Guide to LA’s best dim sum

Steamed Dumpling Sampler
Dim sum has made it to “weekend ritual” status in LA. Hong Kong’s morning ritual of tea + tapas-style snacking has jumped the Pacific—long lines of families, food hunters and bargain hunters in the San Gabriel Valley and Chinatown queue up for the best dim sum in LA. Among steaming trays of dumplings, buns and pastries, the offerings are seafood-centric, light in flavor and always in abundance. The best part? Each cheap eat plate is only a couple of bucks. Here’s a guide to some of the basic dishes to get your yum cha on.

Shrimp dumplings
Cantonese: ha gow \hä-gau̇\
Mandarin: xia jiao \shēə-jau̇\

This dish is what dim sum chefs are judged on. The goal is to get the wheat and tapioca dumpling wrapper thin enough so it’s translucent but thick enough that it doesn’t break. Ha gow goes great with soy, chili or hot mustard sauce.

Shu mai
Cantonese: Shu mai \shü-mī\
Mandarian: Shao mai \shau̇-mī\

Filled with pork and shrimp, these open-faced dumplings are steamed and usually topped with fish roe. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll sometimes get it studded with a huge scallop on top.

Barbecue Pork Buns
Cantonese: Cha siu bao \chä-sēyü-bau̇\
Mandarin: Cha shao bao \chä-shau̇-bau̇\

Cha siu is a Cantonese-style roast pork made with five-spice powder, various soy sauces and honey. Stuffed inside a thick, white, sweet bun, the bao is baked or usually steamed.

Originally posted on Time Out LA. Get the rest of the list here.