First We Feast: 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

All photos by Clarissa Wei, unless noted otherwise 

All photos by Clarissa Wei, unless noted otherwise 

First We Feast:
From pierogis to samosas, dumplings are a universal dish, embraced by cultures around the globe. But no one values the seemingly endless variations of texture, size, and fillings quite like the Chinese.

In fact, the earliest recording of the dish can be traced back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 AD-220 AD) in China. The legend states that a man noticed that peoples’ ears were suffering from frost bite. He decided to make a dish in the shape of an ear to cure the cold—hence its current iteration. The first dumplings had lamb, chili, and herbs inside, and their soothing qualities quickly gained currency across the country.

Due to mass immigration waves, Los Angeles has continued to carry the torch for Chinese dumpling tradition. What sets the dumpling culture apart here is sheer variety—you can fine representatives from Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Tianjin, and beyond. There are even variations that were invented in Los Angeles, like the hui tou potsticker. If you’re going to judge the merits of Los Angeles’ Chinese cuisine, dumplings are a good place to start.

Broken down by region, here are First We Feast‘s 10 essential dumplings to understanding L.A.’s varied repertoire.

1. GIANT SOUP DUMPLING AT WANG XING JI

giantsoupdumpling Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel (626-307-1188)
Website: N/A
Region: Jiangsu

Wang Xing Ji (also known as Juicy Dumplings) makes food inspired from Wuxi in the Jiangsu province. Known affectionately throughout the country as the Land of Fish and Rice, the region is know for dumplings that are sweeter and commonly stuffed with fresh, pulverized crab because an abundance of crustaceans during certain months of the year. Wang Xing Ji is a soup dumpling specialist known for its softball-sized dumplings that require a boba straw to extract the liquid.

2. BEIJING PIE AT BEIJING PIE HOUSE

meatpie Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park (626-288-3818)
Website: N/A
Region: Beijing

The dumpling in question is called a xian bing—a pan-fried disc stuffed with heavily spiced pork and assorted aromatics. This is a Beijing meat pie and is arguably the most addictive stand-alone dish in greater Los Angeles area. Pies come flying out of the kitchen in plates of four. Pair the dish with their cucumber salad, and if you have a hankering for more carbs, Pie House does wonderful zhajiang noodles—cold noodles with thin cuts of cucumber and a dollop of fermented soy beans.

3. SICHUAN WONTON AT CHENGDU TASTE

wontonchili Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 828 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra (626-588-2284)
Website: N/A
Region: Sichuan

The Sichuan wonton is called hong you chao shou. Hong you means red chili oil, and chao shou means ”folded hands,” a reference to how the dumpling is formed, and how—during the cold months in Sichuan—folks would fold their hands across their chest for warmth. The wonton is usually served as an appetizer and the skin is delicate—bordering on translucent. Chengdu Taste, the Sichuanese king of Los Angeles, undoubtedly serves the best rendition in town. It’s stuffed with ground pork, and served over with a light chili oil infused with the potent Sichuan peppercorn—a notorious spice known for its lip-numbing after-effect.

4. SHENJIANBAO AT EMPEROR NOODLE

shenjiangbao Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 800 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-281-2777)
Website: N/A
Region: Shanghai

While Emperor Noodle is marketed as a noodle joint, their specialty is really the shenjianbao. Invented in the 1920s in Shanghai, the shenjianbao has become an iconic breakfast snack of the region, usually served outdoors on street carts. Stuffed with pork, it has a thicker skin than most dumplings. It is first steamed in a huge bamboo steamer and then pan-fried on the bottom before getting a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

5. WONTON NOODLE SOUP AT SAM WOO

wontonnoodle Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 937 E Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-286-3118)
Website: N/A
Region: Guangdong and Hong Kong

Fragrance is the key to a good wonton noodle soup, and the fortified broth from Sam Woo—an institution that has been open for over three decades—takes days to make. You can ask them to throw a piece of roast duck on top if you’re extra hungry, but the dish by itself is enough to satisfy. The wonton, stuffed with pork and shrimp, is served with egg noodles imported straight from Hong Kong.

