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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dumpling 10053 - El Monte

So on the heels of my waxing poetic about Luscious Dumplings several months ago, Rasa Malaysia and KevCheng of 50 Meals offered up their favorite dumpling house - Dumpling 10053 in El Monte (So named because of its address). Luckily it was just around the corner from one of my many cousins so we gave it a go. Otherwise, it's located way, way east on Valley Boulevard a goodly distance from the majority of the Chinese restaurants in San Gabriel and Rosemead. On a weekday during lunch it was completely full and we had a little wait. That's always a good sign. The interior with its green colors and dark wood was also a lot nicer than what I expected from the outside of the strip mall. Based on some Googling beforehand, I knew to avoid the rock cod and salmon dumplings. And while I like cod in my fish and chips, and salmon in general, I figured they'd be too dry for dumplings anyway. Also, no xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) here. Just your basic steamed or is it boiled? dumplings. We decided on the sole fish and leek dumplings. An order of 10 was $6.50. The fish was really moist, the stuffing quite full. The wrapper wasn't too thick or too thin, which worked well for seafood because you don't want a thick dough overwhelming the taste of the fish. The first initial dumplings were really tasty, but then after that, they seemed a little bland. The taste was a little too same-same, especially after the other dumplings started coming out. We also got shrimp and tender leek dumplings. An order of 10 was $6.50. These were by far my favorite. The dumpling was the size of my spoon so each one was packed with several large shrimp. The shrimp themselves had a nice crunch. I thought it'd be a bit excessive to get two leek dumplings but these were tender leeks so paler and lighter tasting. And then finally, an order of 10 crab, pork, and sea cucumber dumplings for $6.50. As you can see, the pork flavor was all that really came through. The crab was imitation. The sea cumber bits were unevenly distributed so some dumplings had them and some didn't. The Chowhound boards were all crazy about this dumpling but the sole fish and shrimp dumplings were much better in my opinion. All in all, I'd say Dumpling 10053's shrimp dumplings were really stellar as they were basically just whole shrimp. But then, if I were going for shrimp dumplings, I much prefer them in har gow with its nice chewy tapioca skin. The sole fish is nice for a healthy and light-tasting alternative. I'd skip the three-flavor one and opt to try one of their noodle dishes instead. But that's just me. The only downside is that it's located so very far from the main drag of Chinese restaurants on Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, or even the other strip of restaurants on Garvey in El Monte. Anyway, as I've said, I tend to go to the northern Chinese restaurants that feature dumplings specifically for the dumplings, and their other dishes are just a side for me. Update: June 10, 2007 My cousin suggested we go back for noodles and potstickers. So we did. I had forgotten to take a picture of the complimentary pot of tea so yes, there's free tea. I ordered the homemade sweet plum juice for $1.75. It didn't taste like plums at all. More like dried longans that had been boiled into a tea? Refreshing on this hot day, but just not quite what I was expecting. The cold cucumber salad for $2.50 had way too much sesame oil. I like my cucumber salad tart, like what's served at Mandarin Noodle Deli. I was so hungry though that I scarfed them down anyway. We ordered stewed beef and beef tendon noodles in spicy soup for $6.50. The soup wasn't spicy. But look at those tendon! They were incredibly soft. The broth wasn't flavorful without being gelatinous. Here's another angle so you can see the noodles. The soup came with this small jar of pickled mustard greens. I love pickles. I ate about half the jar. Mmm! The potstickers, an order of 8 for $5.75, looked golden didn't they? But they were so disappointing. Not crunchy at all. Anyway, overall the shrimp dumplings and tendon noodles were the best items here. Who else ate at Dumpling 10053? KevCheng of 50 Meals loved their dumplings and beef tendon noodles. Kirk of Mmm-yoso liked their three flavor dumplings but didn't like their rock cod. Dylan of Eat, Drink, & Be Merry ate a bunch of other dishes as well. Dumpling 10053 10053 Valley Blvd Ste 2 El Monte, CA 91731 626-350-0188 Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Cash Only


  1. Dumplings again?!?
    If you were a guy I'd call you the Dumpling Dude.

  2. So this is not XLB but dumplings jiao zi :D ...
    Did they serve ginger+vinegar or garlic+vinegar as the condiment for these JZ? I understand from my northern chinese ex-col that garlic+vinegar is actually the more authentic condiment for northern chinese but i guess some pple may not be able to take so much garlic! Well, they could...but make sure they do not speak after that *lol*

  3. Yich,
    Haven't you been paying attention? It's dumpling week! :P What's up with giving me so many nicknames? You can just call me "dumpling" no "dude" as a term of endearment. ;)

    Yup, just ordinary jiaozi. But I think the term is less well-known than XLB so I didn't use it. It's tradition to use garlic and vinegar? Really? None of the dumpling houses I've been to have garlic. Just vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, chili pepper.

  4. hehe dumpling week! :) dumplings are the best aren't they. :D

  5. I need to get me some sexy dumpling fun.

  6. He-he-he - I'm going to start calling you Wandering Dumplings!!!

  7. BC,
    They are! Have you tried any of these places yet?

    Better make sure Cat is included or I'm telling! ;)

    Haha! Everyone's coming up with new nicknames for me.

  8. lets go back and try the pan fried ones and noodles cuz i heard the noodles are the best there. visit mel.


  9. t,
    So? Were the noodles worth the trip back? 'Cause I know the potstickers weren't!

  10. yea the noodles were sooooooo good. visit us more often haha i want some more with lots of tendon!


  11. t,
    OK, next time we'll do tendon noodles without the beef.

  12. OMG! I live in the Bay Area and I would drive to LA just to eat here! I don't normally like dumplings but this place is simply out of this world!!!My family and I are going to Southern CA for Thanksgiving and I can't wait to go there again!

  13. Supermom,
    You're a much bigger fan than I. I like them OK. I just really like the shrimp dumplings and the tendon noodles.


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