Facing East Noodle & Bar softly opened recently. While the menu is a mix of Asian fusion, what really caught my attention was the offering of several kinds of soup dumplings ranging from the classic pork xiao long bao, to a black squid ink truffle version and a five variety version with different colored dumpling skins.
I was a little overwhelmed when looking through the menu. They offer a variety of milk tea drinks, milkshakes, rice dishes, noodle dishes, appetizers, dumplings, and even street tacos!
Black Truffle Xiao Long Bao
While I’ve had black truffle pork soup dumplings before, I’ve never seen ones quite like these. They use squid ink to achieve the shocking black color for the skin. I’ve been pretty disappointed with the xiao long bao offerings in San Diego, but I actually enjoyed these. The skin was thin and pliable. There was ample pork soup inside each dumpling. The flavor of the pork broth was a little plain, but that’s actually how I prefer it. I did find the truffle flavor to be very light, but overall these were pretty good.
Five Guys Xiao Long Bao
I’ve been seeing these multi-colored dumpling skins pop up on social media, but they are usually only available in Asia. Here, there are five flavors of dumplings and the colors are achieved through various dyes.
The black is the squid ink skin with black truffle pork filling. The tan colored one is a mushroom sauce skin with a foie gras pork filling. The green one is a spinach skin with a garlic pork filling. The yellow one is a tumeric skin with a cheese and pork filling. The red spotted one has a
beer beet skin with a pork and crab filling.
Of these, my favorite was the pork and crab one. These are currently only served during dinner service on weekends.
Pork Xiao Long Bao
Of course, we had to try the classic ones. I was a little sad to find a few of these broken. It’s never fun when the skin breaks and the broth leaks out. Still, they were pretty good. I really enjoy the texture of the skin, though I think the broth is a tad on the fatty side.
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Gyoza
We also tried their handmade dumplings. These were quite tasty and I especially enjoyed the filling. But I did think they were a little small, especially at $1 a piece.
Filet Mignon Rice
I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I found the sauce both too sweet and salty at the same time.
Galangai Shredded Chicken Rice
We saw several people order this, so we did as well. I enjoyed the presentation very much. I thought this dish had potential, but was far too salty. After a few bites, we boxed the rest so I could recook it with something else to reduce the sodium.
Cookies n’ Cream Freakshake and Donut Freakshake
These drinks were listed as “Chef’s Recommendations.” Of course, I couldn’t resist them. While the presentation was pretty nice, we were a bit underwhelmed. Both of them were regular vanilla milkshakes with the only difference being the decorations. The donut was inedible. I don’t know if it had been sitting out for several days, or put into the fridge or freezer so that it had dried out, but it was extremely hard and dry. The cookies were edible but tasted like store bought cookies. At $9 a shake, I wouldn’t get them again.
Overall, we really did enjoy the xiao long bao here and if you’re in San Diego and have been looking for good xiao long bao, this is a good place to try them at. I realize the restaurant only just opened so I’m hoping some of the other dishes improve as they work out the kinks. One thing you do need to be prepared for is the wait. On both of our visits, we had to wait nearly 30 minutes for each of the xiao long bao orders (and there were only about 4-5 full tables). The staff was always very apologetic about the wait though.
Facing East Noodle & Bar
4647 Convoy St #101c, San Diego, CA 92111