February Weekend Rundown (2016)

I was in Kansas City for the last half-week through Sunday, which I chronicled for anyone who has nothing better or more engaging to read through: Kansas City, MO - #4 by President_Mochi

Returned to LA Sunday, and had to run an errand near Sawtelle, so stopped into ROC Kitchen for dinner. First time there, but I will be going back.

  • Pork Dumplings - Almost ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t yet made the voyage out to SGV, so I’m still green on the dumpling scene. I thought these were tasty, though. Had a sweetness that I didn’t expect and liked. Probably from the vinegar, I s’pose.
  • Pan-fried Veggie Dumplings - Solid.
  • Scallion Pancakes - Maybe shouldn’t have gotten these AND the pan-fried dumplings, but I still really liked 'em.
  • String Beans - Enjoyed these a lot. Good crunch and nice flavor. Appreciated that they weren’t drowning in dressing.
  • Three Cup Chicken - Really good flavor. Saved some for leftovers, which I’m looking forward to.

Overall, from the sounds of it, I’m sure there are better version of this genre of food in SVG and elsewhere, but I thought everything at ROC tasted like a good version of the blah chinese that I grew up with and didn’t really care for, so I’m looking forward to continuing my xiao long bao-ducation.

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In 'N Out 3x3 Animal Style extra pickles extra toast


This is actually perhaps the best description I have ever seen for ROC.

Question: do you use the phrase “pork dumplings” and xiao long bao (XLB) interchangeably? I really didn’t like the XLB at ROC at all (only went once, shortly after it opened), but I’ve never had pork dumplings (jao zi) there.

So here’s my pic from Beni-Tora:

I made a whole new post b/c I wanted to also add my dessert from Sunday lunch (below). I noticed a few kids running around the local Souplantation w/ these mini ice-cream cones + soft serve, and I couldn’t help but get one myself. It’s everything I love about soft serve + cone in a totally guilt-free size (about the length of my thumb). :slight_smile:


Oops. Yeah, as I wrote it, I meant “pork dumplings” = XLB.

To be honest, I don’t have much point of reference for where ROC’s would sit on the XLB scale of goodness as my XLB knowledge is limited. I can imagine that the may pale in comparison to other places’ offerings, but for what it’s worth, I liked 'em, and they got me excited to try more.

As luck would have it, secretasianman recently did a round up of XLB in the SGV:

I do personally refer to XLB and jao zi as “dumplings,” although, to avoid confusion, perhaps better to use the two different terms here?

bao is a bao, dumpling is a dumpling. don’t be white, or alt lopez.

there is a key difference that whites, except PIGMON, don’t understand.

but even in shanghai, they translate xlb into english as soup ‘dumpling’. semantically, they’re more dumpling than bun to me. if i were a judge on jeopardy, i would accept either answer.

SJB’s are buns to me because the dough is more bread like.

Re-read what you just wrote right now. Who’s reading English in Shanghai? Who’s eating at XLB shacks with English translations?

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i stand by my point. the issue is semantic vs literal translation. displace your hatred elsewhere.

I agree. Places like Mama Lu’s, Dean Sin World, or even DTF translate XLBs as pork dumplings.

we call jiaozi (饺子) dumplings and nobody argues with that.

try describing zongzi (粽子) literally as a dumpling and people will not recognize them when placed in front of them. but describe them as chinese tamales and people get it.

it’s not hatred; (all) the translations are wrong, no matter how many people may have used it. there is clear distinction between cooking process (and ingredients) for dumpling vs bun/bao which renders the 2 items different products and not substitutable.

No one in China calls xiao long bao a xiao long jiao. That’s the point.
Spread proper knowledge like the Japanese do of their food.

I consider this matter closed.

so who wants to explain to us dumbasses what’s the technical difference between a bao and a dumpling? Cuz an XLB most certainly looks more dumpling than bao, and yes I recognize that the B in XLB = bao.

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Man, am I glad most Asian menus have pictures to point to :yum:


Not really. Plenty of steamed dumplings out there (see dim sum dumplings and DTF steamed shrimp and pork dumplings).

The exterior for XLB is more akin to dumplings than the thicker more bread-like bao.

The filling in XLB is finer and more similar to dumplings than any bao (no char siu or vermicelli going into XLB).

Basically it comes down to nomenclature and the shape more than anything else about ingredient and cooking process. Especially if you consider shenjian bao are panfried and not steamed.

A very similar “jiao” versus “bao” name battle was fought a few year back on Chowhound, if memory serves. I recall being very passionate on the topic back then, but the patina of time has tempered my views, I suppose…

My original take (which I still adhere to) is that if the dough-outside-with-meat-inside “thing” has a somewhat circular base, it’s a bao. Otherwise, it’s a jiao (especially if it looks “empanada”-ish)… And as I translate it, jiao is dumplings, not bao. Bao, as I translate it, is just bao in my book.

I need an Excedrin…

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It’s the same people making the same arguments :wink:

We all like dropping The Knowledge, which is fun and what makes this board interesting, but “XLB: is it dumpling or bao” is Clarissa Wei level dropping knowledge. It’s really not that earth shattering and probably insignificant.

Shumai would be bao under that description. Your definition works if you add the pleated/pinched top in addition to the circular base. Wikipedia it and lets meet up for tempura (or is it tenpura?) at Seiju in Tokyo.

Which is what my parents (who are both ethnically Chinese, grew up in Taiwan, and who both use “dumplings” for XLB and jiao zi when they choose to use English) would also probably say.

But, to @TonyC, for those us who are not well-versed in the cooking process and ingredients, what ARE the differences (genuine question)? For me, jiao zi are boiled; XLB and bao are steamed. As Porthos points out, though, the wrapper of a XLB really seems more similar to a jiao zi than a bao (the latter of which seems more bready and substantial to me). For filling, it’s hard for me to say. They both seem like ground up pork mixed w/ a few other ingredients. ::shrug:: What else am I missing? And what are the literally (or figurative) translations for the Mandarin that would help us to differentiate?

Don’t forget Guotie.