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Apr 9, 2013 12:43 PM

10 Best XLB In Los Angeles

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  1. Agree w/ Clarissa for the most part (although DSW is #1 for me), but did not enjoy my XLB at Emperor Noodles.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chrishei

      "did not enjoy my XLB at Emperor Noodles."

      Same here. I felt that the skin was too "plasticky" and had an almost artificial texture. There was barely any juice inside and the filling was forgettable.

      1. re: chrishei

        What, no 101 Noodle Express love?

        1. re: granadafan

          Love the dumplings at 101 Noodle Express. I'm a bit peeved that the Irvine branch was closed both Friday and Saturday this weekend with only a sign "Closed today" on the doors.

          Having said that, their XLB are just average. Their dumplings are excellent. So is that sparerib noodle soup with hand pulled noodles.

          1. re: Porthos

            I just realized I made the mistake of mixing XLB with dumplings. LOL.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. Very recycled stuff. Probably from some CH 2011 thread. I wonder how many of the places in LA serving XLB she went to? Maybe just 10?

          The XLB at MLV are notorious leaky messes. It's telling no picture was taken/used. Overrated even at 7. See yelp photos 22 and 25. Even yelper providing photo 25 recognized the coagulated blood leaking out of them as a sign these are previously frozen.

          I'll bet she didn't try newcomers like Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village or Shanghailander (per Tony C).

          11 Replies
          1. re: Porthos

            I'll bet she didn't try newcomers like Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village or Shanghailander
            No comment. Scribes need to make a living, whether it be via clicks or otherwise.

            Nan Xiang wasn't mentioned, yet the archaic term of 南京湯包 was. To that, I say: baike is an amazing tool:

            If customers at 65 branches in 11 countries of DTFs aren't eating 小籠包, I'm unsure what exactly they're consuming.

            1. re: Porthos

              Mei Long Village had been on my no-fly list for a while because of repeated xlb incontinence issues. Dear wife insisted we go a month or two ago - she ordered two orders of xlb (forewarning her about the issue) and they arrived intact. Maybe just lucky?

              Agree with Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village's xlb, but can't get past that Rocky Horror Picture Show version of a Wild West saloon decor.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                The question is, are you willing to gamble and double down at MLV or cash out your good fortune and head over to J&J for those very delicious and very consistent crab and pork ones next?

                1. re: Porthos

                  That was one of my plays - driving into SGV for dinner at 1830 during a weekday is a huge ante up to begin with. She had her mind set on MLV. Her other choice was Shanghai No. 1 - the decor kills my appetite - it's just too out of context for me...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    This is so odd.

                    I have never had punctured XLB at MLV. And if I did I would just send them back.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      This started to happen a few years back - I think three visits in a row. The final straw was when we brought one of my brothers-in-law who was visiting from Singapore - land of everything is perfect except the weather. He was not impressed with the xlb's condition. Everything else was enjoyable.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Not punctured but leaking juices from the top in a cooked blood volcanic mess and soaking the XLB from the outside. Again, yelp photos 22 and 25 are representative of what I was getting also.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            We've talked about this before. Nope. Now I just go to places where this doesn't happen and where they don't have to be sent back :)

                            1. re: Porthos

                              I don't understand why not.

                              Wouldn't you send back a piece of sushi that was improperly plated?

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                What's the point of sending back sushi at Hide and asking them to make it the way Mori makes it? You could send it back all you want, it's not happening.

                                That's the way they do XLB.

                                If they could do it better, they would. But they can't. Never had a problem at J&J, SN1, Lao Dong, DTF with mushy XLB so I go to those.

              2. I’m perturbed the article said what DTF serves is actually not "xiao lng bao". That would contradict what I’ve been telling a lot of white people for years. Can an authority please comment on this?

                38 Replies
                1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                  Probably been getting that from ipse's comments here on CH ;-)

                  It's XLB. Ask anyone in Taiwan or Shanghai. Not sure if anyone there makes the distinction she does.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    Are you talking shit behind my back again, P?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Naw. Just in plain sight! ;-) Just teasing ya.

                      Gotta wonder where she got that funny idea about DTF though if it wasn't from you...

                      1. re: Porthos

                        I've never said DTF doesn't have XLB.

                        What DTF has are XLB for the people that metrosexuals consider too effete.

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        I found her choice for 8th best in the greater L.A. area to be rather ironic...(and amusing) ;-D>

                    2. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                      I asked a handful of my chinese/taiwanese co workers and none of them knew what 南京湯包 was

                      So unless they, and the shanghainese restaurants I went to in shanghai, are mistaken, these are xlb..

                      1. re: blimpbinge

                        Might be some journalism ploy to increase blog hits:

                        1. Make lists. Everyone likes/hates lists.

                        2. Say something contrarian. Even better if it's in the guise of a little known factoid.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Alternative theory (conspiracists need not apply)

                          Say what you think. Let chips fall where they may.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Deep thoughts by Servorg :-D>

                            As we all know if you're going to attempt to "educate" someone else, it's best to have a reliable source and to double check your "facts".

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Or you can just anoint yourself as an expert and blather on as if it matters...

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Funny how everyone is an expert here isn't it? :-)

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  I can't tell if you guys like each other, hate each other, or somewhere in between.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    It's only dangerous when you actually believe it...

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        I believe that means the exact same thing...

                                        1. re: Servorg


                                          Pot calling the kettle black really.

