Dear Mr. Gold:
Pot stickers — where?
—James, Pacific Palisades
A pork-filled northern Chinese pot sticker is a wondrous thing, softly pliant above and glossy-crisp below, maddeningly fragrant, trickling juice at the merest touch of a chopstick. The pot stickers at Luscious Dumpling in San Gabriel are beautiful examples of the breed, rustic and misshapen and dotted with blackened nubs of burnt juice — the pan-fried dumplings at El Monte’s wonderful Dumpling 10053 are just too carefully made to inspire that kind of spontaneous joy. The pan-fried dumplings at Din Tai Fung are perfect but soulless. Which brings us to the pan-fried dumplings at the Mandarin Deli chain, especially the outpost in Monterey Park on Garvey Avenue at Atlantic Boulevard — long things, crunchy rather than crisp, top open to the air so that the pork filling has a chance to breathe, impossible to eat without causing immoderate rivulets of juice to flow down your shirt front or onto your shoes. Mandarin Deli’s pot stickers were the gold standard in 1980, and they remain so today. Except lately I can’t stop thinking about the pan-fried buns at the relatively new Noodle House in Arcadia, which are fluffy rather than stretchy, succulent rather than juicy, and delicately scented rather than pungent and oniony. Are they technically pot stickers? No. But I don’t care. 46 W. Las Tunas Drive, Arcadia, (626) 821-0668.
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