Absolutely the BEST dumplings in LA!
I speak only to the asian variety and in particular the Chinese inspired ones ...
423 N. Atlantic Blvd., #106, Monterey Park
For the pan-fried pork dumplings. According to legend (of the urban variety) people have purportedly driven all the way from SF to get these suckers. Judge for yourself. They're pretty good, and so are the scallion pancakes.
5612 Rosemead Blvd., Temple City
In my opinion, they have the best fish dumplings this side of Bejing. And nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere will you find better hand-rolled dumpling skins - taut, with just enough give that it adds an extra dimension to the dumpling eating experience.
10053 Valley Blvd., El Monte
By far, they have the most fascinating assortment of seafood dumplings you will find (7 varieties if I recall correctly - and no pork dumplings on the menu!). Try the shrimp, or the sea cucumber (yes, sea cucumber!), or even the squid dumplings. A total cornucopia of undersea dumplings. The steamed beef dumplings aren't too shabby either.
*People here will rave about Din Tai Fun, but I've never been a fan. To me, their dumplings are the equivalent of getting a 1/4-pounder at McDonald's. Nothing wrong with them, but the dumplings there lack soul.
As for hand-pulled noodles, Tung Lai Shun Islamic Cuisine (in the Focus Square, 140 W. Valley Blvd. #118C, San Gabriel (626)288-6588) is pretty good and you have the added bonus of having the option of picking up an onion pancake to go. Dumpling House (menionted above) also has very good hand-pulled noodles.
For a different take on "hand-pulled" noodles, try Heavy Noodling (153 E. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park; (626) 307-9583). To me, this is the quintessential, most rustic noodle making technique - basically taking a big chunk of semi-frozen well-kneaded dough, cutting thick slices off of it, and letting them drop in a pot of boiling water. Puts what Italians call "al dente" to shame...
Enjoy and chow away ...
re: ipse dixit
re: Eric Archer
re: Eric Archer
Finaly, someone mentions Din Tai Fung! I was getting increasingly flabbergasted that a thread on the best dumplings in L.A. had no mention of the Arcadia restaurant.
True, it's off the beaten path for most Angelenos, but I know people who drive up from Orange County to eat there because it's so good. The flagship restaurant in Taipei is world-famous, and its reputation carries over to this side of the Pacific. Since I live and work in the area, I eat there roughly every few weeks.
The dumplings are considered special because they hold just the right amount of broth, and the dumpling skins are not too thick and gooey. It's very difficult to achieve this kind of balance. The ingredients also taste pretty fresh and flavorful.
I should point out that it's not your typical dining experience, where you're given a big menu to pore over and then you spend hours grazing and socializing. There's a more hustle-and-bustle kind of vibe and the noise level can get loud, but no worse than your typical dim sum experience. What the place lacks in ambiance it makes up with efficient and attentive service, and incredibly good food.
When you first arrive, you're given a menu on a clipboard so you can fill out your order while waiting for a table (expect to wait 10-20 minutes for a table if going during regular lunch or dinner hours). This way, you can put in your order as soon as you sit down. Your order will arrive as each item is ready, and the waitresses will keep checking your clipboard to ensure you've gotten everything you ordered.
There's a fair range of dumplings, shiaomai, steamed buns, noodle and wonton soups, and a few other types of dishes. Usually I go there with one other person and we order 3-4 items -- two dumplings, a soup, and vegetables. Dumplings are 10 to an order. It sounds like a lot, but before you know it they're all gone.
Some of my favorite things to order:
- pork and shrimp dumplings
- pork and shrimp shiaomai
- pork chop fried rice (I'm a fried rice purist, and this is the ONLY place where I will order it. The seasoned pork chop is still on the bone and sliced into strips.)
- steamed broccoli or pea greens served in a rich and savory garlic sauce
- pork and vegetable wonton soup
- fried bean curd and glass noodle soup
The soups, aside from the hot and sour, are noteworthy for their savory and clear broths. The house steamed chicken soup is quite popular, though I should warn you that it's not like traditional chicken vegetable soup. For one thing, it's served in a tall, single-serving
dish with pieces of chicken and skin still on the bone. This bothers some some people, especially if they're not familiar with Asian cuisine, which tends to have more bones.
