XLB and SJB at Shanghai Dumpling in Cupertino
This place opened a year ago, but I couldn't find any mention of it here on CH.
If you're into XLB or SJB, I would urge you to try them at Shanghai Dumpling in Cupertino (at the intersection of Bollinger and Blaney, where the new location of QQ Noodle is).
Both are perhaps the best in the SF Bay Area, to my personal taste at least. The skin is just right and both are oh so juicy.
If you go, you might notice that 50-75% of the tables have a giant wood-trimmed metal bowl with a ton of rice in them. Those come with delicious fried pork ribs, which have all been eaten already (and the rice has bacon mixed into it). Also highly recommended!
re: Melanie Wong
It's to the right of QQ Noodle... last time I saw it was a couple weeks ago (didn't look like much progress had been made unfortunately). I think the signs still have the old business but there is Chinese writing on paper posted in the windows that indicates it will be a roast duck restaurant.
"This place opened a year ago"
Actually the Shanghai Dumpling family has been around for years, but they used to operate out of the little plaza on S DeAnza and Prospect (near the Peet's C&T). They sold that place - it's now "Taiwan Taste" - and moved into the bigger space here.
Another favorite is the rice cake (chao nian gao). It won't knock your socks off, but it's suitably chewy, and we can't seem to go in without ordering it.
The Sheng jian bao are excellent.
They are brown to light black on the fried pleated side, and drizzled with black and white sesame seeds on the rounded area. The pleats are pressed into the center of the mass, leaving a big tuft for the meatball to sit on. This is a similar to how they make them at Bamboo Garden.
The first one I ate had enough juices inside to spill out--- see photographic evidence. Either because it was absorbed over time, or they just didn't have any, only one other SJB has loose soup. But none of that matters--- the dough was flavored with pork juices throughout, was crunchy, and had a slightly bacony taste. Even the tuft was delicious. There was enough empty space for the meatball to bounce around inside the SJB, but the meatballs were packed with flavor and not overworked. Lots of oil must be used to cook these, but they don't come across as greasy.
Somewhere, probably on Chowhound, I read about how SJB rapidly changed from pan fried juicy buns to the item served at Yang's Fry dumpling in Shanghai, each of which holds 2 spoonfuls of soup, twice as much as your soupiest xiao long bao. The dough at Shanghai Dumpling is fluffier than Yang's Fry, and of course has minimal soup, but it's what I imagine the historical antecedent might have tasted like.
The server was a bit dismissive when I told him these were the best SJB I've had in the US--- he said the XLB are filled with lots of soup and are where they really excel!
And to satisfy all your dumpling and noodle needs, Shanghai dumpling, QQ noodle, and Beijing duck are in the same strip mall.
mr_darcy, you speak the truth about the XLB!
Consistency is the real test, but my one visit was unlike anything I've had in the Bay Area. These could be described as Nanjing tangbao ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9238... ), and could appease NY'ers in search of the elusive "soup dumpling."
The Xiao Long Bao are listed on the menu under "Dim Sum" as "steamed pork soup dumpling." They have translucent skin, a tiny hole on the top, and are flooded with soup (that's all visible in the photos). All six XLB had a pliable enough skin to sag from the weight of the soup. Each one retained its liquid and the size of the slurp hole never got big enough to give birth to a meatball.
XLB in the Bay Area tend to have soup with a clean flavor, and vary mostly in their intensity. Shanghai Dumpling's were different. Their soup has the same bacony flavor that's in the SJB. There's a tremendous amount of body. These might not be to everyone's taste, but I liked it.
The XLB house a lot of soup. The two I photographed overflowed the spoon and still had soup to spare within the dumpling. Aside from the hole I bit into it, the hole on the top was a convenient portal for pouring in vinegar.
These are somewhere in between the XLB at Din Tai Fung and Shanghai Dumpling Shop on a good day. If my memory is accurate, DTF's in Shanghai are smaller than these and don't have a hole on the top. The tiny hole at the top and large size make them similar in style to XLB at Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8673... , only with a thinner and better folded skin, a smaller meatball, and without a funky tasting soup. That's on a good day at SDS--- on a visit last month, the XLB had big tall meatballs, but they and other items ranged from mediocre to refrigerator-taste gross.
I was at Shanghai Dumpling when it was pretty empty, so I hope these are as good on the next occasion I trek to Cupertino.
Bonus 1: the black vinegar and thin slivered ginger were brought several minutes before the XLB.
Bonus 2: They make the XLB in a glass walled booth near the reception area, so you can watch them in action. A man was rolling out dough, while a woman stuffed them. If you want to watch them make the dumplings, please smile and/or wave to avoid seeming creepy.