OPINION: Chinese Restaurants Taste Authentic and Exceptional

By Yuan Wei

Mama Lu’s Dumpling House has some of the best juicy pork dumplings in the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley area. Chengdu Taste is another popular chinese restaurant that has the traditional Chongqing flavor.

There are certain foods and restaurants that gain almost legendary status. Buzz picks up about them, food blogs and TV shows highlight them, and whispers among friends continue. When it comes to Chinese dumplings in the LA area, everyone talks about Din Tai Fung and Mama Lu’s. They are both so popular, they have massive lines during the weekends. People of all ages are in line waiting for the food, most Chinese. Each group waited 20-30 minutes to be seated, and the food was well worth the it.

When people talk about Mama Lu’s, they always mention the xiao long bao (juicy pork dumplings), and they were indeed amazing. It’s mostly family style and customers usually come with four to eight friends, ordering around eight dishes. The total comes out to be about $7-8 per person.  The green bean dish that includes crisp veggies and savory eggplant and beef was awesome. The house fish were lightly-battered and slightly crisp, not mushy. A bit of advice for the xiao long bao: wait a couple minutes so you don’t burn your mouth, but eat within 15 minutes. They’re not as good when they get cold.

Chengdu Taste is probably one of the best and most authentic Chengdu style Chinese foods in all of San Gabriel Valley. The numbing spicy taste and fragrant spices used in their dishes are so reminiscent of China. If you’ve never been the Chengdu and love Chinese food, you definitely should give it a try! Some famous dishes include: mungbean noodle, spicy fish, and toothpick lamb.

   This was super flavorful and spicy with so many different chili spices and oils in it. The noodles were slippery and oily and so mouth numbing. The noodles were soft and kept breaking from the touch of my chopsticks. Flavors were on point, a tad too spicy and oily, and the noodle texture was surprising.

If you were raised the traditional Chinese way, then bean sprouts are your best friend and this dish is full of bean sprouts. The fish is silky and soft and melts in your mouth. The pot is loaded with bean sprouts, half filled with chili oil, and half filled with an amazing thick sauce. Not only is this dish fun to eat, great with beer, and packed with flavor, but it’s also affordable and super delicious. The Lamb is super tender and fatty and is coated in a Sichuan dry rub.

Chengdu Taste is located at 828 West Valley Boulevard in Alhambra. The business hours opens are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday. Mama Lu’s Dumpling House is located at 153 Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park and opens from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every Monday through Sunday.

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