Xiao long bao, or XLB, has long been a cultish food dish, the kind of thing people line up for, faces pressed against any available windows into the kitchen, watching the Chinese soup dumplings being made as they wait — patiently, hungrily — for their number to be called by the staff. When the covered metal trays arrive at your table, the unveiling is like a modern version of the old-school French tableside flourish: a ta-da moment of the highest order. At Wang Xing Ji, a sleek Wuxi dumpling specialist on the second floor of the San Gabriel Mall, the trays of normal-sized XLB are suitably impressive, but what's truly remarkable are the enormous crab and pork buns, like single massive XLBs, which come in their own solitary metal trays. You will be given a colorful boba straw along with your chopsticks and spoons, which you use to slurp the soup from the dumpling. This is not only a supremely fun experience, especially for the younger crowd, but it also makes it physically possible to eat the dumplings without casualties — either to yourself, your neighbor or your dumpling. 140 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 211, San Gabriel. (626) 307-1188. —Amy Scattergood
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