Friday, December 28, 2007

Mei Love You Long Time

REMINDER: Blog Party #3 is being planned! Join the fun!

Destination:
Mei Long Village (301 W Valley Blvd., San Gabriel).
Operatives: Lilcee, tater, Wan, and yours truly
Mission: Introduce Wan to the deliciousness that are xiao long bao.

Background: Xiao long bao ("XLB") are scrumptious little pockets of juicy goodness. The approximate translation is "little basket buns," as the large mouthful-sized dumplings are traditionally steamed in bamboo steamers, although nowadays many restaurants use metal steamers.

XLB originated in Shanghai and began as snack food (hence their continuing popularity at modern-day dim sum), but they are now also regularly eaten as full meals. XLB are sometimes referred to as "soup dumplings" by non-Asians because of the wonderful abundance of savory meaty juice that bursts in your mouth when you puncture the delicate skin of an XLB.

But don't call them soup dumplings. You'll sound like a know-nothing. Call them xiao long bao. It's really not that hard to do. Just do it.

Evidence:
Pork XLB and accompanying vinegar and bamboo. Juicy. Delicate. Yum. We got two steamers of these. Our second steamer was better than the first.

Crab and pork XLB. Not quite as good as the pork. A bit fishy.

Vegetable bao. These are the traditional types of bao most Westerners envision when they hear the word. (In reality, XLB are more like dumplings than bao.) These were the duds of the meal. The outside was decently fluffy, but the flavor of the filling was sorely lacking. Bland. Uninteresting. Don't bother with these. Just get more XLB.

Potstickers. Tasty, but nothing to write home about. Again, just get more XLB.

After all this, we still had room for more. Hey, those li'l suckers were small! We headed to the Beard Papa's in the same strip mall. Convenience at its finest.

Fun holiday packaging.

And what is there to say about Beard Papa's that you don't already know? The magical combination of sweet luscious vanilla bean cream and fresh flaky pastry continues to delight.

It seems that Wan enjoyed her foray into the world of XLB. Mission accomplished!

11 comments:

  1. Yum! Sounds like I missed out!

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  2. I need to start a franchise of BP in OC.

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  3. True story. The first time I popped a XLB into my mouth, I wasn't prepared for the hot juicy goodness. It was so hot I had no choice but to spit it out onto the floor. They should come with instructions. Dangerous, but oh so tasty!

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  4. the xlb looks YUMMMalicious. i was lucky enough to live with 4 taiwanese girls in college who had moms that drove out to our house and brought us tasty goodies like these. :-)

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  5. Fun! And I loved the creative approach of this post. :)

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  6. loved it.

    and i may have blogged first, but you, as always, blogged best.

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  7. ooh, i love mei long village (but not as much as DTF). their kelp fish is out of control. i had my share of good chinese food this weekend, too. dim sum at full house in arcadia and 101 noodle express (MUST get their beef roll).

    hehe "santa beard papa". i always say that beard papa is what santa does when it's not christmas. his summer job.

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  8. I like the fun holiday packaging at BP. :)

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