Xiao Long Bao Kitchen, South SF

by foodhoe on October 30, 2012

331 Grand Avenue, South SF | 650.589.8188 | facebook

After sampling the xiao long bao or Shanghai Soup Dumplings at Din Tai Fung earlier this month, I have been obsessed with thoughts of the tender juicy soup filled parcels. My friends Daisy, and P recommended a spot near to their home in the south city called Xiao Long Bao Kitchen, where we met for lunch last weekend. The specialty of the house was the object of my obsessed and tortured taste buds, so great efforts were made to fast-track this spot into our eating agenda. We got there early (11 am) on Sunday, and I was pleased to be seated in a cozy booth by the front window. Most of the tables were empty when we got there but it began to fill up as our meal progressed.

I hadn’t seen either Daisy, P or Jaytee in a while, so we had much catching up to do before we placed our order. It felt that we randomly selected a bunch of dishes without really thinking of our overall meal plan but the dumplings were very good so it was all right that we had four or five plates of similar dumplings. We began with the Salty Rice Roll ($3), made from sweet sticky rice rolled up around shredded pork floss and a fried donut! We were off to a very good start…  The rolls are encased in plastic wrap and not very exciting to look at, but once you unwrap them and bite into the sticky sweet rice, your mouth is flooded with the intoxicatingly rich flavors of fried bread blended with dry, fluffy, finely shredded pork that melts on your tongue like cotton candy seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.

We shared an order of the house specialty, Xiao Long Bao, made with crab and pork filling, 8 pieces for $8.95. Compared to the ones we had at Din Tai Fung, these were gigantic and barely fit into the spoon. But they were delicious, the wraps were tender and they were full of rich broth. Jaytee said that she thought these were some of the best she’s had in the SF Bay Area (but they couldn’t compete with Joe’s Shanghai in NYC which I have yet to try)… The broth in these are richer than at Din Tai Fung, and the dumplings are larger overall.

Plump and meaty with the rich pork broth, the dumplings are a perfectly match for the pungent flavor of the soy sauce and shredded ginger.

Spicy Wontons (6 to an order) $5.95 were big and full of garlicy meat, the sauce was rich and had an lovely creamy texture and nutty flavor from sesame paste.

Beijing Style Boiled with Chive Dumplings (8 pieces) for $5.95 tasted pretty much just like the spicy wontons when I spooned the spicy sauce over it.

We received several shallow bowls filled with different sauces. This was a soy, vinegar, chili oil mixture with chopped fresh chives. It was excellent on everything, well suited for all of the dumplings.

JT had to try the Extra Large Xiao Long Bao ($2.50), which takes an extra 20 minutes.

It was quite large, 5 or 6 inches in diameter, a mountain of dumpling topped with craggy peaks and rough hewn pleats that didn’t quite meet in the center, a volcano dumpling! It was delicious but with a completely different proportion of meat to wrapper to soup ratio.

I adore the crisped bottoms of panfried Potstickers ($5.95), and so we shared an order of these.

an instagram moment

The Steamed Threaded Bread ($3) was a large, fluffy pillowy, airy and light and filled with textural amazements. Steamed silver thread buns are made by rolling the dough into thin strips, which are then wrapped inside a large, thin piece of dough skin and steam cooked.

It came with a bowl of sweetened condensed milk to dip it in, which we enjoyed for dessert.

Mr. K wasn’t able to join us for this meal, so I got an order to go to bring back home for him. We had plans to go onto a mexican market which is famous for its chicharrones and carnitas, but I got hit by a car while crossing a pedestrian crosswalk on the way back from dropping off the dumplings in my car! The car slowed down and I assumed it was going to stop so I kept on walking and much to my dismay, the car kept going and knocked me over. The rest of the afternoon was spent at the ER where I was tended to and released with crutches and a footbrace, glad that it wasn’t more serious. The moral of the story is wait til the car stops. The car will always trump the ped… And even so, I am coming back for more of those XLB!

Xiao Long Bao Kitchen on Urbanspoon

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa October 30, 2012 at 8:14 am

Mouthwatering! I particularly like the dessert….




Cookie October 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

It’s been such a long time since I’d seen those rice rolls with the fried donut inside! I remember eating them as a kid with my parents at Dim Sum places. I remember we’d always get the savory ones with the shredded pork and also the sweet ones with the bean paste. VERY yum!


foodhoe November 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

Cookie, I loved that roll, it was the most interesting kind of sushi ever! Sweet ones filled with bean paste sound awesome!


Ben @Focus:Snap:Eat October 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

I’ve been obsessed with XLB lately too, mostly because I read your last post on Din Tai Fung!!! LOL This looks like another place I have to visit when I have access to a car, since it sounds kind of out of the way from mass transit. Everything looked good, and that fried sticky rice roll sounds unusual (I’ve never seen it before). … Ouch, sorry about your accident. Hope that doesn’t slow you down from your eating outings! I’ve found cars around here never yields to pedestrians. (In Hawaii, we grew up always believing the pedestrians have the right of way. Apparently that’s not so in California.)


Row October 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Oh no! Hope you are doing okay… darn drivers. :S
I keep prowling the Chinese restaurants over here for XLB, but no dice so far. The XLB at this restaurant look especially tasty and the salty rice roll sounds like a lovely combo of taste and texture… awesome!


Michelle October 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I was drooling while reading the post! I’ve definitely got it on my list to eat. Thanks for the find!


Karen October 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hell yeah for the XLBs. And a big OH NO for the accident! Hope you are recovering quickly.


foodhoe November 4, 2012 at 7:39 am

Hey Karen, nice to hear from you! Yes, I’m up and running about.


Kirk November 5, 2012 at 7:27 am

Hi FH – Nice variety. Funny thing, I think I’m the only person in the entire world who doesn’t like ci fan tuan with rousong…..


foodhoe November 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Kirk, is that the sticky rice roll? totally don’t know the lingo!


Kirk November 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Yes that’s the glutinous rice roll with pork sung….everyone I know loves it….but for some reason, I just can’t get into it.


hungry dog November 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Foodhoe! I loved this post until I got to the end about your accident. You poor thing. I am glad it was not more serious, but still. Did the car stop at ALL?

Now, about this place. I need to get there–soon. I got completely ravenous reading this post. I’m a fan of any dumpling, any time.


Christine February 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

how did it compare to ding tai fung?


foodhoe February 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Christine, din tai fung overall is the better restaurant, but the XLB here were really very good, full of rich pork broth… and I still dream about those crazy gauzy potstickers at din tai fung!


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