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Last week I stopped at Famous Dumpling House for a solo lunch when passing through San Jose. Noodles are handmade in-house and dumplings are wrapped fresh to-order. Customers mark off selections on the plastic laminated menus to order.
Best bites were the Pork and crab xiao long bao, $12.95/8 pieces. Very thin, firmish skins that can hold a generous amount of glycerined pork stock, were delicately pleated with more folds than anyone but Din Tai Fung. No leaks. The pork filling was not too compact and not too loose, just the right texture for me, rich in flavor with the right amount of fattiness and not sugary. The crab was not noticeable other than that it probably lightened up the texture somewhat and maybe amplified the natural sweetness of the pork. These were very good and I'd order them again happily.
Hot oil noodles, $9.50, a meatless version made with medium-wide wheat noodles was intensely fiery and complex with dried chiles, diced tomato, garlic and scallions. The noodles were a bit on the gummy side and not quite chewy, just a touch overcooked.
Shandong-style pan fried buns aka shui jian bao, $12.95/6 pieces, have a lighter bread dough than Shanghainese shen jian bao and feature a delicate crisp halo and light browning, instead of a heavier brown crust. The pork filling's not as heavy either, lightened with minced vegetables. The filling shrank quite a bit from the shell of the bread wrapper with little in the way of juice. Somewhat on the bland side, I probably would have enjoyed these more with some chile oil. But I didn't add any hot condiments because I'd already flamed out on the noodles.
Burmese tea leaf salad, $11.95, was another meatless item. Mostly cabbage with little fermented tea leaf and missing lemon juice as well as the variety of crunchy additions, this was pretty disappointing. I asked the chef if he had lived in Burma. He laughed and said his friend is from Burma.
Famous Dumpling House deserves to be more well-known and on the path to fame. The XLB will definitely bring me back.
Famous Dumpling House
4996 Stevens Creek Blvd
San Jose, CA
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