Food & Drink

The 8 best dim sum spots in LA

Published On 04/08/2014 Published On 04/08/2014
CLARISSA WEI

How many times has your buddy said, "Dude, we SHOULD totally get dim sum, where's a good place?", and how many times have you replied, "I have no idea, 'cause Thrillist never wrote an awesome guide to dim sum like they did with Korean BBQ and Thai and Vietnamese and sushi"? Well starting today, your answer to the latter will be "never". Here's Thrillist's guide to the best dim sum in LA.

Chynna
Best Downtown: Chynna (click here for address and info)

Downtown
If you're the guy who's like, "San Gabriel Valley? That's like 20 minutes PAST DOWNTOWN", hit Chynna -- especially on a weekday when $8 gets you a lunch combo that includes four dumplings (a scallop, a shrimp with leek, a pork and shrimp, and a vegetarian).

Flickr user Sarah_Ackerman
Best West of Downtown: Hakkasan (click here for address and info)

Beverly Hills
Okay, Hakkasan is pricey... like, REALLY pricey. But their dim sum's super legit, and you can also get fancy other-Chinese food like duck with caviar and black pepper beef with Merlot.

Flickr user Charles Haynes
Best To-Go: Dim Sum Station (click here for address and info)

West Covina
If you're the guy who's like, "I want to eat dim sum, but sitting in a chair in a busy room is just too much to ask of me", hit Dim Sum Station, a crazy-cheap West Covina spot with sesame rice balls for less than a buck, and roast pork buns that're baked enough that they, too, don't want to sit in a chair in a busy room.

Flickr user TofuProd
Best Intimate Excursion: Capital Seafood (click here for address and info)

Arcadia
This Arcadia dim sum joint is smaller than most, making it an idyllic place to head to if you’re sick of the large, booming banquet rooms typical of most dim sum restaurants. You can't leave without hitting their signature dish, the almond soufflé -- it's almond milk topped with a bread crust that’s flaky on the outside but soft when it crumbles into the milk.

Flickr user Alpha
Best Carts: Empress Harbor (click here for address and info)

Monterey Park
If you’re a traditionalist and prefer hailing down a cart full of food to (ugh) ordering, Empress Harbor is the place for you. The dim sum here is pretty great, and it’s the best place in town if you are more of a visual person/like pointing at food.

LA In Bloom
Best Porking: Elite (click here for address and info)

Monterey Park
The dim sum staple, shumai -- a chewy, pork-stuffed, egg noodle-enrolled piece of Chinese magic -- is topped with a scallop here, giving it a seafood hit on top of the pork fantasticness. You should get that, but also their almost donut-like baked pork buns (see above).

Flickr user Mighty June
Best Standby: Sea Harbour (click here for address and info)

Rosemead
This longtime go-to's been around since 2002 and has killer everything, but you gotta hit the low-fat milk bun. Despite a name that reminds you of everything you hate in the world, it's actually crusted with non-low-fat sugar on the outside, and a sweet creamy custard on the inside.

Flickr user Stuart_Spivack
Best Overall: Lunasia (click here for address and info)

Alhambra
Simply put, Lunasia is LA’s best dim sum joint. It's beautiful on the inside, the servers all speak fluent English, and most importantly, the food is transcendent. Unlike most dim sum, the portions at Lunasia are massive -- a single har gow is stuffed with at least three pieces of shrimp inside its gummy, thin, and translucent wrapper. And don’t leave without trying the flaky egg tarts, which're nearly overflowing with delicious custard.

Clarissa Wei is 1) a food writer, 2) the founder of food tour company Curated Gnomes, and 3) the head of marketing for Out of the Box Collective, a farm-to-kitchen grocery delivery service. You can find her on both Twitter and Instagram at @dearclarissa.

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1. Lunasia Chinese Cuisine 500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91899

Check out Lunasia for some awesome dim sum, pork buns and dumplings, and some of the "best Beef Noodle in the town".

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2. Sea Harbour 3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

This Rosemead dim sum establishment has plenty of delicious options for you to try: lots of styles of BBQ pork, steamed egg buns, and something called a low-fat milk bun that you are going to want to try (it's way better than it sounds).

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3. Elite Restaurant 700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

Serving up menu offerings that range from dim sum to pork buns, Elite is the cream of the crop when it comes to Asian eats.

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4. Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant 111 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

At Empress, you can forgo your standard "ordering" -- you'll see what piques your interest on carts that roll by and simply point... no menus necessary! Known for their dim sum, Empress also offers the standard Chinese menu items, like Kung Pao chicken and more.

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5. Capital Seafood 333 E Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006 (Arcadia)

This Arcadia dim sum joint is smaller than most, but still features a large menu loaded with big flavors. You can't leave without hitting their signature dish, the almond soufflé -- almond milk topped with a bread crust that’s flaky on the outside, but soft when it crumbles into the milk.

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6. Hakkasan Beverly Hills 233 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (Beverly Hills)

The glittery Beverly Hills outpost of this high-end Chinese chain offers up the likes of smoking Negronis, fancy dim sum, and desserts styled after terrariums.

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7. Chynna Dim Sum + Bar 333 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

This Little Tokyo dim sum-ery is a great cocktail bar as well. Sidle up to their no-cart bar with some salt & pepper chicken wings, cajun shrimp, and a delicious 'tail. Everything is made super-fresh.

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8. Dim Sum Station 1559 E Amar Rd, West Covina, CA 91792

The quintessential pit-stop, the Dim Sum Station is the perfect outpost for an LA drive. Get crazy with their egg custard or chicken feet, and finish it all off with some crispy sesame balls.

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