I'm not saying that Din Tai Fung has THE best dumplings in Los Angeles, but it certainly deserves a spot on the list. I'm eager to give Mei Long Village a try, though it seems like such a trek when I've got Din Tai Fun in my backyard. LOL
Anyway, I'm sure that was more info than anyone asked for, but I hope it serves useful. :-)
re: ipse dixit
I'm also looking for "authentic" pulled noodles (la1 mian4), like the kind you find at any Huiren/Qingzhen stall in China, sort of the Sinofied version of our taco stand / bacon-wrapped hotdog cart. I say "authentic" in quotes 'cause I'm not talking about Xinjiang Uygur muslim noodles. I want the Gansu kind that Hui immigrants living in every city sell to the Han public. Sorta like what we Americans consider ethnic food (nachos). Threads talking 'bout Tung Lai Shun and China Islamic have populated this board forever. The former only throw their noodles in the morning in one session. The dough then sits around for the rest of the day until someone orders a bowl. By that time the delicate bubbly nuances of the noodles' texture have gone to hell. Guess, I should go as soon as they open. As for China Islamic: the broth seems legit. That mutton extract preservative powder brings back memories. The noodles, while better than TLS', just don't cut it in terms of the texture. I wish I could be more descriptive. It has very much to do with the rate in which the noodles break down and melt in yer mouth. I have to say... both aforementioned joints offer a slow, linearly-sloped burn. I'm looking for a nuanced, quantized meltdown, id est, one that transpires in stages, each offering its own concentrically-nested, delicate dissolution. CI's other stuff's rockin', though. Where can I get me some fu@$#%^ noodles?! I suppose I could call my snakehead friend and we could go kidnap some expert noodle-throwing nig@$% from downtown Nanjing and ship his ass back here. Better yet, I'll just accuse him of being a witch, err... I mean communist, err... what is it now..? Oh yeah... terrorist... bribe the guards at Guantanamo and bring him back here and open my own shop. At the same time... it's almost impossible to find these things in HK, even a cantopop version... so, perhaps I'm being too... how do you say? Oh yeah, demanding.
We like impassioned (even eccentric) postings, and we encourage all sorts of different voices. But please tone down the political references - they lead to off-topic flame wars. Keep it about chow, a topic which everyone can discuss without getting bent out of shape.
Note to onlookers: we're not looking for posters to all sound the same, and we don't moderate on the basis of tone (if we deleted postings some find "offensive" there'd be literally no end to it).
Please ignore what you don't like and judge chow, not chowhounds. Sound off on what you like/dislike eating, not on off-topic issues like what language offends you or which posters rub you the wrong way. A rich, broad community rubs everyone every possible way, and that's a good thing. Please keep it chowy.
Geez, sorr-rrry. In what way was my post 'bout noodles offensive or "uncalled for?" And what exactly is the antecedent of "these things?" If, by chance, you're referring to the snakehead line... OK, a concession... sure, it may have been over-the-top, but I was merely trying to inject a bit of humor into what many of us consider a source of our own condition. Hence, the proverbial "urban" phrase, "it's all good," often delivered tongue 'n' cheek.
We're all immigrants here. Are you from HK? Many people close to me are illegal immigrants, both here, and in HK. Many have been conscripted by snakeheads into terms of indentured servitude. From my experience, and that of my family, all who've been subject to such passage have surfaced on the other end with a smile, albeit, a cynical one.
Again, if I offended you, I apologize.
Malan Noodles, which I believe is headquartered in China, gives you the option of ordering any of their noodle dishes in four different thicknesses, with the noodles being made right behind the cash register. Local locations are at 301 N. Garfield in Monterey Park (entrance actually is around the corner off of Garfield) and 2020 S. Hacienda Blvd., in the Von's shopping center in Hacienda Heights.
I've been a few times now to the Garfield location and can heartily recommend their Special Malan Fried Noodles (or, it's called something equally similar and unspectacular). It's made with their biggest flat noodle and is quite spicy. The noodles are good stuff - just chewy enough. Their soup noodles are okay too, but I like this fried noodle dish best. If you are going to get soup noodles, I don't reccommend ordering it with the smallest round noodle - it turns to mush really quickly in the hot broth.
I looking forward to trying all of the other Hounds suggestions, but I'd like to add the list.
Shao long bao (steamed pork dumplings)
2809 Via Campo, #A
(Garfield and Via Campo, near Hwy 60)
It has all around good food, but best for its shao long bao. Also, the price is right.