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      I'm not an expert, but I play one on TV. :-)

                                      1. re: raytamsgv

                                        I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last I guess that means... ;-D>

                                2. re: Servorg

                                  Is it still conspiracy theory if you were right all along? ;-)

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Does that arm ever get tired from all the patting? ;-D>

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      Nope. Used to it by now. Back gets a bit sore though. ;-)

                              2. re: blimpbinge

                                It should really be 狗不理包子 ... and the reference is wrong in the article anyway.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Just went to Tianjin to try the original 狗不理包子 - Really, really great stuff (which kinda proves my belief that the SGV does NOT have the best Chinese food in the world). But that is for a different thread...

                                  1. re: J.L.

                                    It's dumb to write that, much mess believe it.

                                    SGV has really good Chinese food and probably the best in the U.S. but not in N America as a whole and certainly not in the world.

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      The only people that think SGV's Chinese food is the best in the world are people that have never tried Chinese food anywhere else.. (see yelp reviews)

                                      1. re: blimpbinge

                                        Well, there's no accounting for diverse taste and there are some strange, stray tastes out there. I once wrote a simple article on how Chinese food in suburban Chinatowns (e.g., SGV) is better than the Chinese food in core Chinatowns (e.g., L.A. Chinatown) and got an argument on that point from somebody who disagreed.

                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                          Did they provide any examples or where they just "going with their gut"?

                                          It's a no brainer for LA and NYC. Maybe SF is a wash if you combine outer Richmond with Chinatown vs Koi Palace, Milbrae, Milpitas, and Cupertino? That one at least is close.

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Chinese woman totally disagreed with my premise. She said how wonderful the Cantonese food was in the core Chinatowns she had eaten at all over the U.S. Different strokes.

                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                              Maybe to the woman, cheap = good regardless of quality degradation, so if it is cheaper than surburban Chinatown, it won't matter to her. You've heard the Cantonese term Peng Leng Jeng....Peng = cheap, Leng = quality/beautiful, Jeng = correctness and in this case approval. And look, Peng comes first! :-o That says it all.

                                2. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                                  Technically....."XLB" (xiao long bao) literally translates to "little dragon dumpling" and usually refers to a small bun with meat filling that does NOT contain soup. The bun is usually made with a flour containing yeast and is thus fluffier and thicker. It's fluffy, porous quality also makes it unable to hold soup properly.

                                  "Xiao Long TANG bao" (little dragon SOUP dumpling) or just "tang bao" (soup dumpling) on the other hand, is made using a dough that does NOT contain yeast and therefore can be quite thin and delicate, while still having the ability to hold in soup. The soup is a result of incorporating a gelatinous broth that is jello-like when cold, into the meat filling.

                                  But people just say XLB and refer to the kind with soup all the time.

                                  Hope this helps! =)

                                  1. re: may14

                                    Actually, I think in this case "long" does not refer to dragon but to the bamboo basket steamers that they are steamed in:


                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      It's the same character so I could see how someone would be confused.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Yeah you are so right. The characters sound the same but look slightly different 籠 (steamer) vs 龍 (dragon). sorry for the false info!

                                    2. re: may14

                                      Spoken Mandarin can be a tad confusing to non-speakers - Case in point:
                                      Tang (1st tone) = soup
                                      Tang (2nd tone) = candy
                                      Tang (3rd tone) = to lie down
                                      Tang (4th tone) = hot

                                      Although to further drive home the lesson, my favorite of all time is still the poem entitled:

                                      《施氏食獅史》 (Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den)


                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        That poem is so Gangnam Style (or should I say Harlem Shake) awesome.

                                      2. re: may14

                                        that distinction isn't always made

                                    3. For those of us who are less sophisticated, please use language that we can all understand. Are you talking about what we who are less knowledgeable about Chinese cuisine might know as "soup dumplings"?

                                      7 Replies
                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          Soup dumpling is an east coast term seldom used in California, except by people who used to live in New York.

                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                            Sorry, but not being especially familiar with Chinese cuisine i would have not had a clue what you were all talking about had I not just read an article in the latest Food & Wine magazine entitled "DIY Soup Dumplings"! Not once did the 3 page article refer to them as perhaps that is indeed a west coast abreviation.

                                            Is there anywhere in OC where I might sample good xlb/soup dumplings?

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              Yes, I never heard the term "soup dumpling" before I visited New York. My guess is that the term soup dumpling isn't used much out here because, at least to purists, XLB are not dumplings. (See prior food fights on the LA board on this subject.) On the other hand, in New York, soup dumplings had garnered a good following outside of the Chinese community, so having crossed over, the "dumpling" term was used more liberally.

                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                My guess is that the term soup dumpling isn't used much out here because, at least to purists, XLB are not dumplings.


                                                Nor are they "soup".

                                                Maybe in this case two wrongs do make a right.

                                              2. re: josephnl

                                                Is there anywhere in OC where I might sample good xlb/soup dumplings?
                                                My current favorite is at Lao Dong Beef Noodles in the plaza on Jeffery and Walnut in Irvine. As good as any version up in the SGV if not better than most.

                                                They have a light clear beef noodle soup with brisket which I usually get in addition to an order of pork XLB. They have a beef XLB which I have not yet tried. The steamed shau mai are also very good. The standard/traditional version is pork.

                                                Since it is your first time, you have to delicately pick up the XLB by the top, put it in your spoon, nibble away the top, suck a little bit of the juice, then consume the rest in 1 bite. Once they cool down I just pop the entire XLB in my mouth. But that's because I'm a glutton.

                                                Once you get the hang of picking them up without popping them, try dipping them in black vinegar and topping with a few slivers of ginger that they provide before placing in the spoon and consuming as previously described. The black vinegar are in containers sitting on the table (looks like soy sauce). If your chopstick skills are very good you can try dipping them into the vinegar ginger mix from the get go but this increases the chance of the thin skin breaking and you losing all the delicious juice.

                                                Looking forward to your report! :)