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Where To Find LA's Best Chinese Soup Dumplings

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eaterla2008_10_hasmaps.jpgFolks all over the planet line up for Din Tai Fung's xiao long bao or little Chinese soup dumplings. With the fourth branch of Din Tai Fung set to open at South Coast Plaza, more and more Angelenos will be tempted to line up for their meticulously folded buns. After all, they squirt, they burn, they amuse, they demand instructional videos. Herewith are some great places to eat xiao long bao in Los Angeles that aren't Din Tai Fung.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

P.P. Pop

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This is the joint to slay your post-clubbing xiao long bao craving. The house-wrapped baos are available until 1:00 AM on the weekends. The soy sauce aspic squirts prodigiously out of thin wrapper. For $4 this is the best 8 XLB you can have.

Shanghai Dumpling House

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This shop relocated from Monrovia. The sign clearly state it’s a Nan Xiang (famous for being birth place of XLB)-style XLB, which means it attemps to resemble the baos at Yuyuan Garden (Shanghai) with its thin skin and extremely juicy interior. Prices hovers in the middle of the market; a great rendition.

Fortune No.1

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The restaurant known for fluffy steamed buns also has great xiao long bao. It's $5 for 10 and the simple, freshly wrapped xiao long bao has a thicker wrapper. The soupiness ranks top five in SGV.

Shanghailander Palace

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Shanghailander's complex dumplings tastes of pork with a hint of ginger and scallion. There’s plentiful juice, but not enough to overwhelm a bite. Here the XLB droops nicely and is wrapped fresh; a top 3 contender.

Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

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The best place to order xiao long bao during dimsum hours is here, for obvious reasons (see: the name). These are the platonic ideal of xiao long bao, not too soupy, not too many, not overpriced, not too thin.

J & J / Jin Jian Restaurant

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Crab xiao long bao is cheap and soupy here. Skin is thin, not quiet DTF thin, but the seafoody XLB has become a mainstay and a benchmark in the SGV.

Yi Mei

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The second and more modern branch of Yi Mei is couple of miles away from Din Tai Fung. When the weekend brunch wait at DTF is simply unacceptable, venture to Yi Mei for some solid xiao long bao, wash it down with the excellent fresh soy milk. If that’s still not enough, one can always default to the fun Taiwanese sticky rice "burrito".

Mandarin Chateau

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Chinatown's best XLB option is right here. It compares rather favorably with SGV middlings. Apparently all the Miss Chinatowns patronize Mandarin Chateau for soup dumplings.

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

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Here, XLB are served in individual foils, and one can get them at 8 a.m. Before the arrival of Shanghai No. 1, Seafood Harbor used to serve the best XLB in SGV at a dimsum house.

Shangdong Dumpling

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It's $6 for 8 flavorful tasty, balanced, slightly salty with no soup at all. Some people really like little buns with no porky jus. This is perfect for those people.

Mama's Lu Dumpling House

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Out of all the branches of Mama's Lu Dumpling, this is the most spacious. The recipe here is the same as all others: porky soupy dumplings with the unmistakeble taste of chicken bouillon. Still, people love it. The hot and sour soup is also tremendous.

ROC dumplings has nearly types of xiao long bao fillings, more than any other restaurant in LA. The prices are definitely Westside, but not one single UCLA student is complaining.

Kuan's Restaurant 悦來

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Kuan's runs a permanent buy-one-get-one special on xiao long baos. $7 gets 2 baskets, so 8 xlb for $3.5. Better bring someone unless you want to eat nothing but xlb. Only 9 folds here, there is a hint of soupiness, but the rustic dough lacks opagueness and bounce.

Kang Kang Food Court - Shau May

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This is an honorary xiao long bao inclusion. They do not wrap their own, and sometimes the top of the folds get a bit dried from being oversteamed. but if anyone’s jonsing for ten xiao long baos at 10: P.M., this is the quickest option. Just try to not touch the tables.

Giang Nan

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Giang Nan sells perhaps the most famous crab meat XLB in SGV, and every xiao long bao sits on napa cabbage. For a comfortable sit-down basket of baos, Giang Nan still delivers.

