I don't know if it's because of the Olympics or being too poor for a sushi kick what, but for the past few weeks or so I've been on an SGV dumpling kick. Previously I had been to Din Tai Fung, J&J, Dumpling Master and Luscious Dumpling (and YES I know they are different and not all XLB and maybe should not put them all on the same thread but we're talking VERY generally, Chinese dumplings in the SGV.) Then I tried Noodle House in Monterey Park (twice) and 101 Noodle Express, and today I tried Dumpling 10053. I got the pork pan fried dumplings and the green onion pancake. Here is my list of pros and cons of Dumpling 10053:
-Green onion pancake was slightly tastier than at Noodle House;
-The place was a little nicer and cleaner than any of the others except DTF;
-A "B" grade (better than a "C", e.g. 101 Noodle Express)
-Bill was only $10.50 after tax and before tip for a full order of dumplings and green onion pancake;
-Was served tea but not charged for it (exact opposite as some dumpling or dim sum restaurants);
-Was seated right away and food came relatively quickly;
-Was able to order pan fried dumplings although it was somewhat busy, unlike Noodle House or 101 Express. However, the pork dumplings are the only ones that may come pan fried. The rest are either steamed or boiled.
-Pork dumplings did not taste very fresh and weren't great;
-Green onion pancake was greasier than Noodle House (which is why they were tastier);
-A "B" grade (worse than an "A", e.g. DTF);
-Being east of Baldwin, it was pretty far. Only DTF is further away.
So maybe I just ordered wrong (should I have gotten the boiled seafood dumplings instead?) but I still prefer Luscious Dumpling overall, for that delicious and inexpensive, pan-fried dumpling/beef noodle soup lunch combo for $6; and DTF if I want more of a variety, and am willing to drive that far / wait in line / pay considerably more for my meal.
I'll only go to Noodle House, 101 Noodle Express or 10053 if it's a Monday (LD is closed) and/or if I'm craving a savory side but am not up to dealing with the drive to/crowd/expense of DTF, and which place depends on how greasy/heavy I want my side to be (little grease = green onion pancake from NH; medium grease = green onion pancake from 10053; a lot of grease/heaviness = the beef roll from 101 Noodle Express.)
My visits to J&J and Dumpling Master were too long ago to compare them to these places, but I suspect from the boards that recent visits wouldn't change anything.
Where should I to go next: Mei Long? Back to J&J? Back to any of the other places and order differently?
Din Tai Fung Restaurant
1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
Jin Jiang Restaurant
109 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776
704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776
101 Noodle Express
1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
Dumpling Master Restaurant
423 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754
10053 Valley Blvd Ste 2, El Monte, CA 91731
Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan)
958 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755