>> Long Xing Ji Juicy Dumpling | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 12 May 2019

Long Xing Ji Juicy Dumpling

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ CHINA (Jiangsu)

EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (13 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
Besides some of the pastel colors and that distinctly Californian-Mediterranean-ish architecture beloved by mall planners, it would be easy to imagine yourself in the suburbs of a Chinese city here in San Gabriel Square. The large mall is anchored by Focus Department Store and 99 Ranch Market, but more fun are the multiple staircases and landings, not quite an Escher experience but still providing a lot of options for navigating from place to place.

The other restaurants here offer the cuisines and experiences from Cantonese barbecue to Guilin noodles to hot pot. There are so many storefronts that you often see turnover and new openings are constant. Bake Code, which we visited in January, recently changed hands and turned into a Chatime.

Long Xing Ji did something similar a few years back, as the space was occupied by a chain from Wuxi in Jiangsu province called Wang Xing Ji. When it made the switch it was because of a change in ownership, but the menu stayed the same and still features the same favorites from that city just northwest of Shanghai. Approaching the menu for the first time is best done by selecting dishes that say "Wuxi-style" in the name or have a thumbs up icon next to them, or both like the Wuxi-style spare ribs.

Another reason people come here is for enormous soup dumplings like the juicy pork & crab bun ($6.69, below), which comes in the size and shape of a heat bag. But do not under any circumstances try to pick this up and heal your pains, the dough is so thin it will burst under its own weight before it gets to the top of its steamer.

They of course know this and bring straws for everyone at the table. The fatty juices must be sucked out before you try anything else. Fail with this one rule, and most of your soup will inhabit the shallow plate underneath.

To get here in the first place, the dumpling has to be constructed inside the steamer, first by laying the sheet of homemade dough, pressed out as thin as possible by the skilled crew which can be seen through a window in the dining room. After this the ground pork and crab can be spread at the bottom and topped with the "soup" which has been cooled and gelatinized. When steamed, this will of course become soup again, but this time concealed within the dumpling which has been securely wrapped and sealed at the top.


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