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Dec 29, 2004 12:20 PM

Absolutely the BEST dumplings in LA!

  • m

Any suggestions?

I love all dumplings! As well as the thick, hand pulled noodles. Of course I am thinking of the asian variety, but am open to suggestions.

Am at Beverly/Fairfax but will drive anywhere!

Mr. Taster

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  1. Don't know if they are the best, but Yujean Kang in Pasadena serves up an appetizer called Dumplings in Red that I like. The problem is they are small, few and not cheap on that basis. Now, if someone could tell me hwere I could get similar cheaper, I'd be grateful.

    1. 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.

      DUMPLING 10053
      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 ...

      8 Replies
      1. re: ipse dixit

        I'm a fan of Din Tai Fung, but I won't bother quibbling.

        I am bookmarking this great post for future dumpling/noodle forays into SGV.

        Thanks, ipse...

        1. re: Eric Archer

          I've heard good things about Din Tai Fong from several different people (who have no affiliation with each other so I'm guessing it's a popular place). Never been myself, though.

          1. 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. :-)


            1. re: Marcy

              If you do a control f search of the LA board you will find post after post, most raving about the dumplings at Din Tai Fung.

          2. re: ipse dixit

            Great list...thanks.

            One question: Do you find that there is a certain time of day to go or avoid? Do these places close early afternoon, or are they open in the evening?



            1. re: Coachboy

              good question... I'm hoping to go tonight and probably won't be able to be in the SGV until 9:30. Any suggestions as to which ones are open until 10 or better yet, 10:30? I think Dumpling Master closes at 9pm.

              Mr. Taster

              1. re: Mr. Taster

                Off the top of my head, I can't recall. But I'd say 9 or 9:30 would be cutting it close for most of the places.

                Sorry I can't be of more help, but call ahead!

                1. re: ipse dixit

                  I did indeed call ahead and unfortunately they all close at either 9:00 or 9:30. So we went to Soot Bull Jeep instead... not a bad substitute :-)


          3. Mr. T,

            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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: daojones

              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.

            2. Maybe I don't have a sense of humour about these things, but I think daojones's post was very uncalled for. As for Dumplings, I am with the Dumpling Master crowd.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Cantoneseboy

                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.

                1. re: Cantoneseboy

                  I didn't think it was that bad. It was funny. He's being a showoff.

                2. 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.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    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.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      I believe the Garfild location is closed the last time I checked.