99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Myung In Dumplings

photo by Danny Liao

If your experience of L.A.’s dumpling palaces has been restricted to the San Gabriel Valley, you may indeed be sated and happy — but you’re also missing out. In particular, don’t overlook Koreatown, where there are fantastic dumplings to be had, notably in the crowded strip mall on Olympic that houses Myung In Dumplings. These are handmade dumplings, called mandu here, and they’re Korean by way of China, as is the restaurant’s owner. The place has the kind of cafeteria vibe that makes it perfect for a lunch on your day off, maybe after you’ve spent a few hours at the Korean spa across the parking lot — a long lunch, if only to make sure you’ve ordered everything Anthony Bourdain devoured on his K-town TV food tour stop. (Thankfully, mysteriously, the place still never seems to be crowded.) The spicy pork dumplings, wrinkled like spent elastic cords and sauced with chiles, are awesome, as are the king dumplings, pale and enormous as softballs. Don’t forget a metal tray of steamed dumplings, too. They may not be as perfect as Din Tai Fung’s (what are?), but they’re awfully good, and provide a nice segue into the dumpling soups you’ll probably want to order, too. Bring some friends — or maybe your own film crew — to help you eat.

-- Amy Scattergood