Trying to find the best dumplings in the SoCal area is a task. It is not hard to find potstickers near you, but how do you find the best ones? The options are endless, but we tried to narrow it down for you. Whether you are looking for speed, variety, or the type of environment, we tried out four different dumpling places to give you the best options.
1. Din Tai Fung
Located in the upper level of South Coast Plaza, Din Tai Fung is famous for their dumplings and the busiest of our stops. If you are looking for a quick lunch, this might not be the best option, unless you make a reservation or order to go. The restaurant offers both inside and outside seating. The restaurant makes the dumplings by hand, and you can see the people doing it through the glass window. Once you sit down at Din Tai Fung, the wait is not too long, and they offer a variety of dumplings, including the famed Truffle and Pork XiaLongBao, also known as the soup dumplings. If you are looking for a fancier dumpling place with a variety of options, including vegan, Din Tai Fung is the place.
2. 101 Noodle Express
Our second stop had a much different vibe than Din Tai Fung. It is not as fancy as Din Tai Fung, and the place only takes cash, so make sure to bring some money before you find yourself looking for the nearest ATM. The dumplings at 101 Noodle Express were simply delicious. We tried the chicken fried dumplings ($6.99 for 10) and the steamed pork dumplings ($6.79 for 10). Out of all our stops, the steamed pork dumpling at 101 Noodle Express was my favorite. The restaurant offered a nice variety of options and had our dumplings out in minutes. If you are looking for a fast, cheap, and delicious lunch option, then stop by 101 Noodle Express, located at 5408 Walnut Ave, Irvine.
3. JA Jiaozi Authentic Dumplings
The third stop on our hunt was JA Jiaozi Authentic Dumplings, located in Irvine at The Market Place. This location is similar to Din Tai Fung as it had a glass window to show how they make the dumplings. JA Jiaozi Authentic Dumplings has a very aesthetic and modern look. The dumpling variety was more limited here than at the two previous restaurants, but they do offer different colored dumplings. But the sauce at JA Jiaozi was by far the best I’ve had. The restaurant has a variety of sauces that you can combine, whether its chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, or the signature sauce. My favorite combination was the signature sauce with the chili oil. It tasted lighter than the soy sauce and had a spicy feel to it once you added the chili oil. I would check out JA Jiaozi for a Saturday night dinner with the best dumpling sauce in town.
4. Min’s Dumpling House
The final stop in the search was Min’s Dumpling House, located in 627 N Euclid St, Anaheim. At this location, we had the “Juicy Pork Dumplings” and the “Pan Fried Dumplings” which were also pork. At Min’s Dumpling House, they have a poster showing a step by step of eating a soup dumpling, not found at the other locations, and was quite helpful. The pork soup dumpling had a more authentic taste than the ones at Din Tai Fung, but the fried ones were a little more greasy than expected. The restaurant was smaller than the other locations and offered a tasty variety of dumplings at a reasonable price.
The four dumpling spots we went to all offered something different for everyone. Make sure to check out the places and take your pick for the best dumpling location.