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Early on, when Portland food fans who think nothing of driving to Seattle for a trip to dumpling destination Din Tai Fung were lining up out the door, XLB struggled with the deceptively simple, traditional Chinese dishes that, for some, evoke specific, intense childhood memories. It didn't help that the namesake dish, xiaolongbao, the Shanghai style soup dumplings, weren't totally dialed in. But chef Jasper Shen is skilled, having spent time at New York's Jean Georges and helped to open Portland's Aviary, where XLB started as a traditional Chinese pop up. Perhaps more important, he and his team are persistent. The dining room is still hip, with its old school lightboard menu and black walls painted with gold animals like a Louis Vuitton approved zodiac. But now the seafood noodles, pork and duck bao and garlic sauteed vegetables have balanced out their salt. And the soup dumplings are much improved, with super thin, stretchy skins trapping rich broth made from pork aspic that melts as the dumplings steam. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.