Los Angeles, CA

Where to Find the best Dumplings in Los Angeles

Caroline at EatDrinkLA

Jenn Harris, Food Columnist at The Los Angeles Times, knows her dumplings; so much so that she's got an entire YouTube series, “The Bucket List: Dumplings," where she profiles at least 30 different dumplings. I sat down with Jenn during a media event and got "filled in" on how she finds the best dumplings in Los Angeles and how you can have them all in one crawl.

Dumplings PlatterPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

What Makes Something a Dumpling?

The definition of a dumpling is widely debated because, at a certain point, you'll have to start asking yourself, "what isn't a dumpling!" I like to think of them as a doughy mass with a filling inside, but then is a Jelly Doughnut actually a dumpling? To quote Ken Albala, a professor of history at the College of the Pacific, taken from this NPR interview, "The best way to probably define it is to say something that goes 'dump!' into the water. Something that's boiled and keeps its shape."

Well, what we can all agree on is that every culture has its own version of a dumpling, and according to Jenn Harris, you can find a dumpling for almost every dietary restriction as well.

What are some of the Best Dumplings in Los Angeles?

As seen in Episode 1 of her series, Jenn Harris recommends soup dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao, from Long Xing Ji Juicy Dumpling #1 in San Gabriel and Paradise Dynasty in South Coast Plaza, which is known for their Rainbow Soup Dumplings. I've also always been a fan of Din Tai Fung's renowned Xiao Long Bao, but that's a nationwide favorite.

If you're looking for Hong Kong Style Dim Sum, look no further than Lunasia Dim Sum House in Pasadena for superb Shrimp Har Gow Dumplings.

Hui Tou Xiang in San Gabriel and Hollywood specializes in Hui Tou or pan-fried dumplings that are longer in length than you might be used to. These are stuffed with beef or pork. Are you looking for a vegetarian option? Try the Vegetarian Leek Pancakes, filled with eggs, chives, and glass noodles.

Hui TouPhoto Credit: Hui Tou Xiang

For Korean-style dumplings, or Mandu, head to Chang Hwa Dang or CHD in Koreatown.

Lastly, if you're looking for Armenian dumplings, head to the Monta Factory in Glendale, where they specialize in Manti. These dumplings are often filled with ground beef and are diamond-shaped. The meat is visible, and they are sold here by the sheet. Impossible meat options are also available.

MantiPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

How you can Craft your own Crawl!

When I asked Jenn Harris how she finds her favorite spots to recommend to readers, I expected her to say she has lists from interns who have gone around and done the dirty work for her. It turns out she's the woman on the street, "doing her own intel" and even asking locals in a particular neighborhood where they like to eat. She isn't afraid to spend hours in her car investigating an area to discover the best restaurants that might be overlooked, and we're all the better for it.

If you'd like to craft your own crawl, why not leave it to the experts and get tickets for The L.A Times Food Bowl Night Market on Saturday, September 24th, 2022. While the Night Market takes place all weekend, beginning Friday, September 23rd, the Night Flavor event on Saturday features the Dumpling Crawl, where you can sample some of the best dumplings in Los Angeles. From 7 to 10 p.m., you can taste dumplings from CHD Mandu, Go Go Gyoza, Hui Tou Xiang, Lunasia Dim Sum House, Monta Factory, and more!

Your ticket also includes unlimited tastings from some of the hottest restaurants in Los Angeles, plus unlimited cocktails and pours and unique live cooking demos from Jet Tila and Jenn Harris, among others.

Tickets begin at $110 and can be purchased here. I will see you there!

Soup DumplingsPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

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Specializing in the best of Los Angeles! I want to show you how to eat, drink, and live your best Los Angeles every day of the week. My favorite style of articles to share are listicles and "best of" roundups.

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