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Dueling Dumpling Houses Open In Monterey Park

Chandavkl | Apr 9, 200802:00 PM

A Chinatown business advisor once told me that Chinese business operators had no imagination, and that when somebody did come up with an innovative new concept, it would be immediately followed by a dozen imitators. There does seem to be some evidence of this in looking at the recent history of Chinese food here in LA. 35 years ago Sam Woo opens up a bbq deli and for the next few years almost every new place in Chinatown is a deli. In the 80s it was HK/Chinese seafood, in the mid-90s it was nothing but Hong Kong style cafes opening up, then we were flooded by boba parlors. More recently we had a flurry of buffets, but many of them closed down. The latest micro trend seems to be dumpling houses near the intersection of Garvey and Garfield in Monterey Park. When Qingdao Bread Food opened up a few months ago on Garfield I was very happy to not have to drive out to San Gabriel or points east for good dumplings. Now, two more places have opened up literally across the street from each other on Garvey, immediately east of Garfield. In the space formerly occupied by Heavy Noodling, Mama Lu's Dumpling House is in the process of opening up. Spies tell me this is the commercial location of a dumpling store that was operating out of the living room of somebody's house. While I saw grand opening plants, workers inside the restaurant, and buns in the refrigerator case, they were closed at lunchtime. so I don't know if they've opened up yet. Across the street at 138 E. Garvey is Northern Dumpling House, in the space formerly occupied by a horrid place called Fu Lin. Northern Dumpling has a number of varieties of pork dumplings, as well as beef dumplings, fish dumplings and vegetable dumplings. In addition, they have a lot of non-dumpling items on the menu, and the existence of a Shenyang noodle dish would indicate that they serve Northeastern Chinese cuisine. Note that Northern Dumpling House's name is not on the exterior of the store--they took the old "Fu Lin Restaurant" signage, took off the "Fu Lin," leaving only "Restaurant" above the doorway.

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