Review: Dim Sum in LA’s Chinatown

by Kelsey
One of the highlights of my time since moving to Los Angeles comes in the form of tiny little plates, steamer baskets, and a big pot of hot tea.

Dim sum (meaning “touch the heart”) has since changed my life.

Steamed dim sum

The tradition of ordering small portions of meats, vegetables, seafoods, and desserts originates from China. Patrons can order off a menu or from little carts pushed around the restaurant by servers.

Dim sum plates can be comprised of fried or steamed dishes, and includes crispy fried tofu, spring rolls, dumplings (both those like potstickers, and some that are coated with rice-flour and then fried), baked or steamed bau (fluffy buns filled with vegetables and meat or seafood), and deep-fried cakes made of taro or turnip.

There are also more exotic dishes like ginger beef tripe, chilled jelly fish, and fried-then-marinated-then-steamed chicken’s feet. Most of the dishes are accompanied with black bean sauce, spicy chili oil or mustard, or sweet and sour sauce.

Though most of the dishes have some type of meat in them, there are some delicious vegetable dishes, like choy sum or gai lan (Chinese greens), fried bok choy, vegetable spring rolls, and sweet red bean paste buns. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend dim sum for sensitive vegetarians.

Traditionally, the bill is calculated by stamping the tab, which is left on the table, based on the number and size of the dish ordered – anywhere from $1.50 (for the smaller cakes and rolls) to up to $12 or more (for the fancier dishes like crab or duck) per plate. Typically, if you go with a group, expect to pay around $8-10 and leave very full.

LA’s best dim sum:

Ocean Seafood Restaurant
750 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, 90012
Daily from 9am-10pm
Lot parking on Hill Street for $3.50

CBS Seafood Restaurant
700 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, 90012
Daily from 8am-9:30pm
Walking distance from lot parking on Hill Street

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