Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Feb 21, 2014 08:19 AM

TonyC's Best XLB Restaurants Not Named Din Tai Fung

Complete with spotting map. Whopping 18 choices listed such that some on this "best" list aren't particularly good.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I guess Dean Sin World has really fallen from grace...

    4 Replies
    1. re: chrishei

      Just wait until Sergio returns from China...

      1. re: TheOffalo

        Sergio's in China now ?

        WG may be heartbroken.

      2. re: chrishei

        Wonder if any of the places listed buy their XLB from Dean Sin World.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          Actually it wouldn't surprise me, even w/o their Kobe.

      3. personally, if i'm going to kang kang, it's for the shen jian bao, not the XLB. but definitely don't rest your head on a table unless you want to risk your face getting stuck to the table.

        1. Agree with the assessment of the XLB from SN1. Very balanced well made XLB. My what a big turnabout in opinion of SN1 ;)

          23 Replies
          1. re: Porthos

            I'm still a doubter, but owe it another chance. Been thrice. Each time better: miserable-to-horrible-to-mostly-terrible.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Don't know what you're ordering CB. Dim sum is one of the best in town these days.

              -Pan fried buns
              -steamed bean curd rolls with chinese herbs
              -Macau Egg Tart ***Best in Town***
              -special dumplings in soup (filled with dried scallops, seafood) far superior to the versions at Elite and Sea Harbour
              -har gow
              -shiu mai
              -lions head soup
              -sauteed Chinese vegetable of your choice

              Order the above. I'll stake my rep on it. All top notch.

              Notably absent are the braised pork and crab with rice cake which is much better at Shanghailander Palace.

              1. re: Porthos

                Whats the name of this joint Porthos ????,

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    In that case, I'm going to have to hit it up real soon.

                    After Paul's Kitchen, of course.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Dinner you're probably better off at Shanghailander.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Hey Porthos, what do I order at Shanghailander? I got some baller buddies/business associates visiting from Guangzhou in a few weeks and they don't want sushi.

                      1. re: J.L.

                        Don't eat sushi!?!?!?! Take em to Katsuya Hollywood? ;-)

                        Definitely winners are XLB (agree with TonyC, juicy but not explosively so), the rice cake with dungeness crab (outstanding each time), and the unrivaled braised pork (such rich flavor and so tender). They do a good job with the sauteed vegetables (pea leaves and loofa consistently good). Live steamed fish is as good as any. They also have lobster multiple ways. Pretty sure you should call ahead and get the JL balla banquet special. The braised pork and crab with rice cake are must have.

                        The lions head in soup or braised have been average.

                        Previous Thread:


                        1. re: Porthos

                          I should clarify: They don't want to eat sushi anywhere except in Japan. Yeesh.

                          Do you know of any baller "off-the-menu" specials at Shanghailander to wow my compadres? Unicorn Super Buddha Jumping Over Wall, for example?

                          1. re: J.L.

                            I never ordered in advance. You need a party of 6 min to make a reservation. I'm sure if you tell them sky is the limit they can source some unicorn for you and your buddies.

                          2. re: Porthos

                            Glad I saw this. Am taking a group of my foodie friends here for lunch to try out their lunch menu. They do serve their dinner menu items during lunch time as well, no?

                            1. re: TripleAxel

                              Are you referring to SN1 or Shanghailander?

                              Never been to Shanghailanfer for lunch. Don't miss the braised pork and the crab with rice cakes if we are talking Shanghailander.

                          3. re: J.L.

                            Ok. Take me along too ...


                            I'm all about ballering shit up.

                      2. re: Porthos

                        thanx for the list Porthos. :> i definitely love their pan fried buns as well.

                        the Macau Egg Tart though, was only "good" for our group, not great. they were lukewarm, but generally tasted good. this was in comparison to many experiences eating Macau Egg Tarts when i got taken by my friends to the SGV a few years ago to this one HK cafe on Garvey that made their Tarts fresh, and periodically even at night. and to Elite's version years ago (nowadays not so good).

                        1. re: chowseeker1999

                          Have you been recently? Went in January x 2 and both times they came out hot, flaky, and like rich, almost liquidy pudding. The difference is like scrambled eggs where it's completely cooked through and scrambled eggs done where it is still soft and runny. I usually don't waste stomach space on egg tarts during dim sim. This is one place where I will consume an entire one.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            Which is the one place ????

                            Btw, Porthos. Do you have a link to your brief review of EMC Seaffood w your pics. ????? It looked really great. And there was a crab or lobster dish that looked as great as the stuff in the SGV.

                            Thanks man.

                              1. re: Porthos

                                Abalone congee and fried spicy lobster sound great.

                                Can I go on my own as a solo diner and dig in to those two dishes or are Thr lobsters all like 4 or 5 lbs ?????

                                1. re: kevin

                                  Lobsters are small. About 1.5lbs

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Sweet. Then it's easily doable.

                                    I'll grab one lobster, one crab and the congee.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      The steamed crab is very good. The juices that run out during steaming perfect for spooning over the congee.

                                      I like both the grilled and crispy lobster. Both equally excellent so it's tough to pick one.

                        2. re: Porthos

                          "special dumplings in soup (filled with dried scallops, seafood) far superior to the versions at Elite and Sea Harbour"

                          Are they filled with pork too, or just the seafood fillings ????

                          Thanks Porthos.

                    2. There should've been 19.

                      Not incl. DTF.

                      1. I was eating XLB at Mei Long Village way before i even heard of Din Tai Fung. When I finally went to DTF i found the dumplings a little too bland and thin since I got used to the ones at MLV, but that was years ago.

                        So how is MLV holding up these days, especially with its immediate neighbors?

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: FullAutoMedic

                          Good point. I've heard a lot of people say they prefer Mei Long Village to Din Tai Fung.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            I still have to hit up Din Sin World.

                            Fish xlb are great there, right ??????

                            1. re: kevin

                              No fish xlb at DSW. Fish xlb at Wang Xing Ji.

                            2. re: Chandavkl

                              My foodie friends, some are bloggers, prefer Jin Jian (J&J) over Mei Long Village, Mama Lu's AND Din Tai Fung, though I am impressed with the XLBs at SN1. This past weekend we went back to J&J, and because of my gluten free diet, I only ate the filling from one of them and found it to be rather under-seasoned. Thoughts?

                              Any thoughts about Wang Xing Ji and Hui Tou Xiang?

                              1. re: TripleAxel

                                Eating XLB without the skin is missing the point.

                                It's about the gestalt; the combination of textures, smell, initial soup-letting, temperature, bite, delicacy... The overall bao.

                                Of course if there are health reasons preventing you from eating the skin, then there is nothing anyone can do about it. But know that the XLB fillings often play second-fiddle in order to allow the XLB skin & soup to shine. You cannot judge a bao by its filling.

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  i guess you could go to the place in focus plaza where you have the $5 soup dumplings where you just suck the soup out with a straw.

                                2. re: TripleAxel

                                  WXJ has the Wuxi-style. Much sweeter 'cos of the sugar. Some like that, some do not. Also, WXJ would be perfect if you're avoiding gluten, since you could order the Tang Bao (a.k.a. "The Big Freakin' XLB") and slurp the soup out with the straw.