Dear Mr. Gold,
Many years ago, there was an all-night dim sum café in Boston’s Chinatown called the Bo Shek Café. When I went to Brandeis, we used to go get cheap dim sum up until 4 a.m., when they would close for an hour to clean up. I have never again found anything like it anywhere. I don’t suppose you know of anything like that here in L.A.? I still occasionally dream of eating dim sum for dinner instead of brunch.
—Greg Prestopino, L.A.
Dear Mr. Prestopino,
To Cantonese, dim sum at night is a little like pancakes and scrambled eggs for dinner — not unheard of but a little odd. As you’ve discovered, dim sum is a daytime meal, and the best dim sum places in L.A. (and Vancouver, and Hong Kong) have completely separate kitchen staffs for their dim sum breakfasts and their nighttime meals, when elegant seafood menus are served. There are any number of Los Angeles restaurants that offer dim sum through dinner, but I’m assuming that you are looking for food perhaps less deracinated than you will find at a place like Chin Chin or P.F. Chang’s. If takeout is okay, the Yum Cha shops in Chinatown and the San Gabriel Valley serve competent if not exciting versions of the dumplings all day, although even there, the noodle and rice dishes tend to dominate after 3 p.m. or so, and the Chinatown branch closes by 5 p.m.
If northern dumplings are okay, however, Shanghainese places — Mei Long Village, Green Village, Giang Nan — will let you order them at night, including flaky pork dumplings and soup dumplings that are only a dream in most dim summeries. Dumpling Master, Dumpling 10053 and Luscious Dumplings Inc. serve dumplings night and day. And of course the fabled Taiwanese dumpling joint Din Tai Fung in Arcadia serves dumplings until closing, which may not be 4 a.m. but at least will get you to 9:30 p.m. Din Tai Fung Restaurant, 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, (626) 446 8588. Also (around the corner), Din Tai Fung House, 1088 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, (626) 574-7068 and (626) 574-1440.
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