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Aug 22, 2014 02:43 PM

Dim Sum Club -- XLB worth seeking out? [San Francisco]

I don't get to go out much and would like to know ahead of time if it's worth making the trip--has anyone been and if so, thoughts on the XLB? Or in general?

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    1. re: barleywino

      Thank you! I thought I had searched for previous threads but obviously didn't search well...

      1. re: mudaba

        And just to let you know you didn't miss one, I did a board-specific search for the thread that started Aug 14 as soon as you posted. It was not in the results yet. There must have been some slow down in indexing. That thread and this one then started to show up in search results on Saturday, Aug 23.

        Maybe the UrbanDaddy piece sparked your interest? I'll say that the photographer was able to make the place look considerably better and more spacious than it is! I also would not consider Dim Sum Club a destination place.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          That's exactly what it was, Melanie. When I got the Urban Daddy email, I thought, "Do I need to reopen my XLB files? What's going on in the city in terms of XLB these days?" And I moseyed over this way. I knew that you would point me in the right direction. Speaking of dumplings, I went to Chubby Noodle last night, the Marina location, and tried a bunch of dishes. I need to see your writeup--I'm sure you've been--there was a lot I liked there. Standouts were the pork fried rice that you'd never know had no soy sauce, so good, and the handmade ramen noodles with kimchee, great balanced heat. I liked the kung pow wings a lot too. Now I need to see what you thought!

    2. the general guide to xiao long bao in these parts, when in southern Chinese places (most if not all dim sum houses), expectations are best kept modest. it does not appear that anyone has tested the general principle at this particular spot yet.

      1. doubt XLB worth it here. Shanghai Bund @640 Jackson St. has excellent XLB. amongst the best in s.f.

        fwiw. ordered panfried postickers here and it came out undercooked(insides warm, almost semi-raw).

        32 Replies
        1. re: shanghaikid

          Fantastic tip...I definitely need to try Shanghai Bund. Thin wrapper I assume? What kind of vinegar sauce? I can also do research to find out. Thank you so much for the heads-up, shanghaikid. And moto, appreciate the point about the southern Chinese and dim sum places. M.

          1. re: mudaba

            the venerable noodle gourmand soupçon married into Shanghai families 2x, and Shanghai Bund is one of the two top places for that cuisine in his judgment. one reason we go there regularly, they do not use monosodium glutamate, and overall their cooking has a relatively delicate touch. since your original query refers to dim sum, one place that is fairly reliable and has its own quaint history (gang assassination, presidential visit) is on the same block of Jackson St. as S.Bund, uphill and across the street, Great Eastern. (that one block has four decent places to eat, at least.) have not been there myself in years, and went for very late night dinners, not dim sum.

            1. re: moto

              Just curious, moto, I assume Z&Y is one of the four, which one am I missing?

              1. re: PolarBear

                old school Cantonese, with appropriate ambience below street level, New Woey Loy Goey. my last visit there was for won ton soup w. fried won tons, no longer that easy to find in the soup and noodle joints. there's an enticing photo on yelp of tripe in black bean sauce that could pull me back there.

                1. re: moto

                  Thanks moto, that does look good.

              2. re: moto

                Bund Shanghai has changed ownership within the last 2 years, there's now 2 menus, a shanghai one and a standard catch all chinese one (mandarin, sichuan, cantonese et al).

                btw, i did taste some msg in my recent visits.

              3. re: mudaba

                Bund Shanghai, like most legit shanghai eateries, provides a small dish of dark vinegar and ginger slices. don't eat all the ginger slices at once. allocate a few slices per XLB or a slice a bite, whatever technique fits u.

                1. re: shanghaikid

                  Just for accuracy, it's Bund Shanghai.

                  ETA: you may be able to see in the photo that the ginger is in tiny slivers so no need to slice.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    no where did i mention u had to slice the ginger, it's already sliced.

                    fyi. chinese calligraphy has the shanghai portion in front.

                    1. re: shanghaikid

                      The ginger served in vinegar is normally served slivered, not sliced.

                      1. re: FoodTrippin

                        the ginger isn't always served in vinegar, sometimes side by side. the ginger is not automatically silvered,
                        it's 2 steps, large slices, the large slices then thinly cut...into slivers.

