Location: 2049 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025. (310) 235-2089
Date: January 24, 2014
Cuisine: Taiwanese Chinese
Rating: Awesome XLB
Among lovers of Chinese food the Xia Long Bao, or XLB for short, is a particular favorite. These little thin skinned dumplings stuffed with (usually) pork and a hot broth are quite delicious. So when a friend told me than one of the managers from Din Tai Fung (an SGV Taiwanese XLB palace) had opened a place on the Westside I waited all of about 24 hours before trying it.
Here is the menu. The top left corner in the red are all variants on the XLB.
Garlic dungeness crab fried rice. garlic, egg, & green onions. This was a fabulous fried rice. There were real chunks of sweet dungeness crab in here, making it a bit like certain rice dishes I would get in Japan.
Shrimp and pork spicy dumplings. I expected a more traditional wonton in chili oil (the Schezuan classic often called “numb taste wonton.”) These were more like potstickers with sirachi. Not my favorite dish of the day, although certainly fine.
You load one of these babies on a spoon and add some sauce (usually through a small hole). This helps cool down the boiling broth inside. Then pop in your mouth for an explosion of flavor. Don’t ever bite them, you’ll just make a mess — rookie mistake.
Chinese mustard greens sautéed with ginger. I think they mean steamed with ginger, because these were close to just steamed greens. They are what they are, but being a fat is flavor man, they didn’t do it for me.
Baby bok choy. Sauteed with garlic & shitake mushrooms. Better than the Chinese greens for sure, these had some actual flavor.
Overall, the XLB (all 3) and the fried rice made this meal. I want to try some of the other things on the menu, and next time I will, but my brother and I polished off all this just the two of us — that’s 15 dumplings each! I’d be perfectly happy to come in myself and order some rice and a steamer (or two) of XLB. Yum yum!
The menu is a little smaller than Din Tai Fung. The dumplings were just as good, but I miss a few of the other dishes at DTF: like the noodles, hot & sour, and chili wontons — but Roc is about 40 minutes closer, right in my hood, so I’ll be going a lot!