Yes, I know, this is the famous juicy dumpling place, where No. 11 holds so much soup that it comes with a boba straw. More on that later.
Soup dumplings are pretty common these days, but the beef is wildly different. It positively screams cumin, if beef could scream. There's no blending with other spices to mute the flavor, as in an Indian curry or pot of chili, although the dish does have a dash of spicy heat.
Once it arrives, you're aware of nothing else. But if you can't take such a powerful spice straight, order the dumpling instead.
On the menu, it's called a bun, not a dumpling, possibly because it's as large as a hamburger bun. Other juicy dumplings come six, nine or 10 to an order. But this one is so big, you get only one.
First, plunge the straw through the dough and suck up the soup, then tip the filling (pork and crab with peppery seasoning) into a bowl. Don't try to eat from the steamer container, or any remaining juices will dribble through onto your lap.
One of the smaller juicy dumplings is filled with pork and crab like the bun. Other fillings are fish, pork and shrimp, pork with cabbage, chicken, and red bean paste. A couple are labeled vegetarian, although the menu doesn't explain what's inside.
A couple of cold starters, Wuxi smoked fish with sweet soy sauce seasoning (above) and house spareribs, pleased everyone. Perhaps that's why both get a thumbs up icon, meaning recommended, on the menu.
Wang Xing Ji, 140 W. Valley Blvd., #211 (upstairs in San Gabriel Square), San Gabriel, CA 91776. Tel: (626) 307-1188.