We had passed Lu Dumpling House, the newest shop opened up by the folks who own Mama's Lu. The shop is just a couple of blocks from Mama's Lu, which we found to be a bit strange...... but reasoning would become clear in short form.
We noticed how tiny this shop was when we first entered......
But all was answered when the side door was opened, and we caught the fragrances and saw the small army of people making dumplings. this place was doing some pretty brisk take-out business, both in cooked and frozen items.
We aren't big fans of Mama's Lu Xiao Long Bao, so we went with other items this time around.
We started with the Shengjian Bao.
These looked good, and when cut in half the fragrance of the filling was nice.... but these never delivered. It was much too bready and the Missus thought the dough too sweet. The filling was tragically dry and in spite of the fragrance, very bland.
The Pork and Fennel (actually Dill) Jiaozi were much better.
Though I'm not a big fan of the wrappers....the dough seemed to be over-mixed and was on the tough side, I enjoyed the fillings for these Jiaozi. Dill fragrant, but not overpowered by the herb, the mixture had quite a bit of meat. The filling was very light, maybe not as light as the mousse like filling at Lucious Dumplings, but quite good. The Missus wished for more dill, but I thought the flavor well balanced.
The standard Pork and Napa Cabbage Jiaozi were also good.
Like the Pork and Fennel Dumplings, the ratio of meat to vegetable was quite high. The flavor was very mild, but very light.
I enjoyed the Shrimp, Pumpkin, and Pork Dumplings much more than the Missus did.
The flavor of the shrimp really came through in these, but the Missus thought the filling too sweet for Her tastes, and She prefers that the pumpkin not be mashed into a paste. Each dumpling had a whole small shrimp in them.
We both thought the way the dumplings were fried did not do them justice...... it almost seemed that not enough oil was used, giving the Jiaozi wrappers the texture like that of really cheap frozen gyoza, more gummy than crisp.
Having six Jiaozi per order was nice since you could order and try several different fillings. Don't let the $2.99 - $4.99 price fool you though. Getting a dozen could run you $7 or more.
In the end, we may be back since we both enjoyed the Pork and Fennel Dumplings. The fillings are nice and light, and the ratio of meat to vegetable is pretty high. Service is decent, and the women working on this day all mainly spoke English, making this a very unintimidating place to eat.
Lu Dumpling House
330 N Garfield Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Open: Mon-Sat 9 am - 6 pm
Closed on Sundays