6. CRYSTAL SHRIMP DUMPLING AT LUNASIA DIM SUM HOUSE

lunasia4hagow Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 239 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena (626-793-8822)
Website: lunasiadimsumhouse.com
Region: Guangdong and Hong Kong

It is said that the xiajiao, or har gow (in Cantonese), makes or breaks a dim-sum chef. Traditionally, a har gow is supposed to have ten or more pleats. The wrapper is made with wheat and tapioca and worked until it becomes translucent. Lunasia’s version is epic—they manage to tuck in at least three large pieces of shrimp without breaking the chewy, delicate wrapper. We recommend dipping this in sweet soy sauce, mustard, or sambal chili.  (Photo:The Minty Musing)

7. THE RETURN DUMPLING AT HUI TOU XIANG

huitou Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-281-9888)
Website: huitouxiang.com
Region: California

Hui Tou Xiang takes the guo tie, a traditional potsticker, usually oblong in shape, and sealed both sides. They call it the hui tou—which means “to return” in Mandarin—to symbolize their desire for customers to return. The dish is pan-fried on all sides and meticulously fried to a juicy crisp. A single order will get you eight pot stickers. Be sure to pair it with chili sauce. (Photo:Hui Tou Xiang)

8. GLUTEN-FREE DUMPLINGS FROM PEKING TAVERN

glutenfreedumpling Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 806 S Spring St, Los Angeles (213-988-8308)
Website: tooguapo.com
Region: California

Dumplings are extremely difficult to make gluten-free, but the owners of Peking Tavern knew that if they wanted to open a dumpling house in the heart of Downtown, they needed to appeal to Angelenos’ finicky eating habits. Months of recipe testing paid off: You can barely taste the difference (though the gluten-free variations are a little bit gummier). We recommend getting them pan-fried and stuffed with beef. Pairing them with a small shot of the Chinese spirit baijiu. (Photo: Peking Tavern)

9. SWEET GLUTINOUS RICE BALLS AT EMPEROR NOODLE

tangyuan Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 800 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-281-2777)
Website: N/A
Region: All over China

These sweet rice balls (tang yuan in Southern China, yuan xiao in Northern China) are traditionally stuffed with sesame paste or ground peanuts. It’s a common dish on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. The roundness of the rice ball is indicative of a complete circle of harmony within the family. Emperor Noodle in San Gabriel serves a beautiful version spiked with sweet rice wine and dried osmanthus flowers.

10. TIANJIN BAO AT TASTY NOODLE HOUSE

tianjinbun Our 10 Favorite Chinese Dumplings in Los Angeles

Address and phone: 827 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel (626-284-8898)
Website: N/A
Region: Tianjin

Tianjin is a coastal city in northern China known for an abundance of seafood and dough. The Tianjin bao is a thick doughy bun, made with yeast so that it rises slightly. The remarkable quality about this dumpling is that it’s able to hold quite a bit of juice without turning soggy. Each bun fits perfectly in the palm of the hand. Pair it with a dash of black vinegar for an extra kick.

New explosive way to make dumplings in 3 seconds

dumplingsbruh

FoodBeast:

At first glance, you probably wouldn’t guess this was a commercial for a mobile phone company, but at first glance, you probably wouldn’t understand anything that was going on in this video anyway.

NTT Docomo is Japan‘s largest cell phone provider, and they wanted to show how fast their 4G service is by shooting meat out of a cannon, while additional ingredients shot up like professional wrestling pyro, eventually forming a dumpling.

The creation clocks in a less than 3 seconds, which I guess represents their fast mobile internet service, or something.

Check out the madness for yourself:

 

 

Pot-sticker paradise, hot-spring hotel just outside of Tokyo makes for a tasty retreat

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RocketNews 24:

Ask a Japanese person to give some examples of Chinese food, and they’ll likely reply with things like chaahan (fried rice) and the quintessential gyoza (pot-stickers). With their crispy fried outsides and juicy, flavorful insides, you can’t go wrong with gyoza, and many would say that Chinese food chain GYOZANOMANSYU (餃子の満州), based in the Kanto region of Japan, is the leader of them all.

