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SGV: Current state of XLB?

JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 11:15 AM

With word of a decline at DSW since the matriarch went to China, I'm wondering what the current state of xiao long bao in the SGV is. I've duly noted Shanghai Dumpling House, Shanghai No. 1 and Shanghailander (wow, that's a lot of Shanghai-ness), but...any others beyond the usual suspects? Sugar & Spice received some brief raves, but quickly changed hands and is now gone.

Full disclosure, I'm looking at *possibly* doing a piece (key word: possibly) and want to check here to see if anyone has any suggestions for under the radar places for very good XLB.

CH will be credited for any place that makes it that I've managed to overlook. Oh, and please save any vigorous disagreements over DTF, J&J, WXJ and MLV to the comments section if published :D

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  1. Porthos RE: JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 11:24 AM

    Love DSW but their XLB was a weakness in the menu IMO.

    With the recent slippage in Shanghailander and also Lao Dong Beef Noodles here in OC, it might go back to Shanghai No. 1 (assuming no slippage since my last visit).

    The crab and pork ones at J&J have been incredibly consistent and delicious over the years though. That may be my current and longtime favorite.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Porthos
      JAB RE: Porthos Aug 30, 2013 12:29 PM

      Lao Dong has slipped?

      1. re: JAB
        Porthos RE: JAB Aug 30, 2013 12:45 PM

        A little. Wrapper is not as slick as before and a bit spongier. The filling was overwhelmingly anise or 5 spice when I had it on Tuesday.

        They still have someone making it or on display to appear like they are making it to order.

      2. re: Porthos
        JThur01 RE: Porthos Sep 3, 2013 05:17 PM

        I loved the XLB at DSW. Perhaps the "healthier" chicken aspic gave a less porkulent taste, but they were always my choice when buying a frozen bagfull to steam up at home.

        Not to derail the thread, but what are your favorite items at DSW?

        1. re: JThur01
          Porthos RE: JThur01 Sep 3, 2013 05:26 PM

          The filling was fine, the spongy thick wrapper wasn't my favorite.

          At DSW my favorites were the crab shell pastries (daikon and onion), the dumplings (chives one good, cabbage one bland), the Shanghainese style zongzi, and oddly enough the beef noodle soup even though the noodles weren't chewy and actually too soft for my tastes. Can't explain it. Just got it 4/5 visits.

      3. J.L. RE: JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 11:28 AM

        Like Porthos, I've always enjoyed the J&J XLB.

        Shanghai No. 1 does shenjianbao well, but their XLB is quite pedestrian.

        Why do a piece on the XLB now? That's so 2011. :-)

        7 Replies
        1. re: J.L.
          ns1 RE: J.L. Aug 30, 2013 12:04 PM

          sad but true.

          "Why do a piece on the XLB now? That's so 2011. :-)"

          1. re: ns1
            Mr Taster RE: ns1 Aug 30, 2013 12:29 PM

            Haha! I'd peg it around 2007, actually. When was the XLB zeitgeist, after all? I recall chasing them in my waxing Chowhound days, in early to mid-2000s.

            Mr Taster

          2. re: J.L.
            Porthos RE: J.L. Aug 30, 2013 03:15 PM

            That's an idea. Do a SJB list instead!

            SN1 is a runaway winner but 2-10 is wide open! ;-)

            1. re: Porthos
              JThur01 RE: Porthos Aug 30, 2013 05:16 PM

              SJB is coming, but I stick to top tier over top 10* :-)

              *with the exception of the neighborhood crawl.

            2. re: J.L.
              JThur01 RE: J.L. Aug 30, 2013 05:15 PM

              TonyC had it being so 2004 in 2009 :) Why now? Apparently, white people never get tired of XLB, dumplings, etc., much in the same manner they apparently never tire of lists. smh.

              Another TonyC quote: "Scribes gotta eat", sums it up.

              1. re: J.L.
                TripleAxel RE: J.L. Aug 31, 2013 07:48 AM

                My friends and I think J&J makes the best XLB in town. Wondering what some of you think about Yue Lai, opened a few months ago by the family who also owns Kuan's Restaurant? They don't have the intricate folds found in typical XLB, but I thought they meat filling was well seasoned and they did produce quite a bit of broth.

                Did anyone care for Wang Xing Ji's XLBx?

                1. re: TripleAxel
                  barryc RE: TripleAxel Aug 31, 2013 09:26 PM

                  personally not crazy about the idea of sugar in a XLB, but the non sugar ones were ok.

              2. Servorg RE: JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 11:28 AM

                Have you tried Hui Tou Xiang? Might be worth a visit if you haven't. http://www.huitouxiang.com/ (I know Tony C hates it, so that may influence you - one way or the other).

                4 Replies
                1. re: Servorg
                  barryc RE: Servorg Aug 31, 2013 09:17 PM

                  a lot of chinese won't resist the buy 5 get one free offer. i did that with only one lunch companion and regretted it later.

                  1. re: barryc
                    TripleAxel RE: barryc Sep 2, 2013 03:41 PM

                    At Yue LaI OR Kuan, you buy 1 order of XLBs and get 1 order free. No need to buy 5 there.

                    1. re: TripleAxel
                      barryc RE: TripleAxel Sep 3, 2013 12:58 AM

                      let me clarify - it's five of anything of the entree menu and the sixth item is free.

                  2. re: Servorg
                    Xan7hos RE: Servorg Sep 3, 2013 01:11 AM

                    XLB is not their strong suit. I suspect they might be steamed from frozen given the gumminess of the dough especially the very tip. Filling runs a bit on the sweeter side with a pronounced peanut or sesame oil flavor.

                    That being said I have a lot of love for some of their other items such as their name sake hui tou, their sweet kimchi is addictive as hell, staff has always been great and friendly and I never have to worry about getting a table. Why anyone would go next door still bewilders me.

                  3. raytamsgv RE: JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 11:37 AM

                    I'm a fan of J&J.

                    1. Bob Brooks RE: JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 01:08 PM

                      I just had some pork xlb this week at Yue Lai which were very good, as was the hot and sour soup that came with it. Plus, you get two orders for the price of one at $6.95.

                      1. ipsedixit RE: JThur01 Aug 30, 2013 09:35 PM

                        Tai Fung Pancake House
                        (City of Industry)

                        Try the dessert XLB (red bean)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Papuli RE: ipsedixit Aug 31, 2013 09:52 AM

                          Red bean xlb, you say? Are they soupy?

                          1. re: Papuli
                            blimpbinge RE: Papuli Aug 31, 2013 12:45 PM

                            Shouldn't be. It's more like a dessert/snack.

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            JThur01 RE: ipsedixit Sep 3, 2013 05:20 PM

                            Ooh, ooh...love red bean (the waitresses at Old Country used to almost automatically get me a red bean milk). Tai Fung is on my check list.

                            Thanks for the suggestions everyone. If anyone has any others, please pass them along.

                          3. barryc RE: JThur01 Aug 31, 2013 09:15 PM

                            when did mom leave? the last time i was at DSW, which has been a while now that i think about it, everything seemed fine.

                            IIRC, there are three XLB places in prospect plaza just to the west of focus plaza at del mar & valley. seems to me that the competition there would result in some fairly consistent quality XLBs.

                            if it matters, my vote for WORST is da qing hua. only place i've ever left food on the table when i left.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: barryc
                              JThur01 RE: barryc Sep 3, 2013 05:18 PM

                              IIRC, TonyC, reported Mrs. Lu left around December or so.

                              I refer to Prospect Plaza as "XLB Plaza" :-)

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