Unwrapped: Xiao Long Bao from Wu Wei Din

Unwrapped: Xiao Long Bao from Wu Wei Din

What is this about?

Recently, I started a “project” to find the best Xiao Long Bao in Dallas. Xiao Long Bao has become a new trend in the past few years and many restaurants jumped on the bandwagon, but not all of them are made or served the right way. Please see the introductory blog post if you are interested in learning more about the soupy pork dumplings!

My first stop was Wu Wei Din, a small Taiwanese restaurant from Plano, located on the intersection of Independence Pkwy and 15th St. They specialize in beef noodles and some steamed dumplings, but at some point in the past few months, they also began offering Xiao Long Bao. I arrived during lunch hours on a Tuesday, and the place was about 1/3 occupied. Without hesitation I ordered the Xiao Long Bao (there was only one option, no crab) and a bowl of beef noodle soup with garlic seasoning.

To my surprise, the pork dumplings arrived in just a couple of minutes! This immediately raised a red flag for me, because I know that for Xiao Long Bao, the steaming takes at least four minutes, and then it takes another minute to slightly rest before the lid can be opened. The steamer was also brought to me without the lid, which I suppose was for my convenience, but the steamer should be served enclosed to prevent cooling. Sliced ginger and dark vinegar were served on the side, however I wish there was a little more ginger.

I followed the procedure, and the first dumpling had some juices that I was able to suck out of the opening. The subsequent ones, however, had pretty much no juices. The filling was flavorful and tender, which I would describe as a “umami bomb” since all the delicious collagen-rich juices had been re-absorbed back into the meat. Not a desired quality for Xiao Long Bao, but none-the-less extremely tasty. The wrapper was thin, strong and perfectly folded together. However, the color was a bit dark and “rustic”.

Pork Xiao Long Bao from Wu Wei Din

I would say the chefs at Wu Wei Din truly understand the art of Xiao Long Bao, but due to low demand (I suppose because it’s still new and not many people are ready to shell out nine dollars for an appetizer for lunch), achieving the perfect timing is a big challenge. It was apparent to me that the dumplings were pre-cooked and just reheated when I placed the order, which explains why they came to me so fast. If they weren’t pre-cooked, then the raw dumplings would lose their shape, dry up or even spoil. I can’t figure out any good solutions myself, so I can only hope that more people know about this new menu item and help Wu Wei Din deliver in a comfortable pace. For folks who want to give the Xiao Long Bao a try, I suggest to come on busy hours like Saturday evening, and see if you can request the staff to take some time and cook a fresh batch for you.

Since I’m attempting to rate the dumplings from each restaurant, I’m going to use the following criteria, each with a different “weight”. For each item, I’ll rate between 1 and 5 (which gives a highest possible score of 5):

  • The wrapper is white, thin and firm to the bite.
    (Weight 20%, Wu Wei Din’s score: 4)
  • The filling is tender, juicy and still holds its shape.
    (Weight 30%, Wu Wei Din’s score: 5)
  • Inside the wrapper there is a small mouthful of hot soup
    (Weight 30%, Wu Wei Din’s score: 2)
  • The dumplings are served immediately after cooking.
    (Weight 15%, Wu Wei Din’s score: 2)
  • Dark vinegar and shredded young ginger
    (Weight 5%, Wu Wei Din’s score: 4)

Wu Wei Din’s total score for the Xiao Long Bao: 3.4 out of 5

Now, on to the beef noodles. Even though I didn’t come specifically for them as I have had their noodle several times before, I wanted to try the “garlic” option for the soup. Their beef noodles were actually among the best I’ve had. The beef toppings were generous, succulent and incredibly savory, and the noodles could remain chewy even overnight. The four flavor options kept things interesting, and kept me coming back over and over. I have to say, though, the garlic option was delicious but “Not Safe For Work”! As soon as my noodle arrived, I smelled the pleasant aroma of butter, so I’m guessing that they sauteed garlic with butter and added to the soup. There were also a lot of minced raw garlic too. After the meal I returned to work, and warned everyone to stay away from me due to my garlic breath!

Look at all that yummy beef!

Overall, I would definitely recommend anyone to try Wu Wei Din, not just for their Xiao Long Bao and beef noodles, but also a large selection of Taiwanese street tapas that are perfect for lifting your appetite. The locals also favor their wontons and other noodle dishes such as the Dan Dan noodle and pickled mustard and shredded pork noodle. I for one will keep going back for more.

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