Chinese Cuisine

A Dim Sum Crawl in Chinatown

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Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM
click to enlarge Shrimp har gow at Empress Pavilion - EMPRESS PAVILION
  • Empress Pavilion
  • Shrimp har gow at Empress Pavilion

Chinatown was a main hub for dim sum before San Gabriel Valley earned its destination status. Now, the Chinatown Business Improvement District is about to reintroduce the neighborhood's eats with a crawl designed strictly for grownups.

This Thursday, April 18, the non-profit organization will host a nighttime dim sum crawl with beer pairings from local and regional breweries.

"In Chinese, 'dim sum' is equivalent to small bites," says Xiayi Shirley Zhang, who oversees the organization's social media outreach and helps with business development. She recognizes the most common practice may be having dim sum for brunch, but its actual definition made the food perfectly suited to a crawl through today's Chinatown.

Roy Choi recently announced plans to move Chego to Chinatown by the end of this month. Zhang says that other names have expressed interest in setting up shop in the area as well, which would add to the diversity of options for a downtown crowd interested in food and drink within walking distance.

The latter feature, as Zhang would point out, is less common in the San Gabriel Valley. "I really like the 626, but I've learned that Chinatown is just as vibrant in its own way," she says.

Zhang began working with her organization three years ago as a volunteer, shortly after she moved to Chinatown. Last December, she was hired on staff at a position that continues to shift and grow since she started.

The dim sum crawl will feature visits to four restaurants -- Empress Pavilion, Mandarin Chateau, Plum Tree Inn, and Hop Woo -- with 3-4 samples at each stop paired with beer chosen by one of the aforementioned breweries. Each restaurant will be matched with a brewery: Empress Pavilion and Noble Ale Works; Mandarin Chateau and Eagle Rock Brewery; Plum Tree Inn and Craftsman Brewing; Hop Woo and Kinetic Brewing.

During one test run, Empress Pavilion served a sampler composed of a char siu bun, a potsticker, a mini lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice, and a steamed rice noodle roll. There was a xialongbao, a potsticker, and a portion of the house special chicken at Mandarin Chateau.

Tickets are now $60 and can be purchased online. LA Weekly readers get a $10 discount when they apply the code "laweeklyfriends."

And in related news:

- 10 Best Dim Sum Restaurants in Los Angeles

- Lucky Peach's The Essential Guide to Dim Sum

- 80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

- 6 Great Dim Sum Dishes at Sea Harbour

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Follow the author on Twitter at @chrstnchiao.

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