MaMa's Lu Dumpling House
153 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
Another highlight of our Los Angeles food trip was Mama's Lu. Originally, Mama's Lu wasn't even a definite part of our itinerary. It was listed as a maybe. However, since last time when we tried to visit, it was closed, I decided to pay Mama's Lu a visit this time around. And I'm really glad we did.
I had heard good things about Mama's Lu and about their very cheap prices. I had a plan to only try out a few items that were highly recommended over and over again from the blogs I read. When we arrived, the place was already quite busy and there was a wait. Luckily, we got a table pretty quickly.
When I had the menu placed in front of me, all thoughts of ordering just a couple of items flew out the door. I couldn't believe how cheap the prices were. Page after page after page of ridiculously low prices. Almost everything was priced around $5.99. I suddenly wanted to try everything.
So, we ended up ordering too much food than we could eat. But it was fun to try them all.
As soon as we sat down, we were given some peanuts and cucumbers to start.
The peanuts were salted and had pieces of dried nori seaweed flavoring them. The cucumbers were really crisp and crunchy.
We ordered sauteed green beans. For $5.99 this was a really big order. The pictures doesn't do it justice as how big it was.
The string beans were delicious.The beans are fried, which is what creates the wrinkly looking skin. A lot of times this dish can come out too oily or the beans are overcooked and come out really mushy. The beans here were crisp and not too oily. They were also cooked with pickled radish and little dried shrimp. I loved the crunchiness of the little bits of radish and the dried shrimp added a wonderful taste to the beans. I really loved these beans. I'm definitely going to order them again.
We also ordered the house special fried rice
The fried rice portion was huge. We had so much leftover that we could barely fit it in the take out container. Unfortunately, I wasn't really a fan of the fried rice. First, usually when it says House Special, there is a mix of ingredients, such as a mix of meat and seafood. This House Special fried rice only had chinese sausage. Also, the rice was pretty dry. It needed more oil.
We also ordered the Shanghai rice cakes.
I didn't love this dish either. I thought there were too many vegetables, creating a watery taste. Also the sauce seemed to be made up of only soy sauce. I usually like this rice cake dish, but I didn't love the version at Mama's Lu.
At $4.99, we had to order the pork soup dumplings (xiao long bao).
Unfortunately, I was not a fan of these either. Some were broken. The skin was too thick and the inside not flavorful or juicy enough.
The beef noodle soup was really cheap too, so I had to order it.
Sadly, I did not like this. The beef had a pretty good flavor, but the broth was so watered down it was almost tasteless.
The green onion pancake came highly recommended from all the blogs I read.
This completely lived up to the hype. I would come back here just for the pancake. It was moist, perfectly crispy, not too oily, had tons of layers packed into the thin pancake and was just the right amount of thickness. By far one of the best green onion pancakes I've ever eaten.
We also ordered fish dumplings.
These were really flavorful. There was a lot of seasoning, but you could still subtly taste the fish. I liked these a lot. They even tasted good the next day. Next time I'll have to get some to go.
Finally, we ordered the chive and pork dumplings.
The dumplings had so much juice inside! And I thought the mixture of chives and pork was perfect.
Our bill at the end of the meal? $42! Boyfriend was so shocked when he saw the bill. While we didn't love everything we ordered, the menu here is pretty big so there is plenty more to try. And the prices are so cheap! Even late night specials in San Diego still cost more than Mama's Lu. I think if I lived in Monterey Park, I wouldn't bother cooking again.
Here is the menu:Yum