We are officially addicted…..
….to Yelp…….and xiao long bao.
So when we arrived in LA, one of the first things we did was Yelp for XLB. A place that gets really good reviews is Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Arcadia, CA. A quick search in google maps revealed that our hotel in Redondo Beach put us about 40 miles from Din Tai Fung heaven. We translated this to mean 60-90 minutes of driving in LA rush hour. If we were normal, we probably would’ve just picked another 4 star restaurant on yelp within a reasonable distance. But what fun would that be!
Din Tai Fung is a well oiled machine. As soon as we arrived, a “business friendly” (i.e. friendly but ALL BUSINESS with her head set and clipboard) lady put us on the wait list. She estimated it would be about 15 mins, and it was exactly that. While we waited, we watched workers make the XLB. The assembly line consists of one dude who rolls the balls of dough into wrappers. Each wrapper is rolled into the same uniform diameter and thickness. The wrapper is then passed on to another dude who fills it with “stuff.” The crazy part is that each XLB is weighed! Even crazier is that not once did we see an XLB that wasn’t the perfect weight. These XLB artists are fast and precise!
We read the reviews of Din Tai Fung in advance, so we pretty much knew what we wanted. One order of regular pork XLB, and one order of pork & crab XLB. Our XLB arrived 10 minutes or so after we ordered. Super fast, considering it takes about 30 mins to prepare at our favorite Chinese place in Arlington.
The XLB at Din Tai Fung is AMAZEBALLS. We haven’t had XLB this good in DC/MD/VA. EVER. What made these so awesome was the filling, the soup/juice, and the skin/wrapper. Each XLB had the perfect amount of meat, so that you could gobble it in one bite. The skin was very thin, yet sturdy like a spanx in order to hold in all the good stuff! And the soup….oh the soup. It was not too hot, not too cold, but juuuuust right.
Our only regret was not ordering more (for practical reasons….we were planning to walk a few doors down to eat at another restaurant immediately after). The XLB are kinda small, so we’d recommend two orders per hungry monkey (1o XLB/order).
If I could’ve pressed the mute button on this meal, I totally would’ve. Because our performance was worthy of a call back for an Herbal Essences commercial. SO. GOOD.
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
1108 S. Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007