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Frozen Dumplings from Dean Sin World

DWB Jul 31, 2013 11:54 AM

Got a sack of frozen XLB and Pork with Cabbage dumplings from DSW. I was surprised that the wrappers were thick and the filling was kind of bland. I only have had frozen dumplings from the freezer cases of 99 Ranch and Hmart. I think my favorite brand is "Asian Taste". I always figured these were subpar machine made junk, even though I liked them. I was really looking forward to DSW frozen dumplings as my first handmade frozen dumplings, and I was mildly disappointed.

The fillings were mild and the broth in the XLB was also quite mild. Perhaps my expectations are different than those more familiar with truly ethnic Chinese food. Did I go to the wrong place, or order the wrong thing? Does anyone have recommendations for other places that would meet the expectations I have held? I did read the Frozen Dumplings thread from May, I think that was partially why I went to DSW in the first place.

  1. t
    TracyS Jul 31, 2013 03:54 PM

    I think something changed with Dean Sin World's recipe. I used to also buy the frozen bags of XLB and shen jian bao to enjoy from the comfort of my westside home and to satiate by XLB-loving husband.

    The first couple times the XLB, in particular, were a revelation - perfect thickness of skin, good amount of broth, and tasty filling. They really hit the spot and we would rarely even need to venture to a restaurant to satisfy the craving.

    Over the past year probably, the frozen XLB have morphed into something entirely different. I prepare them the same way, but the wrappers are now thick and gummy and there is virtually no soup inside. My mother surmises they are either trying to be healthier, hence no delicious fatty broth, or the demand has grown to where the prep is being outsourced to less skilled chefs.

    We were so disappointed and have stopped buying these. The SJB are still not bad since they're all about the crust which I get to control at home, but really mourning the XLB change.

    8 Replies
    1. re: TracyS
      ns1 Jul 31, 2013 04:36 PM

      this is a bust to hear.

      1. re: ns1
        linus Jul 31, 2013 04:44 PM

        i know. i usually dismiss criticisms of dean sin world because the dumplings and bao i've had there have been great.
        now i'm starting to think it's possible the place has gone downhill.
        that makes me sad.

        1. re: linus
          ns1 Jul 31, 2013 05:01 PM

          same, lots of similar reports lately + news of Mrs. Lu's absence as noted by TonyC = downhill alert for this hound.

      2. re: TracyS
        TonyC Jul 31, 2013 04:47 PM

        Mama Lu went back to Shanghai and hasn't returned. She was s'pose to be back after Chinese New Year, but last I checked, they were talking about new year 2014.

        Still, the receipe is in the family, and still the family is in charge, but, as everyone else noted, things aren't the same. They also don't open as early, nor stay as late, these days.

        Still, I ain't sad. The baos and dumplings at Flavor Garden have been keeping the carbowhores in the house rather giddy.

        1. re: TonyC
          linus Jul 31, 2013 04:48 PM

          duly noted re: flavor garden.

          i'm still sad, though. but that's what i do.

          1. re: linus
            TonyC Jul 31, 2013 05:39 PM

            The rabbinics cover the grieving process extensively, yes? FWIW, it's been way past both the 7th and 30th days since she's left (Mid-Jan). My DSW frozen stash was depleted late Feb(?)

            ns1, can't comment on the crab shells as I really despise those things. I don't even take 'em when they're offered as gratis petit fours.

            1. re: TonyC
              linus Jul 31, 2013 10:06 PM

              oh, im not grieving. im just a miserable fucker.

          2. re: TonyC
            ns1 Jul 31, 2013 05:02 PM

            most importantly...what about those crab shell pastries @ DSW? How are those these days?

        2. ipsedixit Jul 31, 2013 02:50 PM

          Lots of places have frozen dumplings.

          I think if you like the Asian Taste brand, why deviate?

          Also, when you say "bland" were you eating them a dipping sauce of any kind?

          I would avoid all types of frozen XLB, btw.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit
            PeterCC Jul 31, 2013 03:06 PM

            >> I would all types of frozen XLB, btw.

            You would what?!

            1. re: PeterCC
              ipsedixit Jul 31, 2013 03:11 PM

              Thanks Peter. Edited above.

            2. re: ipsedixit
              DWB Jul 31, 2013 03:19 PM


              Yes, dip in black vinegar, soy, garlic and ginger sauce.

              Just because I like AT, does not mean that I don't know that better dumplings exist. That was just an example. I have been to Luscious and a few other dumpling places, and I do remember you saying they sell frozen if requested. I just wondered if fillings are bland by design, and rely on sauce for flavor. It seems that in restos the dumplings were far superior. I am looking forward to trying 101 and others for frozen. I don't live in SG anymore, so I have to make trips back there count. I'll be back after we knock off the 75 in my freezer now. Thanks.

              1. re: DWB
                Mr Taster Jul 31, 2013 03:29 PM

                By the way, the frozen dumplings I picked up from 101 were the shrimp/pork and shrimp/pumpkin. In hindsight I probably should have balanced it out with something more green, but I have no regrets.

                I believe they're sold frozen in quantities of 50 for $25 each, but don't quote me on that.

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster
                  Porthos Jul 31, 2013 03:49 PM

                  It is indeed 50 for $25-ish each depending on ingredient (shrimp vs no shrimp, yellow chive vs cabbage, etc).

            3. Porthos Jul 31, 2013 11:57 AM

              The chive ones are better at DSW. I remember her recommending the chive ones over the cabbage ones on my first visit. The cabbage ones are a bit bland.

              I prefer the wild vegetable ones +/- shrimp from 101 Noodle Express the best. They boil up well and also pan fry well at home too.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Porthos
                andytseng Jul 31, 2013 12:23 PM

                +1 on the chive ones. Also, she's never recommended XLBs to me. Not sure why people seem to be obsessed with XLBs and think every Chinese restaurant should be measured by that.

                I barely hear people mention the wontons in soup, or the wontons in chili oil, but I think DSW does very solid iterations of those.

                1. re: andytseng
                  Mr Taster Jul 31, 2013 12:39 PM

                  I've talked about DSW's wonton soup before-- I love it. In fact, they're great to keep in the freezer for those occasions when I've got chicken soup and nothing to put in it.

                  I also bought DSW's dumplings for a while (changing it up with Qingdao Bread Food occasionally), when one day on a lark I decided to buy some frozen 101 noodle express dumplings. They're more expensive, but holy guotie, Bread Superman! They're truly leaps and bounds above the others. The dumplings are so plump and juicy, wrappers nice and chewy, thick enough to hold in the generous fillings. I remember in particular that Qingdao Bread Food's pork and green veg dumplings had about 3 micrograms of pork-- it was all shredded veg. Boring, boring.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    ns1 Jul 31, 2013 12:45 PM

                    Thanks for tip re: 101 frozen dumplings. Hopefully they'll still be good when I pick them up in the afternoon lol

                    1. re: ns1
                      JAB Jul 31, 2013 12:47 PM


                      1. re: JAB
                        ns1 Jul 31, 2013 12:50 PM

                        Well played.

                    2. re: Mr Taster
                      PeterCC Jul 31, 2013 01:19 PM

                      "[H]oly guotie, Bread Superman!" LOL!

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