Those wishing to take the gyoza experience a bit further can visit the hot-spring hotel Toumeikan in Gunma Prefecture, managed by GYOZANOMANSYU, and for a mere 5,900 yen per night (roughly US$59) you can stay in one of their cozy Japanese-style rooms, take a relaxing soak in the onsen hot springs, and get your fill at their breakfast buffet. Located deep in the mountains of Gunma, yet within a two- to three-hour drive from Tokyo, makes this a great place for a weekend getaway. Albeit one involving lots of garlic and chives.

Being located in the mountains means the area gets a bit of snow in the winter, so a word of caution to those making the trip by car – you may need to bring chains. If you’re not confident enough driving in the snow, it might be best to opt for public transportation instead, or to wait for spring.

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After the long drive, what better way to unwind than by taking a soak in the onsen? The water is beautifully clean and the temperature just right for relaxing, and you can move freely between the indoor tubs and the outdoor bath (called rotenburo). You’ll want to make sure to wash yourself down first before hopping in, though, as is custom before entering the baths in Japanese onsen.

You’ll probably be hungry once you’ve finished your soak, so it’s GYOZANOMASYU to the rescue with some piping-hot gyoza to fill your belly and a cold beer to cool you off. Of course, you’re not just limited to dumplings – there are other Chinese dishes aplenty to satiate your cravings, and you can eat and drink your fill for around 1,500 yen ($12.50).

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The breakfast buffet, which is included in the cost of your stay, includes various Chinese-style side dishes, a salad bar, rice, soup, and more.

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If you’re looking to get away for the weekend, relax, and eat some great food without breaking the bank, Toumeikan may be just the spot.

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27 Reasons Singapore Is The Most Delicious Place On Earth

 

Bottom line: Go to Singapore, eat the things.

1. Chili Crab

Chili Crab

WHAT IT IS: A whole crab is cooked in a sweet, spicy, tomato-y sauce, often finished with coddled eggs for added texture. It’s super messy, but any reputable restaurant will bring a bowl of warm water with a lemon slice along with your chili crab, because napkins alone won’t be enough to clean your hands afterward.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The meat gets really tender and takes on the sweet chili/tomato flavor completely. Fried mantou (a slightly sweet, white bread) is usually served alongside the dish to mop up every last bit of sauce.

2. 100Plus

100Plus

WHAT IT IS: Basically a soda marketed as a sports drink. I would say it’s like a cross between Gatorade and Sprite, but that wouldn’t do justice to its bizarrely addictive deliciousness.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: It’s sweet, it’s fizzy, and it’s tangy. Beyond that, you need to taste it for yourself to really understand the appeal.

3. Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

WHAT IT IS: Chicken is poached with ginger and pandan leaves, then the rice is toasted in oil and cooked in the super-flavorful poaching liquid.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Despite its unassuming name and beige-ness, chicken rice is magical. The ginger flavor is undeniable in the always-moist chicken, and the oily rice has a really meaty flavor.

4. Char Siew Bao

Char Siew Bao

WHAT IT IS: A Cantonese pork bun that’s available at hawker centers — open-air food courts that are everywhere in Singapore — and dim sum restaurants. Subtley sweet, fluffy bread is filled with pulled roast pork in a sweet barbecue sauce, then steamed.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The bun is impossibly soft, the pork is perfectly tender, and the meat-to-sauce ratio is completely perfect.

5. Ais Kacang (Ice Kacang)

Ais Kacang (Ice Kacang)

WHAT IT IS: A typical hawker dessert, ais kacang is a Singaporean sno-cone. A layer of of sweet red beans sits beneath a mound of shaved ice, with colorful sugar syrup and condensed or evaporated milk poured over top. Other toppings vary, but popular ones are sweet canned corn, mango, basil seeds, soursop (a tangy tropical fruit), or aloe vera jelly.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Ais kacang is super-sweet, but it’s a refreshing way to end a meal. And trust me, the sweet red beans have an unusually excellent flavor that brings the whole thing together.

6. White Rabbits

White Rabbits

WHAT THEY ARE: Essentially a vanilla flavored Tootsie Roll, the Chinese candies are wrapped in a thin layer of edible sticky-rice paper.

