Thursday, September 08, 2011

Mama's Lu Dumpling House - Monterey Park

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For a while a few years ago, Right Way to Eat kept trying to convince me to try other dumpling houses, but I wasn't willing to give up my favorite -- Luscious Dumplings, Inc. - San Gabriel. Well, I've certainly tried other dumpling houses, I just refused to relinquish the title of "favorite" to any other. :)

After going back and forth on various places, we decided to eat at Mama's Lu Dumpling House in Monterey Park. This was partly because it's owned by the daughter of the original mama Lu herself of Dean Sin World - Monterey Park fame, and partly because I was curious about the restaurant that replaced Heavy Noodling, which I liked more for its name than its knife-cut noodles.

On my first visit in April 2009, we started off with a pot of tea and peanuts dusted with salt, sugar, and seaweed, which is reminiscent of what you'll get a Dean Sin World.

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Shanghai rice cakes, $5.99. Nice chew and flavor, although a little blander than the dark, smoky versions at J & J (Jin Jian) Restaurant - San Gabriel or Mei Long Village - San Gabriel.

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Xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings), $4.50.

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These were nice and juicy. I wonder if mama Lu's daughter would just use her mom's xiao long bao, or have the chefs here make their own? If they're not the exact same ones, then they're very close in quality.

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Pan-fried dumplings, $4.50. These were huge and reminded me of Mandarin Noodle Deli - Temple City, but weren't quite there.

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And although they were fine, neither version of potstickers was as good as my beloved Luscious Dumplings' version. Ha!

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House special fried rice, $6.99.

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Anyway, so while dinner was fine, it just seemed like if I wanted xiao long bao, I would just go to Dean Sin World (which I do), and if I wanted potstickers, I would go to Luscious Dumplings (which I do also).

So there the pictures languished because nothing was pushing me to revisit Mama's Lu right away. Then back in February, my friend DP and I didn't want to wait at Luscious Dumplings, so I suggested here so I could finally blog it.

There was still about a 10- to 15-minute wait. The restaurant was mostly packed with families dining out for the weekend. Complimentary peanuts and pickled cucumbers.

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The xiao long bao had gone up in price and were now $4.99 for 10. Potstickers were still $4.50. They've also added a whole lot more items to the menu, including a lot more variety of dumplings.

We opted for an order of xiao long bao, potstickers, and abalone mushroom with lettuce, $5.99.

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Yum! I love cooked lettuce. And the abalone mushrooms and the sauce were so good.

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Anyway, the food at Mama's Lu is perfectly fine, it's just for dumplings and other Shanghai specialties, there are other restaurants that I prefer their versions more. But if you're looking for a restaurant that's an overall dumpling house that also serves other dishes well, then certainly go here.

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The crowds of families and wait times on weekends certainly testify to its popularity.

Other dumpling restaurants:
Dean Sin World - Monterey Park
Dumpling 10053 - El Monte
J & J (Jin Jian) Restaurant - San Gabriel
Luscious Dumplings Inc. - San Gabriel
Mei Long Village - San Gabriel
Pa Pa Walk - San Gabriel

Mama's Lu Dumpling House
153 E. Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91755-2954
10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays.

1 year ago today, Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles - Pasadena.
2 years ago today, Shiprock - New Mexico.
3 years ago today, How to Make a Loofah/Luffa Sponge.
4 years ago today, thanh long (Vietnamese dragon fruit) in my youngest uncle's garden.


  1. I went for the first time earlier this week, and I totally agree with your assessment.

    I'll go back, though, because it only cost $8 with tip and has room for more people than either Dean Sin World or Luscious Dumplings.

  2. Speaking of Mandarin Noodle Deli, the new outpost is called House of Mandarin Noodle, if you have not known yet.

    Those Shanghai rice cakes look really good! Just had some today...but at a different restaurant.

    In terms of appearance the Xiao long bao certainly look different compared to what I've had from Dean Sin World's frozen XLB and from the restaurants that most likely source their XLB from DSW.

  3. WeeMo,
    Yup, the price point is why I go to lots of places. :)

    I like the Shanghai rice cakes at J&J best. The skins on these XLB look a little different, huh? You can see them folding dumplings right in the restaurant.


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