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TonyC's Best XLB Restaurants Not Named Din Tai Fung

Chandavkl Feb 21, 2014 08:19 AM

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


  1. f
    FullAutoMedic Feb 22, 2014 10:00 AM

    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
      Chandavkl Feb 22, 2014 03:06 PM

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

      1. re: Chandavkl
        kevin Feb 22, 2014 03:32 PM

        I still have to hit up Din Sin World.

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

        1. re: kevin
          JThur01 Feb 25, 2014 08:53 AM

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

        2. re: Chandavkl
          TripleAxel Feb 24, 2014 12:01 PM

          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
            J.L. Feb 24, 2014 06:38 PM

            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.
              barryc Feb 26, 2014 01:14 PM

              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
              JThur01 Feb 26, 2014 04:35 PM

              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.

        3. ipsedixit Feb 21, 2014 03:00 PM

          There should've been 19.

          Not incl. DTF.

          1. Porthos Feb 21, 2014 11:02 AM

            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
              Ciao Bob Feb 21, 2014 11:56 AM

              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
                Porthos Feb 21, 2014 12:26 PM

                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
                  kevin Feb 21, 2014 12:36 PM

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

                  1. re: kevin
                    Ciao Bob Feb 21, 2014 12:54 PM

                    Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village

                    1. re: Ciao Bob
                      kevin Feb 21, 2014 10:40 PM

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

                      After Paul's Kitchen, of course.

                  2. re: Porthos
                    Ciao Bob Feb 21, 2014 12:52 PM

                    Only done dinner.

                    1. re: Ciao Bob
                      Porthos Feb 21, 2014 01:04 PM

                      Dinner you're probably better off at Shanghailander.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        J.L. Feb 21, 2014 03:38 PM

                        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.
                          Porthos Feb 21, 2014 03:49 PM

                          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
                            J.L. Feb 21, 2014 04:01 PM

                            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.
                              Porthos Feb 21, 2014 04:22 PM

                              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
                              TripleAxel Feb 24, 2014 11:59 AM

                              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
                                Porthos Feb 24, 2014 12:22 PM

                                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.
                              kevin Feb 21, 2014 10:38 PM

                              Ok. Take me along too ...


                              I'm all about ballering shit up.

                        2. re: Porthos
                          chowseeker1999 Feb 23, 2014 10:25 AM

                          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
                            Porthos Feb 23, 2014 10:54 AM

                            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
                              kevin Feb 23, 2014 10:57 AM

                              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: kevin
                                Porthos Feb 23, 2014 11:00 AM

                                EMC pictures:


                                1. re: Porthos
                                  kevin Feb 23, 2014 11:12 AM

                                  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
                                    Porthos Feb 23, 2014 11:16 AM

                                    Lobsters are small. About 1.5lbs

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      kevin Feb 23, 2014 11:19 AM

                                      Sweet. Then it's easily doable.

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

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        Porthos Feb 23, 2014 11:47 AM

                                        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
                            kevin Feb 24, 2014 12:01 PM

                            "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. barryc Feb 21, 2014 09:18 AM

                        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. c
                          chrishei Feb 21, 2014 08:22 AM

                          I guess Dean Sin World has really fallen from grace...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: chrishei
                            TheOffalo Feb 21, 2014 08:33 AM

                            Just wait until Sergio returns from China...

                            1. re: TheOffalo
                              kevin Feb 21, 2014 12:35 PM

                              Sergio's in China now ?

                              WG may be heartbroken.

                            2. re: chrishei
                              Chandavkl Feb 21, 2014 08:48 AM

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

                              1. re: Chandavkl
                                chrishei Feb 21, 2014 08:52 AM

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

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