Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mama's Lu Dumpling House (一口福) - Bad Grammar, but solid food (Monterey Park)

Outside Mama's Lu

Ah, being behind on food blogging and photo editing. It seems that some food bloggers are better than others, but sadly, I'm pretty behind.

On one raining evening in the SGV, I met up with Matt of Mattatouille, Christine of folie a choisauce, Mike of Pepsi Monster, and Jackie of Citynitz for a Northern Chinese "doughy" dinner at Mama's Lu, a place recommended to me by a friend that I had yet to try. Since I was the lone FOB, *ahem* I mean Chinese speaker of the group, I took the liberty of ordering for the group. Seriously, shouldn't this place be called "Mama Lu's" instead of "Mama's Lu?"


Green Onion Cake (蔥油餅) - $1.99

We started off with 2 orders of their famous green onion cake. Although it's one of the most simplest thing on any menu, especially at a Northern Chinese style restaurant, I've had some pretty horrible green onion cakes in my days (soggy, oily, you name it). The version found here is simply delicious. Crispy, flavorful, and at only $1.99 to boot, it's hard to beat this version based on taste and price. Call it Chinese Pizza or whatever, it's just plain delicious. Probably my favorite thing found at Mama's Lu.

Shanghai Rice Cake (上海炒年糕) - $5.99

House Special Fried Rice (楊州炒飯) - $6.99

The Shanghai rice cakes were similar to what my mom would make for me at home. The rice cakes, stir fried with some Chinese bok choi, pork strips, and other seasonings were pretty authentic and delicious (and yes, A LOT better than the version found at Din Tai Fung). The house special fried rice was ordered probably due to my love of fried rice. Eaten with ketchup, with hot sauce, even eaten plain, I love fried rice. Heck, I'm sure I'll even like the fried rice found at Panda Express (note: this writer has never stepped foot inside a Panda Express, but sadly has eaten at PF Chang's). With pieces of carrots, peas, Chinese sausages (臘腸), and shrimp, the fried rice was pretty damn solid.

Juicy Pork Dumplings, 10pcs (小籠湯包) - $4.50

Again, going back to my previous post about Din Tai Fung, for something $3 less than DTF, you really can find something as tasty, but a lot better for your wallet. A basket of juicy dumplings (XLB) should not cost close to $8. I enjoyed the soup dumplings here, but the skin is slightly thicker than the version found at DTF. It's a minimal difference, at least for me, and should not deter most of you to try the XLB here.

Fish Dumplings, 8pcs (魚餃) - $4.99

Honestly, I preferred the fish dumplings at Kingburg a lot more. The version here, at Mama's Lu was slightly watery, and bland. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't as good as I had hoped.....

Fried Pork Bun, 6pcs (生煎包) - $5.50

Ever since Noodle House closed down in Arcadia early last year (one of the last meals I had with my ex), I've been searching long and hard for some good fried pork bun. From Dean Sin World, to Kingburg, heck, even the ones at Shau May, I've yet to be satisfied, and sadly, the version here wasn't up to par. I miss the buttery taste of the dough and the juicy filling that awaits to be eaten. While the fried pork bun wasn't exactly bad here, it was just OK.

Pan Fried Dumplings, 8pcs (鍋貼) - $4.50

While the potstickers were pretty solid here, I think I still prefer the version at Dean Sin World slightly more.

In the end, while there were some slight missed during the dinner at Mama's Lu, I was generally satisfied with the items we ordered. As mentioned earlier, I especially love the green onion cake and the house special fried rice. I went back after this dinner and tried the kung pao chicken, and it was actually pretty good. Look, at under $10/person with tax and tip, it's really hard to knock a place too much for their food, and it did not disappoint. Overall, it's a place I enjoyed and plan to make repeat visits. There may be better dumpling places out there, or even better place for fried rice, but based on location, price, and food, it definitely has earned a "solid" rating from me.

*Note* I gotta love my pictures from my old Nikon point and shoot.....*sarcasm*

Final Grade
  • Taste: 4 out of 5
  • Decor: 3.5 out of 5 (gotta love these LCD TVs at these Chinese places around SGV)
  • Service: 3.5 out of 5
Mama's Lu Dumpling House
153 E. Garvey Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91775

*Note* Close Wednesdays
Hours of Operation
Thurs-Tues: 10:30am -3:00pm, 5:00pm - 9:00pm

Mama's Lu Dumpling in Los Angeles


Bonnibella said...

The P&S quality is definitely noticeable. I like green onion pancake too and this looks good, my dad makes a kick ass one from scratch. You are the only chinese speaking blogger out of the group, how do you guys do fobby ktv? =)

I like DTF elastic dough, it's very thin and translucent and not the best xlb out there and agreed it's extremely overpriced.

Gastronomer said...

Nice one, KFP! This and Bonmarche are on THE LIST. Where shall we go first?

Kung Food Panda said...

Bonnie: I'm trying to get my old pics out of the way, since I don't want it go to waste....

We go to K Town and sing, mostly English songs :)

Cathy: Let's go amiga!! :D

Food GPS said...

Your "solid" rating sounds about right, though Mama needs to raise her game on the potstickers. Those rice cakes are excellent, crusty and smoky. Totally agree with your Din Tai Fung comments. DTF is outstanding, but the last time I was there, their rice cakes were watery and left an aftertaste.


Bonmarche was a major letdown and highly skippable.

Kung Food Panda said...

Josh: I agree with your take on Mama's. I wasn't a fan of the pot stickers nor the dumplings, but everything else was quite good. DTF isn't as horrible as I probably has said, but for the price and for the area, you certain can do a lot better!

Bonmarche was interesting, but honestly, I don't love it. Nice people there though...

joanh said...

looks good! wow- LA DTF's XLB are $8?! wow. the fried pork buns and fried rice look good.

i can't believe you never ate at Panda Express before? i used to like their orange chicken. LOL

Princess Kitty said...

So..when you take me? hehe..
is their XLB really better than DTF?

Kung Food Panda said...

joanh: And if you add tax/tip, it's like $9/order of XLB. With Panda Express, I guess I was never interested in eating fake Chinese food =) I do like Yoshinoya in TW though!

PK: Come, let's go!! Honestly, DTF is better, but Mama's is cheaper =)

Unknown said...

the shanghai rice cake looks a lot like korean ddok bokki - the way my granny used to make it. *sniff*

i would go there JUST for the green onion pancake. i love pancakes of all genres EXCEPT the sweet nasty american stuff.

H. C. said...

heh, this FOB has committed the reverse sin (done Panda Express, but never PF Chang's) -- and I think almost any place's Shanghaiese rice cakes > DTF's version! My personal fave still lies with J&J's which is just greasy and soy-saucey enough for me.

And yea, totally hard to knock a place with so much food for so little dough--that meat-filled-carb fest looks fun!

Kung Food Panda said...

Jin: it's the same duk used in duk guk :) I love duk buk kee though...I guess I'm a fan of carbs! Seriously, it's one of the best, if not the best green onion cake in Los Angeles.

H.C.: I need to try the J&J version man, let's hit it up one day for dinner! Cheap cheap cheap, one of the reasons I love SGV!

Pandalicious said...

cheaper dumplings than DTF? i like!

Right Way to Eat said...

Dude, I forgot about the write up to this place. I got to admit, that night's dinner was one of the better one I have at Mama's Lu only because we ordered so much stuff. We'll have to come back here again to try out the new stuffs in their menu.

Kung Food Panda said...

Pandalicious: Yup, and I like it better than DTF!

Mike: Let me know when you want to go back, you know I'm always up for it :)