The Missus and I hadn't been back to the SGV quite as much as we desired since returning from China. A couple of weeks back, we finally had a chance, and we decided to check out a few places we hadn't been to. We started however, with a place we hadn't been to in quite a while:
Since we'd be checking out a place in the same strip mall, we decided on having some Jiaozi at Luscious Dumplings. Actually, I thought I'd posted on this place before but couldn't find a previous post. Luckily, I snapped a photo before we left...... check out the line! When we arrived, the place was empty, but it sure fills up quickly.
Luscious Dumplings is a small, bare bones operation, whose menu is presented on a half sheet of paper. You check off the items you want, and you're on your way. Within seconds a styrofoam cup of tea, and a small plate of marinated/pickled vegetable arrives.
On this day, after the Missus scarfed this up, totally against character, another little plate arrived at our table! Wow, great service, right? Well, not quite.... it seems that another table had requested more of the free appetizer, and it had been erroneously brought to us. Maybe it was our lucky day.
We had ordered two different dumplings, the first to arrive were the Chive, Pork, Egg, and Shrimp Dumplings(10 - $6.50):
These were excellent; the wrappers were almost pillowy, with just the right amount of pull. The filling was well put together as well. You could still taste the shrimp, and the pungency of the chive didn't over-power the rest of the ingredients.
The one outstanding characteristic of these dumplings were the lightness of the filling, so smooth and light, almost mousse-like. The Missus's Fifth Aunt, will often stir her Jiaozi filling for over an hour with chopsticks to attain the right consistency. The texture of these were pretty close. The flavor seemed a bit off to us. Celery is a wonderful foil for rich or gamey fillings, but here the flavor of ginger overwhelmed everything else. We couldn't even make out the celery in the dumpling.
Still, the dumplings here are well worth a visit. One thing I noticed, it seems that the prices here go up like clockwork, but these are worth $6.50.
Luscious Dumplings Inc
704 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Right around the corner from Luscious Dumplings is a shop that FOY (Friend of Yoso) Andy thought might be an interesting shop to visit:
Michelle's Pancake House:
No, it's not the Chinese equivalent of IHOP or The Original Pancake House. The "Michelle" portion of the name is a direct phonetic interpretation of what seems to be the Owner's name. And this place specializes in "Dan Bing", Xiar Bing, and other dough preparations.
The dining area in the shop is about a third larger than Luscious Dumplings, which is not very large. We also noticed that the customers here seemed to be a bit older.
A little bowl of boiled peanuts, very mushy, and perhaps past their due date, arrived while we looked over the checklist and the menu.
Thte wrappers had that home made texture to them, and were perhaps a bit on the gummy side. The filling wasn't binded, so there was tendency for it to fall apart. We really couldn't taste the shrimp in these as well.
We also ordered two different Xiar Bing (stuffed breads). The first was the Radish, Thin Bean, and Shrimp ($6.95):
The dough was a pleasant surprise for us. The tops and bottoms were thin and crisp. It was a lot less oily than we had expected as well. The Xiar Bing were pretty filling, and I could only finish one.
The filling was interesting.... if you like daikon, you'll love these. I'm thinking that the thin beans in these must be really, really, thin..... like invisible thin. At least you could make out the faint flavor of dried shrimp even if you couldn't see it.
I had my doubts as to how these would hold up after taking them home; but they heated up fairly well in the toaster oven.
The Missus learned that the owners are from Longkou (龍口) in Shandong Province, an area well known for the production of cellophane noodles. We were interested enough that I think we'll visit this place again.
Michelle's Pancake House
706 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Thanks for the recommendation Andy!
One thing the Missus and I really appreciate about restaurant like these in the SGV; the menus are small, and are focused on the items they do best. And we're not done yet.... there was one more stop on this road trip so stay tuned......