Attention! I’ve just gotten out of a time traveling vehicle from the past to bring you xiao long bao showdown! So what if I missed the xlb bandwagon a few years ago? I still enjoy the dangerously hot soup dumplings.
Din Tai Fung is many people’s go-to spot for these dumplings, but not me. The restaurant itself is crowded, a little too efficient, and I always feel rushed by the service there. Sure, the big window in the front that overlooks the sterile-looking dumpling wrapping station is pretty cool and it’s a good place to bring people who are new to xlb’s, but I consider this more of a tourist location.
Their standard pork dumplings are always consistent. Because the skin is so thin, they’re extra delicate, so make sure to have your chopstick skills handy. One time the BF went there, they brought him a basket of dumplings but they were all leaky with most of the soup gone! My favorite dumplings here are the combination crab and pork ones. The extra savory taste of the crab makes the soup so stand out.
Shanghai Xiao Chi is one of the other places I go to for xlb’s. The wrapper has more substance, the meat is a little gingery, and the soup is great. The xlb’s seem more homey and rustic too, so maybe that’s why I like them. The service is also pretty nice and relaxed.
Between the two, Shanghai Xiao Chi is my preferred choice. The dumplings are larger and cheaper, compared to Din Tai Fung’s smaller, more expensive ones. There’s no cool window to look into, but after seeing that once, it doesn’t really matter.
Shanghai Xiao Chi
828 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
Din Tai Fung
1108 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007-7508