Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

80: Shu mai at Elite Restaurant.

Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park has a reputation for being one of the most civilized dim sum palaces in town — if you're accustomed to waving down rattling food carts or boxing out a table of grandmothers for the last order of har gow, you'd probably find the attentive table service and the subdued vibe a bit of a surprise. Things are mellower here. The flaky egg custard tarts, dainty things tinged with a bit of caramelized sugar, taste like they could have been flown in from the finest Paris patisserie.

The plump shu mai on the other hand, loose-skinned dumplings packed with shrimp and fatty slips of pork, are pure forces of nature. Not only are they some of the most massive, golf ball-looking versions you'll find in the SGV — if the weatherman ever describes the hail outside as Elite shu mai-sized, run for cover — they're also juicy and supple enough to please the most jaded dim sum veteran. Redolent of rice wine and sesame oil, and crowned with a dab of bright red fish roe, these shu mai hold one more surprise: a tiny round of scallop tucked into each dumpling. It would be easier to cram 20 fraternity pledges into a VW bug than to stuff more filling into these things.

Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

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