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02/05/2013 06:17 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2013

Best Dumplings In LA: Under-The-Radar Chinese Restaurants (PHOTOS)

This story comes courtesy of Discover Los Angeles.

By Dylan Ho

Known in China as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is one of the most anticipated and celebrated times of year for Chinese throughout the world. Tradition calls for the gathering of families and friends, which usually leads to the distribution of red envelopes stuffed with cash, firecrackers to ward off evil spirits, endless bouts of bad karaoke, and of course, plenty of eating. The Chinese are deeply superstitious and continuously seek wealth and prosperity in their lives, a symbolism that extends to their cuisine. The dumpling (jiao zi, 餃子) was historically shaped into a gold or silver ingot, which symbolizes wealth in Chinese culture. In China, America and throughout the Chinese diaspora, it is tradition to gather around a table with members of the family to make dumplings during New Year's Eve. The consumption of the "edible ingots" symbolizes the gathering of money and future prosperity.

The dumpling can be made into different forms with different fillings and prepared through pan-frying, deep-frying, boiling and steaming. This list expands into the steamed buns (man tou) / soup dumplings (xiao long bao) category as well, because in America, the definition of a “dumpling” has seemingly expanded to include “any flour wrapper with meat/vegetable filling." The usual suspects in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) dumpling scene include Luscious Dumpling, Din Tai Fung and Dean Sin World (Mama's Lu, Lu Dumpling House). And while those places do have tasty offerings, the large influx of Mainland Chinese in the area since 2000 has opened up a plethora of amazing dining options, particularly in the xiao chi category (小吃, literally meaning "dim sum" or "little snack"). The constant turnover in the area's kitchens means there's always something new and exciting happening in the SGV. Here’s a selection of the numerous restaurants that are worth checking out, and many will appeal to the most adventurous foodies.

Photos by Dylan Ho.

PHOTO GALLERIES
Best Chinese Dumplings In LA

Dylan Ho is a travel photographer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @eeddbbmm. Discover Los Angeles is the website of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. For more Discover Los Angeles guides, click here.

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