                        1. re: shanghaikid

                          I'm talking about the dipping sauce at Bund Shanghai. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that. Theirs is.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            when was the last you went to Bund Shanghai. my visit a few months ago doesn't reflect your experience.

                            btw, the vinegar isn't a dipping sauce.

                            1. re: shanghaikid

                              i think folks are picking nits . . .

                              group hug? and an XLB Chowdown? :)

                              1. re: drewskiSF

                                Naw, just demonstrating basic lack of reading comprehension.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  I agree. For those for whom English is a second language then we should all be more understanding and patient. Mea culpa. (Oops fell into Latin!)

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Oh, English is not your native language.

                                  2. re: Melanie Wong

                                    got it. i'll just go back to bemused lurking now . . .

                                    1. re: drewskiSF

                                      Problem is, none of this makes for amusing reading.

                                2. re: shanghaikid

                                  What do you do with the sauce then? Just drink it?

                                  Your post:

                                  "Shanghai Bund @640 Jackson St. has excellent XLB. amongst the best in s.f."

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    "What do you do with the sauce then? Just drink it?"

                                    thanx for confirming you've never been to Bund Shanghai.

                                    1. re: shanghaikid

                                      I've been there easily a dozen times over about five years.

                                      So what DO you do with the sauce?

                                      1. re: shanghaikid

                                        Okay, I am thoroughly intrigued. What is the proper way to enjoy xlb?

                                3. re: shanghaikid

                                  Interesting. Most Chinese restaurants I frequent do not have knives (or scissors) at the ready for diner use. So how does one progress to step two?

                                  1. re: FoodTrippin

                                    P.S. it's done in the kitchen for you. korean eateries have scissors at the dining table.

                        2. re: mudaba

                          Tried the xlb at Bund Shanghai today. Surprisingly they had less soup and thicker skins than versions at either yank sing or crystal jade. Maybe the chefs have changed? Not saying which is better, mind you, just one data point. Also tried their stir fried shrimp in wine sauce, a shanghai classic, but although the shrimp were properly sauteed to translucent,the sauce was light on wine and heavy on sugar/cornstarch. Cold salty duck was a bit drier than other versions I've had, with no aspic. Looking forward to sampling their braised pork shoulder, dongpo rou etc.

                          1. re: barleywino

                            1. In a post-christmas day of walking around, R&G, Y&Z, Great Eastern were mobbed at 1pm. Bund was walk-in. I hadn't realized it was no-frills - "bund" sounded classy. I liked the vibe. Seemed to be the tourist trade, places that had gotten written up, but also a day when kids had come into town and were eating with their old-school parents.

                            2. Dong Bo Pork at Bund was great. We got the "small" which was a little taste and worked great for 3 people as part of eating dumplings.

                            3. XLB had thin skins but variable (and small) soup factor. I like mine soupier. Some of the individual dumplings were soupier. In my home court, I prefer Su Hong PA's XLB.

                            4. They have shen jen bao (don't know the correct transliteration) --- the kind with thicker skins and brown bottoms. Smaller size than I've had some places - but very much like Yang's in Shanghai. These were a little greasy but good, also not very soupy.

                            5. seeing the previous posts about the vinegar, I wonder if I've been doing it wrong all along. Please advise on proper vinegar technique. Sometimes I pour, sometimes I dip, sometimes I just put some of the ginger slices on top. Still looking for the right technique.

                            1. re: bbulkow

                              Thanks for the report. I actually usually eschew the vinegar /ginger, maybe someone else can advise?

                        3. re: shanghaikid

                          I actually had excellent XLB at Dim Sum Club. The skins were very delicate, bursting with porky soup and a texturally pleasing pork filling (it didn't have the sandy texture you sometimes get). My one criticism is they are slightly on the sweeter side than I like, more so than can be accounted for from just "xian" (鮮)

                          I've been to Din Tai Fung quite a number of times (worked a couple blocks from the Bellevue location and lived less than a 10 min drive from the Seattle one) and I would say it's a toss up which ones I prefer.

                          1. re: DiggyK

                            Diggy, are you talking about the xlb at Dim Sum CLub?

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