was so loaded with salt and MSG that I could barely stomach a few bites.

                            A taro paste bao (3/$1.75) helped cleanse my palate. The dough is too spongy for my taste, but I really liked the filling.

                            1. re: elise h

                              Tried the shrimp/chive pancake today. They are back to using fresh shrimp after increasing the prices to $2.50/2, but there are not many shrimp in each pancake. Rather, it's crammed with chives and vermicelli with a little tofu and shrimp. The pancakes leak chive-colored oil.

                              Not bad for a cheap snack, but I'm not hurrying to go back either.

                          2. Bargain-hunting at Haig's across the street on Monday finally put me in range to try this spot. We ordered #5, #6 and #8 from the pancake menu. They're made in continuous process, so this was fast food quick from ordering/paying to packing the right items off the line into a box. We ate there to have everything as hot and fresh as possible. Total for this box was less than $9, and served as lunch for two people.

                            Like eliseh, our runaway favorite was the shrimp, chive and egg one, folded over into a half-moon shape and crimped on the edge. The thick curds of scrambled egg stayed moist and fluffy inside, not dried out like some other versions I've had. Very fresh Chinese chives and lots of them.

                            The scallion pancakes were cooked quite well, very flakey, and crisp. But these needed more salt or something to pop the flavor. I took them home to eat with some sadae sauce.

                            The mini pancakes (xian bing) filled with pork and bok choy were somewhat undercooked making them a little too doughy. But I liked the flavor, and could see they're appeal when done well. These were a little too salty and felt like the filling might have a bit of a MSG flavor boost. My friend said, "don't take this the wrong way because it's not an insult, but this reminds me of Spam."

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Glad you made it to XLB!
                              What is sadae sauce?
                              I agree the scallion pancakes need something to pop the flavor. Do you think they should have added more salt in the dough?
                              When I got the pork & bok choy pancakes, they were subtle, but delicious. So there's inconsistency in the batches.

                              1. re: elise h

                                Maybe not putting more salt in the dough, rather sprinkling some salt on the scallions or on the surface of dough when they're rolled out. We ate these in the order I posted above, and when the scallion pancakes tasted bland, I commented to my friend that they seemed to be MSG-free. When we hit the minipancakes that had more of a brined/cured flavor, I said that those had too much MSG.

                                Sadae aka sacha sauce is a Teochew and/or Fujian condiment. I buy it from Chinese-Vietnamese restaurants that make their own. It has nothing to do with the peanut sauce of Malay/Thai satay. Just ask when you taste one you like, they're usually happy to fill a cup for you and charge a small price. Then you repack it into glass at home and it will last for many months (years?) in the refrigerator. Today I'm in Salinas and am using the one from a Hong Kong-style restaurant owned by Chinese people from Vietnam. This particular one has lots of fried shallots and garlic, as well as dried red chile flakes in an oil base. More info here on where to find it,


                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  thanks Melanie for sharing your prolific knowledge!

                                  So interesting about the salt. Why is it preferable to sprinkle salt on the surface versus more integrated into the entire dough? This will help me in my home cooking creations.

                                  Does MSG typically create a brined/cured flavor? How would you describe this flavor?

                                  1. re: elise h

                                    Sprinkling it on the surface or into the scallions makes a non-uniform, random application that will be more interesting when it hits in bursts on the palate as opposed to the same level through and through. That's just me.

                                    A discussion of MSG is getting too far afield for this thread and off-topic for this board. There are jillions of threads discussing MSG on other boards on this site if you really want to know.

                            2. I went for a quick lunch this week and was disappointed with my meal.

                              Upside: it's very fast, cheap, and you can see the dumplings and rolls and pancakes being made.

                              Downside: the items that are being cooked while you're there are not for you. They're loaded onto a cart next to the cash register, and the food I got while I was there had been on the cart for a while (though it was busy at noon), which wasn't great for the fried items. My beef pancake was cold with an unpleasantly oily exterior, and much too salty to boot. BBQ pork rice roll was better than the pancake, but had an uneven, tacky texture and not a lot of pork.

                              The couple next to me got soup, which was made for them after they ordered; if I returned, I'd probably try my luck with that. The soup was in a small bowl, sized right for one instead of sharing, so that might be a good tip for a solo cheap lunch if the soup is tasty.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: pane

                                That sounds pretty ugly. With your report, hyperbowler's and the downhill alert from elise, guess it's time to cross this one off our list.

                                1. re: pane

                                  Relishing a late afternoon snack, I stopped for a $4.50 bowl of won ton noodle soup made to order at 3 pm. The noodles are al dente and the broth is hot; 6 bok choy, and 5 smallish won ton with a good mix of pork and shrimp. Broth is one dimensional and I am having the msg headache now.