I haven't heard anyone mention this restaurant in my short stint on Chowhound. It's a family-owned business that has been a local's favorite. Unfortunately, the hostess (owner's wife) recently passed away from cancer so it has a different feel for me now. I just went this weekend and the dumplings are still great.
I second this recommendation. I love going here and getting a few dozen to go (frozen) so that I can bring home with me. The restaurant has such a homey feel too. I was so sad to hear that the hostess passed away! I haven't been there in a while but I remember her being very friendly and being amazed at how quickly she would wrap the baos.
You're an explorer taster -
For east asian stuff, have you been to Man Du Chon on Western? There was just a big sign in Korean outside saying Man-Du so I'm assuming it must be good if they only do it that way -
MAN DU CHON
450 S WESTERN AVE
Dumpling master - the people were gracious and lovely, and we had some fantastic congee/zhou there. But unfortunately I wasn't crazy about their stuff.
For a non-stuffed dumpling, a kind of East Asian spaetzle, I like the cat's ears noodles at Heavy Noodling (shanxi daoshaomian)- like orechiette. Very homey.
HEAVY NOODLING HOUSE
153 E GARVEY AVE
At Deerfield Garden, they used to make great guotie(r) pot stickers, the kind that they wrap in a dough slurry and that fries up together in the wok with a thin skin holding it together. Haven't had it their in a while, maybe it's changed. But they're good (as are ethe boiled dumplings, shui jiao).
130 S ATLANTIC BLVD
empress pavilion on the weekend has a Phoenix dumpling, a large dumpling served in a fowl (birdish) soup stuffed with various things like mushroom and I'm guessing Shark's fin. It's about $5 or so. Very nice, think huge wonderful tortelloni.
988 N HILL ST
Completely unfashionable now but I like Lake Spring Garden (my old fave was the lamented 3-6-9 on Valley near new) for XLB. They make it with the crab powder as well. Yes dintaifung has a large selection but what an effort. Robert Lu mentioned another place I think near DTF, but I haven't been and don't remember it but it sounded promising. Anyway, I like Lake Spring for Huaiyang food (there was a place called Songhelou on Valley but it's gone - meilong village is fine, and there's a new shanghai place near Vietnam House
LAKE SPRING RESTAURANT
219 E GARVEY AVE
712 W LAS TUNAS DR 12
I agree with others about Traktir. The Vereniki and pelmeni are great. If you drink, the flavored vodkae are fun. If not, explore. the herrings great as well.
8151 SANTA MONICA BLVD
The chicken paprikas at Hortobagy come with very good niblet type dumplings of the "chicken 'n' dumpling" variety. Soft and good with the sauce. Also come with the po"rko"lt. Nice place. Csardas in Hollywood near you does a decent job as well. These aren't filled "paste ripiene" type dumpligns. Just a boiled wheaten side dish. But quite good.
HORTOBAGY HUNGARIAN RESTAURANT
11138 VENTURA BLVD
CSARDAS HUNGARIAN RESTAURANT
5820 MELROSE AVE
Check this site for a gnocchi discussion. I haven't found any I'm crazy about. Agree about Czech point for cesky kne'dly. But there isn't much competition.
1981 ARTESIA BLVD
Warszawa had nice stuff, delicate, even a bit precious. Polka is a bit heartier.
4112 VERDUGO RD
1414 LINCOLN BLVD
Also, all the hungarian czech and polish places have a version of fruit stuffed dessert dumplings (no diacritics here so shlishky for czech or slovak, gomboc [GOM-bots] for hungarian, don't remember polish name, germanic incl. swiss places may have them as well). For an Asian version, Shen Yang and that place that people rave over the zhajiang mian although it's Korean and I can't remember the name and revieweed it here and wasn't too impressed, ANYONE? have decent apple or banana or sweet-potato fried and caramelized fritters that would count as dumplings called ba-si whateverthefruitwould be.
Have yet to find restaurant kreplach that are as good as most homemade in this town. Junior's is decent at Westwood and Pico. Jerry's actually has them fried so if you have a late night craving go for it.
For Cantonese yundun/wonton, I really like Full House for the house worwonton soup. Nice flower-cut squid pieces in the soup.