WHY THEY’RE DELICIOUS: The candy itself tastes like sweet milk, though not too sweet to eat a whole handful at once. What really sets these apart, though, is the rice paper that melts in your mouth as you chew.

7. Curry Puffs

WHAT THEY ARE: The country’s most popular street food, curry puffs are to Singapore what hot dogs and jumbo pretzels are to New York City. The traditional curry puff is a chicken and potato mixture coated in a mild, tumeric-based curry paste, wrapped in a thick, savory pastry crust, then baked or fried. The most popular vendor is the Old Change Kee snack chain, but the snacks are served at countless food stalls and restaurants.

WHY THEY’RE DELICIOUS: Similar to an Indian samosa, the sturdy crust is nice and savory, but plain enough not to distract from the strongly spiced chicken/potato filling. Also, they’re small enough that you can eat lots of them (always a plus).

 

8. Sambal Stingray

Sambal Stingray

WHAT IT IS: Sambal stingray is prepared by smothering a stingray wing with spicy-sweet sambal chili paste, wrapping it in a banana leaf, and grilling it. It’s served right on the leaf, and is easy to pull apart with chopsticks or a fork.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Never eaten stingray before? It’s similar to skate wing (though stingrays are bigger), with super tender, almost sweet flesh that comes in a large, flat filet. The sauce is spicy-sweet, and the fish also takes on some flavor from the grill and the banana leaf.

 

9. Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer

WHAT IT IS: A golden lager, brewed in Singapore and sold everywhere on the island.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Make no mistake, Tiger is a simple, mass-produced lager. Still, it’s balanced and refreshing in tropical weather. The lager is now widely available in the US. But only in Singapore can you go on the Tiger Brewery Tour, which ends with 45 minutes of all-you-can drink Tiger beer, for just S$16 (US$12.75).

10. Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

WHAT IT IS: Cubed beef braised in a sauce of ground aromatics (i.e. lemongrass, garlic, shallots), chilies, spices, tamarind, kaffir lime, and coconut milk for hours, so that almost all of the liquid evaporates.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: As the sauce dries out, the beef absorbs the flavors, gets extremely tender, and begins to caramelize, resulting in falling-apart beef coated in super-concentrated sauce.

 

11. Kaya Toast

Kaya Toast

WHAT IT IS: A popular breakfast staple in Singapore, it’s just white toast spread with kaya, a sweet coconut egg jam (essentially super thick custard made with coconut milk and pandan leaves).

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The creamy spread is almost too sweet for breakfast, in the best possible way. The pandan and coconut flavors add some intrigue without being overwhelming.

 

12. Kopi Ice (Sweet Iced Coffee)

WHAT IT IS: Putting the Frappucino to shame, iced coffee at hawker stalls or traditional coffee shops in Singapore is brewed strong in a metal pot with a long spout, then mixed with sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice, and served in a small drawstring bag with a straw (pictured above).

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Between the strong brew and the super sweet milk, it’s like drinking a thin milkshake with a serious caffeine kick.

13. Singaporean Hokkien Mee

Singaporean Hokkien Mee

WHAT IT IS: A mixture of vermicelli (rice) and yellow (egg) noodles are cooked in shellfish stock with squid and prawns, then wok-fried in lard with scrambled eggs and fish sauce.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The slippery, fishy-noodle has a strong pork fat flavor that’s hard to forget. To make things even better, it’s served with sambal chili sauce (for spice) and fresh lime that brightens things up.

 

14. Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow

WHAT IT IS: A stir-fried noodle dish that puts Pad Thai to shame. Thick, chewy flat rice noodles are stir fried in pork fat with shrimp (or sometimes other meat), Chinese chives, bean sprouts, and egg, then coated in a thick, dark sweet soy sauce.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Like many great things, it is unbelievably high in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. But in a great way: the chewy noodles and crunchy bean sprouts play well off each other, and chives make the dish seem lighter than it actually is.

