More than year's gone by since a disappointing batch of xlb at Shanghai Dumpling Shop and I was ready to try it again. Tuesday's lunch was an order of the crab meat xiao long bao ($8.95). This was much, much better.
I giggled when the lid was removed from the steamer. The xlb were all different sizes and shapes, guess that's the mark of the artisan. They were pleated differently than my earlier visit or maybe there's a difference from the plain pork variety. These are actually filled mostly with pork and some crab meat. The small amount of crab lightens the filling, making it softer and much sweeter. Where the crab makes its mark is in the extremely tasty soup. The deliciously briny and ungreasy soup, stained the bright orange color of crustacean distillate, explodes with the sweet and intense flavor of crab. While the top knots were oddly stiff and tough, the wrappers were very thin and tender. Luckily, only one burst.