FULL HOUSE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
963 N HILL ST
Let me know. Sorry for the late response - been out of town.
Also, not a huge fan of Japanese gyoza so I'll let someone else handle that side, as well as the huge amounts of Italian places with stuffed pasta.
For frozen though, check out the frozen agnolotti at catalina market - italo-argentine. pretty good.
1070 N WESTERN AVE
Another INCREDIBLE post, Jerome.
To this definitive list, I will only add that I AM a gyoza fan, and have sampled quite a few LA specimens. Almost all I've tried are inferior to homemade, with fillings tending to be flavorless, skins too thick (or too thin), etc.
The best I've come across, and they are mighty fine, are the chicken gyoza at Kokekokko in Lil Tokyo. Filling favors meat (vs veggies) and the little suckers are rife with garlic. Fantastic!
203 S. Central Ave.
re: Liquid Sky
How to put this nicely.
Los Angeles is huge. Not huge as in wow, it would take me a long time to walk from one end to another, but huge as in holy crap it's a two-hour drive. Chatsworth is part of the City of Los Angeles. So is San Pedro, down at the harbour. Beverly Hills isn't; neither are West Hollywood, Culver City or Santa Monica.
From a given point in LA (say, Crenshaw and Adams) it would be faster to go out to San Gabriel than to, say, the Valley.
So give us some parameters (where you're at and how long of a drive you're willing to put up with) and maybe we can help. There's not tons anyway... the Chinese restaurants are mostly in the SGV.
Went to Dumpling Master many years ago. I didn't think it was anything special.
Also went to Dumpling 10053 based on the board's suggestion about 6 months ago. The dumpling was very bland. I don't know what's special about that either.
I like Din Tai Fung, but I only order 2 types of dumplings there. The rest are very ho-hum (with the chicken being downright bad). The two best are the fish dumplings and the juicy pork dumplings. The best soup is the bean thread with beancurd, and the stir fried string bean is a very good version. The dumplings are a bit refined and dainty than the rustic version elsewhere.
There's also a dumpling and handpulled noodle place on Rosemead Blvd - can't remember the name. I haven't been there for a while but it's really more a Korean version of chinese food.
The other dependable place I usually go for dumplings locally is Earthen at the 99 Ranch off Azusa in Hacienda Heights. The noodles are not good, but I can vouch for the panfried dumplings, the boiled fish dumplings and especially the steamed pork dumplings. Their onion pancakes are excellent, and they do have other stir fry dishes that are well executed if you want a little more variety.
Used to go to Heavy Noodling all the time. Loved their noodles, but only find 2 variations that we liked - in hot & sour soup, and stir fried in 3 ingredients. The noodles are chewy in some places and soft in the edges, but some of the soup preparation is too bland for my taste.
Lastly, tried Malan at Hacienda a month or so ago. I love their noodles, but found the broth (we got beef soup) very, very bland. Also got the soy bean paste noodles, and again the sauce is kind of ho-hum. I'll have to try the stir fried noodles next time to see if we will have better luck there. I am contemplating on getting their raw noodles to go, and buy a tub of the Supreme Dragon Beef & Tendon soup, and combine at home!
Thanks! Earthen is a hidden treasure that seems to be under the radar in the non-chinese community. I am not sure why that's the case, but from a selfish point of view it's good because I don't have a huge wait when I go there. BTW Earthen is closed Monday and Tuesday, and they don't take credit cards.
The Goose liver dumpling place is the Sea Harbour, which is a cantonese restaurant and they have it on the menu during dim sum. I've never gotten the courage to try it. Somehow it seems too much of an experiment.
I do a mapquest check, I think the Korean/Chinese one I was thinking about is Dumpling House at Temple City. What threw me off was the description of fish dumplings in previous post. We hadn't been there for a while, but they give you a dish of kimchee as appetizer while you wait, and I remembered that the steamed pork dumplings were pretty good, and also the soup chow mia mein (slightly spicy). Don't remember fish dumplings on the menu, but I must have eaten there at least 10 years ago.
For XLB I'm a Meilong Village fan, out SGV way.
Closer I suppose (but not that much) to BH is Szechwan on Washington Blvd. a few blocks West of Lincoln, out by MDR. It's about a half-step between gringo-chinese and authentic SGV-chinese, but their dumplings are large and very tasty (particularly when liberally swabbed in chili oil).