Whaaaat? Santa Cruz? Love that town and great ethnic food now?
Gyoza, Tentenyu, Culver City
They serve them upside down, with a thin, crispy… something stuck to the gyoza. I’ve never seen this before. It didn’t taste particularly interesting. It was as though someone let some flour floating around int the fryer get stuck to the dumplings and thought it looked cool. And they were greasy as heck.
However, the filling was really good. Juicy and light and delicately flavored. Really good. Just peel off the flour thing, blot with napkins, and maybe a few drops of the dipping sauce for acidity, to cut the oil you weren’t able to blot.
Very common to see Chinese Dumplings done like that.
One of the posters on our old CH Board, the Jeopardy Champion Jerome, was always in search of Chinese dumplings that were “Siamesed” by that intervening crunchy bit.
101 Noodle Express
Fox Hills Mall Food Court
Pork Soup Dumplings
You know what… they’re better than standing around Sephora.
picture from Yelp
Beef roll is the fo’shiznitz to order there…
It’s what I call ‘potsticker socarrat’, which is the boiled-down au jus of the dumplings from the pan. You get this with shenjianbao quite a bit as well. It’s a sign of legit-ness.
Huh. Well just color me “ignorant American”.
Pas du tout! Your street cred is strong on this board. We are all here to chat food!
Shanghai Dumpling House
I remember hearing about this place from @secretasianman a while back, so we bookmarked it. Finally made it out to try their various dishes.
Cucumber in Sauce:
Hilarious name for the commonly found marinated Cucumbers with Garlic (there’s no “Sauce”), they were crisp and cool, and a straightforward version. It tasted fine, lightly garlicky and salted.
Shanghai Style Chow Mein:
Slick, piping hot, simple saute of a thicker style Noodle with Bok Choy and Marinated Pork, it tasted fine, albeit a little greasy.
Green Onion Pancake:
They arrived right out of the wok, crispy and hot and quite tasty! But then after a few minutes of cooling off, they got significantly worse (tasting slightly doughy, not as crispy), and oily. In the end, I think they were OK, but not great after the initial first few bites.
Juicy Pork Dumpling (Xiao Long Bao):
Known on the menu as “Juicy Pork Dumpling,” these are their specialty item, essentially the Shanghai Soup Dumpling known as “XLB” or “Xiao Long Bao.”
Taking a bite, and they were quite good! (I was expecting to be let down because so many places make a mediocre version of this dish.) I’d agree with BarryC @secretasianman, that these were quite respectable.
They are a medium-thickness type of XLB, so fans of Din Tai Fung’s super thin, delicate XLB might be thrown off by this.
But after Mei Long Village’s inconsistent visits, if you’re in the mood for a more rustic, medium-thick Xiao Long Bao, then give this one a try.
The Broth and Ground Pork filling was nicely balanced, not too salty, and delicious enough.
Handmade Pork and Napa Dumpling:
We also tried an order of the Handmade Dumplings (real water-boiled “Dumplings”). These were thick-skinned Dumplings, with a hefty chew to them, with the Marinated Ground Pork and Napa Cabbage tasting fine, but it wasn’t anything that blew us away.
Looking at the menu back home, I had forgotten the other reason we wanted to go there, so off we went for another visit to try it (we tried other places in the area also to make the drive worth it).
Seaweed in Spicy Sauce:
A little dry (just a bit), these were lightly spicy, a touch too salty, but nice and chilled.
Spicy Pig Stomach:
Our friend who joined us loves offal, so we had to order this. Their Spicy Pig Stomach had some decent heat from the Chili Oil, and this was also served chilled. Overall not bad.
Salted Egg Yolk & Pork Dumplings:
And the reason we made a 2nd trip, I remembered @ipsedixit mentioning that this place had Salted Duck Egg Yolk Shanghai Soup Dumplings! That sounded really intriguing so we had to try it.
It had the same nicely balanced, crave-worthy Marinated Ground Pork & Broth base, but each XLB had a noticeable back note of Salted Duck Egg Yolk. Thankfully it wasn’t too salty either, just an interesting, additional savory component from the rich Salted Duck Egg Yolk. We’d order these again.
Pork & Shepherd’s Purse Wontons:
They also serve Handmade Shanghai-style Wontons, with Marinated Ground Pork and Shepherd’s Purse, which gave it a nice herbally flavor in each bite. The Broth was light and we enjoyed these more than their Boiled Dumplings.
Pan Fried Dumplings:
Their Potstickers or Pan-Fried Dumplings were less successful. Still with the thicker Dumpling skin, their wok frying skills weren’t so good, giving each Dumpling barely any searing (so it was barely any crisp-crunch). We’d skip these next time.
Rice Balls in Fermented Rice Soup:
These were really just insipid. I don’t use that word very often, but this dessert was so mediocre, so uninspired, and there was almost no fragrance from the flowers. The Rice Balls were of decent chew and doughiness, but the filling was barely there (only a tiny bit of Black Sesame). @paranoidgarliclover would be sad.
Overall, I think we’d go back to Shanghai Dumpling House for their very respectable, medium-thick-style Shanghai Soup Dumplings (or Xiao Long Bao (XLB)). Their standard version is great, listed on the menu as “Juicy Pork Dumpling”, or their distinct Salted Egg Yolk Soup Dumplings, listed on the menu “Salted Egg Yolk & Pork Dumpling.”
Their Shanghai-style Pork & Shepherd’s Purse Wontons were also tasty.
Shanghai Dumpling House
227 W. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Tel: (626) 282-1348
sounds like they’ve changed someone in back; the skins on their XLB used to be fairly thin but with no leakage. this saddens me.
Had these veal dumplings t Recess Room in Fountain Valley. Basically veal ravioli. Nice flavor on the filling and the sauce…
I also hit A&J with some friends last week for lunch. Great potstickers. IMO, the wontons in spicy sauce are better at DTF, but they were very good here.
This has most definitely been noted for the next Nordstrom Rack entrapment.
I have no idea what just said. But I gave you a thumbs up because it seemed great.
Okay, call me persnickety. But isn’t it kind of cheating to list things you ate months ago? The fun and challenge is to seek and go to as many places as you can in a month.
I dig that posters occasionally post some delight they found after the month is over, but…
you can if you like. my search is what it is. sometimes the times overlap/coincide. sometimes they don’t. on the overall literal meter, i’ve noted what i’d consider similarly egregious violations of intent but if folks want to know what’s available and recent so as to try them themselves, i’d hate to think that whether an arbitrary time lapse must or must not occur somehow overrides that.
What ever the case… The pix and posts are a good foundation for this DOTM.
No pics but wonton soup from Song Phat in Canoga Park. So good and so cheap; its on my regular pickup rotation.
Of course, everyone is free to post the way they like… I guess. I’ve noticed this is your thing. Just thought it was worth mentioning. Carry on.
Hah! I feel just the opposite, especially on this one. It’s an odd feeling too because I’m used to agreeing with everything you say (write).