 

15. Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

WHAT IT IS: Literally translating to “fried rice,” it’s just that. But Singapore does it best: Day-old rice is stir fried with shallots, garlic, ginger, red chilies, and various vegetables or proteins, then coated in a sweet soy sauce and (this is the most important part) topped with a fried sunny side up egg, runny on top and golden brown on the bottom.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The egg is perfectly fried every time, and there are so many flavors that it’s always satisfying, no matter what kind of mood you’re in.

 

16. Nyonya Kueh Lapis

Nyonya Kueh Lapis

WHAT IT IS: These small, colorful “cakes” are made a mixture of glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch, and flavored with coconut milk, sugar, and pandan.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: So unnaturally neon, so strangely gummy, and so good. It’s a sweet, rich dessert with a thick, gelatinous texture.

 

17. Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway)

Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway)

WHAT IT IS: Completely unrelated to the sweet, cream-cheese frosted spice cake that shares its name, Singaporean carrot cake is a savory dish, and it’s actually made with daikon radish, not carrot — in Chinese, the word for “carrot” is the same as the word for “daikon,” thus the name. Steamed daikon radish cake (a chewy starch made of rice flour, shredded daikon, and water) is cut up and stir fried with egg, preserved radish, and other seasonings.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: It’s just a little bit funky, and essentially a perfectly greasy, salty omelet.

 

18. Chinese New Year Pineapple Tarts

WHAT THEY ARE: In the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, mountains of red-lidded plastic cookie jars appear in markets throughout Singapore. They’re filled with various Chinese confectionary, the best of which is the “pineapple tart,” a ball of sweet, very dense pineapple filling baked into a buttery pastry shell.

WHY THEY’RE DELICIOUS: The shape varies — sometimes the cookies are balls, other times they are more like actual tarts, with pastry on the bottom and a dollop of filling on top — but the sticky pineapple filling and crumbly pastry are consistently excellent. Extra point for how extravagantly dense they are.

 

19. Popiah

Popiah

WHAT IT IS: A thin, rolled wheat crepe, filled with a cooked mixture of seasoned carrots, chinese turnips, and dried shirimp, plus sweet Chinese sausage, sliced egg, lettuce, peanuts, and bean sprouts.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: It’s got an intense savory flavor, but the huge variety of textures in every bite is what makes popiah truly excellent.

20. Mamee Monster Noodle Snacks

WHAT THEY ARE: Ramen noodles that have been baked into a salty, crispy brick, and they’re meant to be eaten as is (so, truly instant ramen). The noodle snacks are available in a variety of flavors — chicken is the best, but barbecue is pretty stellar, too.

WHY THEY’RE DELICIOUS: What they absolutely lack in nutritional value, they make up for in addictive umami-ness.

21. Milo

Milo

WHAT IT IS: A sweet cocoa powder made from malted barley and touted as a sports drink, milo is mixed with milk (sometimes sweetened condensed milk) and served either hot or cold.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: One sip and any delusions you have of it being a “sports drink” will disappear; It’s like Southeast Asian Swiss-Miss, but so much better.

22. Curry Laksa

Curry Laksa

WHAT IT IS: A spicy noodle soup. The broth is made by frying a curry paste (common ingredients are shallots, garlic, ginger, red chiles, coriander, tumeric, and dried shrimp), then adding chicken stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, sugar, and lots of fish sauce. It’s served with rice noodles, shrimp, and hard boiled egg.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The combination of intense broth with soft noodles will make your tastebuds weep. Mostly tears of joy, but also a few tears of extreme spiciness.

 

23. Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak

WHAT IT IS: Traditionally a breakfast dish, long grain rice is cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in a pandan leaf, then served with cucumber slices, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, and fried anchovies in sambal (spicy chili) sauce.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: All the different textures work perfectly together, and the whole dish is subtly brought together by the flavors of pandan and coconut, with the fried anchovies adding a kick of salt.

 

24. Seasons Ice Lemon Tea

WHAT IT IS: Seasons iced tea (made by the Singaporean F&N company) comes in a variety of flavors, some with milk and some without, but their iced lemon tea is the best.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: It’s really strong, really sweet, and really perfect in 90 degree weather. Seriously, Arizona iced tea has nothing on Singapore’s version.

