What I Did This Week: 10 Best Soup Dumplings In LA; Inside A Dim Sum Kitchen


Hi all. I’m getting fancy with the design on this site. Would love any feedback.

Here’s what I did this week:

1) For LA Weekly, I published a list of my top ten favorite places for soup dumplings in Los Angeles.

2) I also went behind the scenes of Ocean Star (dim sum resto in Monterey Park) and got some kitchen snapshots.

3) My first segment with LA18 broadcasted. The topic: 626 Night Market. (Pardon the terrible Chinese. Apparently I speak Mandarin with a prominent Valley girl accent. I annoy myself)

4) Refrigerator Raid: Chef Paul Corsentino of The National

5) And here’s a teaser…
oceanstarchickenfet copy



  1. Street Gourmet LA

    Hey Clarissa. It was entertaining reading Chowhounders(many Asians) that haven’t been to China or Taiwan, or that have only been on A trip, and maybe had a pair of experiences with soup dumplings. You are enciting the food geeks to squeal like a bunch of 13-year-old girls at a Bieber concert. Keep up the good work, and press forward with the real travel, research, and experiences you are having.

  2. Mr Taster

    Here’s the thread Street Gourmet LA is referring to:

    Here’s my take (if you’ve followed my posts on Chowhound over the last decade, you know that I’ve made several trips to Taiwan to visit my in-laws (going again in December), and spent 2 months traveling through China back in 2006, as part of a 6 month whirlwind backpacking journey through SE Asia, China and S Korea).

    I fell in love with Din Tai Fung early on in my San Gabriel Valley explorations (circa 2004) and I still have a soft spot. Among the pantheon of SGV xiaolongbaoeries, it’s unique– nobody else makes those skins as light and thin. The soup is consistently light, brothy and hot, never greasy. And although I’ve been underwhelmed by the chicken soup at the LA branch, I’ve had it at the original Taipei branch and it was luscious and impossibly rich. During our travels, we also tried DTF branches in Shanghai and Beijing, as well as trying the old Nanxiang restaurant in Shanghai, and various street versions wherever we found them. The Tiawanese street xiaolongbao are particularly different, with a very thick skin, little (if any) soup and a funky fermented chili paste for dipping. (I’ve yet to find this humble street version anywhere in LA– in Taiwan, a tray costs about 30 yuan, or about $1 USD)

    But, I haven’t been back to DTF in years. I used to go when I didn’t have experiences with any other places– it was easy and accessible, and (I thought, at the time) cheap. Now that I’ve been chowing around SGV for a long time, I can’t bring myself to pay nearly double what I would at a less famous place for a tray. Are they worth fully double what I might get at J&J, Dean Sin World or Meilong Village? I suppose that’s a personal judgment call. None of them are really like DTF xiaolongbao. But I still can’t bring myself to pay the higher price- though I certainly could see myself going back to help ease the occasional XLB neophyte friend into the warm and savory culinary waters of Chinese SGV.

    Here’s a thing– in Taiwan, where most things cost about 1/3 of the cost they do in the US, Din Tai Fung’s XLB cost the same as they do here in America. But in Beijing, for some reason, they cost about 1/2. (This was true as of several years ago, so bear that in mind)