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Restaurants & Bars

Hunting for XLBs/Ding Sheng Restaurant Milpitas (longish)

Karen | Oct 5, 200210:03 PM     8

In a continuing quest for the definitive Xiao Long Bao (aka XLB) Yimster, Han Lukitoh, Tanspace, Derek and RWCFOODIE met at Ding Sheng Restaurant, 636 Barber Lane, Milpitas for a Shanghainese lunch on Wednesday, 10/2. This restaurant is in a mini-mall about a half block south of the large mall anchored by a Ranch 99 Market on Barber Lane. It sits almost directly beneath a branch of the ABC Restaurant empire. Other dishes ordered included Braised pork shank, Shanghai stir-fried noodles, Fish head soup in a clay pot, Chicken feet in wine sauce, Braised eel and garlic in a clay pot, Chou dofu "stinky tofu", Pea shoots, and Bifentang shrimp and eggplant which was described as a Hong Kong specialty. The group worked their way through the dishes and made the following observations: XLBs - wrappers were too thick and doughy, very little soup, Yimster felt that the texture of the filling was not good; I didn't know any better and thought they were tasty. Pork Shank - Generally regarded as very good but meat could have been more moist; the sauce rated high marks. Shanghai stir-fried noodles got poor marks; remarks included that they were "not right". Fish head soup in clay pot - comments were that the dish was very well prepared but that the fish was not of the highest quality. Included in the dish were broad cellophane noodles, mushrooms and bamboo shoots. The fish broth was very tasty. Chicken feet in wine sauce - one of Derek's favorites; were tender and Yimster commented that they had used a high quality wine in the sauce. Braised eel and garlic in clay pot - again the comment was made that the cooking technique was perfect but that the eel could have been fresher. Chou dofu (I've probably mangled the spelling) - "stinky tofu"; was not the best quality according to Tanspace. Yimster and Tanspace said that if this dish is done properly you can smell it coming before it gets to the table! I've never had it before and thought it was very good. Pea shoots - Yimster explained to Derek that these are the large tops of the pea plants rather than the small shoots that are grown from sprouting peas. Very nicely done with a small amount of broth and garlic; very fresh tasting. Bifentang shrimp and eggplant came out in a basket and inlcuded a large amount of crispy crumbs that seemed to be made up of Panko, sesame seeds and shreds of coconut. The shrimp bodies and heads had been fried separately; the heads were like extra crispy potato chips. The slices of eggplant had been battered and deep fried. The general consensus was that they didn't taste like eggplant but we couldn't figure out what else they might have been. There were at least 2 cups of the crumbs in the basket which some of the group used a crunchy topping for their rice. Service was fairly speedy in a fairly chaotic weekday lunch hour. This part of Milpitas is home to among others Cisco and Maxtor so there are bigs crowds that descend on the local restaurants at lunch. It's not a large place so if you're trying for lunch be there by 11:45.

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