25. Min Jiang Kueh (Peanut Pancakes)

Min Jiang Kueh (Peanut Pancakes)

WHAT IT IS: Dense, griddled pancakes folded over a sweet, gritty ground peanut mixture.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Extra-chewy pancake + extra-sugary peanut butter = everything good.

 

26. Mutton Satay

Mutton Satay

WHAT IT IS: A dish of skewered meat that’s been marinated in a sweet, salty, tumeric glaze, then grilled over an open flame. Chicken and beef versions are also popular, but mutton — the meat of a mature sheep (as opposed to lamb, which is typically from a sheep one year or younger) — is best.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: The super flavorful, slightly gamey meat gets charred and caramelized over the fire, but stays really tender. It pairs perfectly with the soy-peanut dipping sauce it’s often served with.

 

27. Roti Prata

And lastly, the Food To End All Foods: Roti Prata

WHAT IT IS: A flatbread made of buttery (actually, it’s usually margarine) yeasted dough folded over itself many times, creating perfectly greasy, airy layers when pan fried in a generous amount of oil.

WHY IT’S DELICIOUS: Possibly the most addicting food on the planet, It’s often served with a curry dipping sauce, or stuffed with eggs or onions. Even plain, the ‘chewy on the inside, flaky on the outside’ texture in unparalleled.

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4 great Beijing-style restaurants in Los Angeles…

beijingpie

Beijing has been the capital of China for centuries and its food is reflective of the dynasties that reigned there. Mongolian rulers of the Yuan Dynasty were reportedly fond of mutton, and the Manchus of the Qing Dynasty loved roast pig and offal. Accordingly, Northern Chinese food as a whole leans toward rich and salty tones; the cuisine is strong on meat and dough. Dumplings, noodles, and meat pies are common items, as are once-imperial delicacies like Peking duck and bird’s nest.

KCET rounded up four great restaurants in the Los Angeles area with their favorite Beijing-style dishes.

Duck House

pekingduck

Though the majority of their menu is Taiwanese-influenced, Duck House specializes in Peking duck. The preparation method for Peking duck is labor intensive. In China, where it’s the national dish, ducklings are force-fed for weeks until they reach a weight of between 11 and 15 pounds. At Duck House, you must reserve your bird at least an hour in advance, but it’s well-worth the planning. There are three different price levels; the cheapest ($35.95) will get you a soup, duck, thin flour pancakes, scallion and cucumber garnish, and a sweet and salty bean spread. There’s an entire process to it: take the pancake, spread some sauce, add the duck, a single slice of its crispy maltose-glazed skin, and lastly, a handful of julienned cucumber and scallions. Fold in half (or burrito-style) and enjoy. 501 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754; (626) 284-3227.

China Islamic Restaurant

chinaislamic


China Islamic in Rosemead is a Beijing halal specialist. Pork is dutifully avoided, but that doesn’t indicate a shortage of meat. China Islamic is heavy on mutton and beef, and they’re also one of the few places in town with toothsome knife-shaved noodles. Noodle options are plentiful but if you’re really torn, we suggest the lamb noodle soup ($8.95) — a fantastic blend of lamb, cellophane noodles, seaweed, and Napa cabbage. It’ll make for a delightful meal, best consumed on a cold Los Angeles evening. 7727 E. Garvey Ave., Rosemead; 626-288-4246.

Beijing Pie House

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If you’re a fan of juicy soup dumplings and potstickers, this is the place for you. The pies in question are these wonderful discs called xianbing. They’re massive meat pies, stuffed with marinated chunks of meat. Pan-fried and bursting at the seams with hot, fragrant oil, these discs are the crack pies of Los Angeles. Pair them with sambal sauce if needed, but they’re perfectly fine by themselves. 846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755; (626) 288-3818.

