It's been a long time since I visited Mei Long Village. About five years ago, I went through a heavy Shanghainese phase. I did a pork pump challenge, an XLB challenge and a general Shanghainese challenge. Post-blog it's hard to believe I used to just eat stuff without writing about it (save the occasional Chowhound post).
Back then, I went to Mei Long a few times. They came in second in pretty much every category. They were a distant second to Lake Spring in the Pork Pump challenge, and I liked Din Tai Fung's XLB better (although Din Tai Fung is Taiwanese and not Shanghainese, you can't not include them for XLB). For overall Shanghainese, my favorite was Shanghai Kitchen. Last time I went to Shanghai Kitchen, though, it wasn't as good and I wasn't up for the wait at Din Tai Fung, so when I felt like Shanghainese a few weeks ago, I headed for Mei Long Village.
Mei Long Village lies in a strip mall on Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, along with another Shanghainese staple, J&J, a Lollycup, a Beard Papa and assorted other restaurants and businesses.
True to my memories, the XLB (aka xiao long bao or soup dumplings) were very good but not thrilling, and the shen jian bao (pan fried pork buns, one of my favorite Shanghainese dishes) was too doughy. However, the Shanghainese spare ribs were delightful little fried nubs of pork and rib bone with a tangy sauce. I also very much enjoyed the snow pea leaves, which have a taste somewhere between snow peas and bok choy. It was a good meal that reawakened my yen for Shanghai.
Hmm, maybe it's time to redo all of my Shanghainese challenges. Pork pump anyone?
Mei Long Village
301 W Valley Blvd., #112
San Gabriel, CA 91776