Wang Xing Ji

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The "sweet" XLB here borders cloying, and can put a diabetic go into hyperglycemia. Stick to the regular, which actually isn't too extraordinary. The mini baos aren’t too porky, tastes of scallions, and are moderately soupy. They're freshly wrapped showing 16 pleats, just shy of Din Tai Fung. A basket of 8 is $6 and arrives in 8 minutes flat.

101 Noodle Express

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The Arcadia branch of 101 Noodle Express is walkable from either branch of Din Tai Fung. If you don’t mind a side of stilted service with cheap xiao long baos almost in the style of Din Tai Feng, try this instead.

The Palace Chinese Restaurant

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XLB here has the gummy texture of an overboiled dumpling. The inconsistent prep means some will have soup, others hardly at all. However, the fact that one can get soup dumplings in Los Feliz should make anyone listening to the comedy open mic while drinking mai tais feel rather hipster smug.

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P.P. Pop

This is the joint to slay your post-clubbing xiao long bao craving. The house-wrapped baos are available until 1:00 AM on the weekends. The soy sauce aspic squirts prodigiously out of thin wrapper. For $4 this is the best 8 XLB you can have.

Shanghai Dumpling House

This shop relocated from Monrovia. The sign clearly state it’s a Nan Xiang (famous for being birth place of XLB)-style XLB, which means it attemps to resemble the baos at Yuyuan Garden (Shanghai) with its thin skin and extremely juicy interior. Prices hovers in the middle of the market; a great rendition.

Fortune No.1

The restaurant known for fluffy steamed buns also has great xiao long bao. It's $5 for 10 and the simple, freshly wrapped xiao long bao has a thicker wrapper. The soupiness ranks top five in SGV.

Shanghailander Palace

Shanghailander's complex dumplings tastes of pork with a hint of ginger and scallion. There’s plentiful juice, but not enough to overwhelm a bite. Here the XLB droops nicely and is wrapped fresh; a top 3 contender.

Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

The best place to order xiao long bao during dimsum hours is here, for obvious reasons (see: the name). These are the platonic ideal of xiao long bao, not too soupy, not too many, not overpriced, not too thin.

J & J / Jin Jian Restaurant

Crab xiao long bao is cheap and soupy here. Skin is thin, not quiet DTF thin, but the seafoody XLB has become a mainstay and a benchmark in the SGV.

Yi Mei

The second and more modern branch of Yi Mei is couple of miles away from Din Tai Fung. When the weekend brunch wait at DTF is simply unacceptable, venture to Yi Mei for some solid xiao long bao, wash it down with the excellent fresh soy milk. If that’s still not enough, one can always default to the fun Taiwanese sticky rice "burrito".

Mandarin Chateau

Chinatown's best XLB option is right here. It compares rather favorably with SGV middlings. Apparently all the Miss Chinatowns patronize Mandarin Chateau for soup dumplings.

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

Here, XLB are served in individual foils, and one can get them at 8 a.m. Before the arrival of Shanghai No. 1, Seafood Harbor used to serve the best XLB in SGV at a dimsum house.

Shangdong Dumpling

It's $6 for 8 flavorful tasty, balanced, slightly salty with no soup at all. Some people really like little buns with no porky jus. This is perfect for those people.

Mama's Lu Dumpling House

Out of all the branches of Mama's Lu Dumpling, this is the most spacious. The recipe here is the same as all others: porky soupy dumplings with the unmistakeble taste of chicken bouillon. Still, people love it. The hot and sour soup is also tremendous.

ROC

ROC dumplings has nearly types of xiao long bao fillings, more than any other restaurant in LA. The prices are definitely Westside, but not one single UCLA student is complaining.

Kuan's Restaurant 悦來

Kuan's runs a permanent buy-one-get-one special on xiao long baos. $7 gets 2 baskets, so 8 xlb for $3.5. Better bring someone unless you want to eat nothing but xlb. Only 9 folds here, there is a hint of soupiness, but the rustic dough lacks opagueness and bounce.

Kang Kang Food Court - Shau May

This is an honorary xiao long bao inclusion. They do not wrap their own, and sometimes the top of the folds get a bit dried from being oversteamed. but if anyone’s jonsing for ten xiao long baos at 10: P.M., this is the quickest option. Just try to not touch the tables.

Giang Nan

Giang Nan sells perhaps the most famous crab meat XLB in SGV, and every xiao long bao sits on napa cabbage. For a comfortable sit-down basket of baos, Giang Nan still delivers.