Peking Tavern

beefpotstickers

Peking Tavern is a gastropub in downtown Los Angeles with food and drink concoctions inspired by the Forbidden City. They’re the only bar (that we know of) that serves baijiu in their cocktails, a potent liquor at roughly 40 to 60 percent alcohol that’s famous for its fuel-like odor and lingering aftertaste. Dishes are all no-frills traditional Northern Chinese bites. What that means in a nutshell: lots of dough, noodles, and dumplings. Noodles are handmade daily and the process can be seen through a glassed-in station near the door. 806 South Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014; (213) 988-8308.

(* Article and photos by Clarissa Wei, Assistant Producer of New Media at KCET and “foodist with a knack for Chinese cuisine“)

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Peking Tavern: Chinese Gastropub in Downtown L.A.

peking-tavern1

Gastropubs are nothing new to the growing downtown Los Angeles nightlife scene, but rarely do you stumble across one that’s Asian-themed, or even more rare, specifically Chinese.

Peking Tavern is doing just that. Owned by Andrew Wong and Andrew Chiu of restaurant hospitality group El Guapo, the tavern is bringing in traditional Chinese dishes and serving them in xiaochi (small bites) form.

The two Andrews are no strangers to Chinese fare. Chiu, whose mother and wife were both born and raised in Beijing, spent six years at the Chinese capital in the ’90s; Wong comes from a family of Chinese restaurateurs. Architects by trade, they designed the space to channel the hutongs (traditional neighborhoods characterized by narrow alleyways) of Beijing and the old Chinatowns of yesteryear.

Bright red lamps grace the counters, weighed down by copper-toned Chinese guardian lions. Sauce dispensers are scattered throughout the restaurant and equipped appropriately with vinegar, soy sauce, sambal chili, and chili oil. The setup at Peking is a bit different from most bars, but is simple enough: order at the counter, grab a number, and wait for the food to be brought to you.

Drink concoctions are designed by Cari Hah — previously of The Varnish and Blue Whale — and she has made sure that all the cocktails come brimming with Chinese flair. While there are craft brews on tap, including Yanjing (a lager from Beijing), we recommend going straight for their eclectic mix of cocktails. Most notable are the whiskey spirits flavored with bitters that include five-spice, and baijiu (direct translation: white liquor). Baijiu, at roughly 40 to 60 percent alcohol, is distilled from sorghum and is famous (or infamous, depending on who you’re talking to) for its fuel-like odor and lingering aftertaste. Hah mixes it expertly with rum and flavors it with either horchata, yogurt or hibiscus. The baijiu brand that they use — Red Star Er Guo Tou Jiu — hails directly from Beijing.

It’s a common man’s spirit,” Chiu said. “It’s an acquired taste but we’re introducing it in a form of a cocktail.”

The bar menu is only six to seven items strong and all of the offerings are no-frills traditional Northern Chinese bites. What that means in a nutshell: lots of dough, noodles, and dumplings. The dumplings and noodles are handmade at a glassed-in station near the door. The chefs, Danny and Ms. Liu, are from Hong Kong and Tianjin, respectively. Danny was a former head noodle chef at Mr. Chow and has formal training in Japan under his belt. Ms. Liu, who consults on the dough texture of the dumpling, has worked at various San Gabriel Valley dumpling houses. While Peking Tavern doesn’t take any fusion liberties with the recipes, they are planning to release gluten-free dumplings soon.

Check out this link:

Peking Tavern: Chinese Gastropub in Downtown L.A.

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In New York? The NYC Dumpling Festival is today!

 

From pierogis to potstickers and everything in between, the 2013 Tang’s Natural New York City Dumpling Festival is just the event for all the dumpling lovers out there. Purchase tasting tickets on the day of the event to sample a selection of dumplings from cultures around the world, including offerings from Italy, China, Poland, etc.

This year will include the highly-anticipated 10th Annual Chef One Dumpling Eating Contest, one of the most exciting eating competitions in New York City! Come and cheer on your favorite contenders as they attempt to upset the record of 74 dumplings in two minutes!
It doesn’t end there! We will feature live cultural performances, lucky draws and interactive games so there will never be a dull moment. By simply showing up and having a good time, you are commemorating our joint efforts with Food Bank For New York City to alleviate hunger issues in all five boroughs. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Food Bank For New York City.

Check out this link:

The NYC Dumpling Festival is today!

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