Address: 175 Commander Road, Unit 1
Type of Meal: Dinner
Xiao Long Bao, the phonetic spelling for soup filled dumplings, is the new branch of Ding Tai Fung located in Scarborough. Situated in the newly developed portion of Chartwell Centre, there’s plenty of space with tons of tables and a comfortable distance between each.
However, being a newer restaurant (opened in June) their operations require fine tuning. The first two dishes served were incorrect – the wrong meat with the noodles and two orders of the steamed dumplings when we only ordered one. But, the staff were apologetic and quickly rectified the situation so the small mishaps were negligible.
You can’t come to Xiao Long Bao without ordering their namesake product - steamed pork soup dumplings ($5.99 for 6). It’s a skill testing dish as the wrapper needs to be translucent yet strong enough to hold the filling and its juices.
Xiao Long Bao passed the test as the dumpling could be picked up without breaking. It was juicier than most and had a nice balanced saltiness to it. All in all, a good version of the dish.
However, what was most impressive was their pan-fried pork dumplings ($5.99 for 5). Arriving crusty side down the plain white dough appeared lackluster, but upon turning the dumpling over you're greeted with a lovely golden crust. Using the same pork mixture as the steamed dumplings, these also stayed sealed capturing a fair amount of juices inside.
The soy sauced braised beef noodles in soup ($7.99) had delicious chewy noodles and tender beef. Garnished with Shanghai baby bok choy and green onions with a dish of minced preserved vegetable on the side to add another salty element if you so desire. The broth was rich and flavourful, if only it were hotter the noodles would have been even better.
For you information, pictured below is the beef tendon version of the same noodle. I managed to snap a picture before realizing it wasn’t what we ordered.
To round out the meal an order of stir fried Chinese broccoli with garlic ($9.50). It was well trimmed, crisp and fresh. Surprisingly, their vegetable dishes tended to be more expensive than others (an entire bowl of noodles is only $8). But, the portion size was decent and only the top thin tender portion of the Chinese broccoli was served.
Overall, Xiao Long Bao offers tasty renditions of traditional Shanghainese comfort food. Their Chinese only menu may make it harder to order (likely they have an English cheat sheet); luckily, I had my mom to help with ordering. I do enjoy their large restaurant offering comfortable seating and plenty of tables so chances are you won’t need to wait.
Overall mark - 7 out of 10
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Gastro World's Grading System
- Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
- 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
- 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
- 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
- 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
- 10 - absolute perfection!