To understand how sorely we’ve missed our favorite Blue Smiling Face @ipsedixit’s contributions, is to make a visit to Ly Family Kitchen and partake of their Handmade Dumplings. The OG LA Hound’s tips and tasty food findings have been missing for far too long, but things are being made right again with recommendations like Ly Family Kitchen.
Located inside the generically named “Food Court”, you will find a Shandong Dumpling and Bao (Steamed Bun) Specialist named Ly Family Kitchen.
If we were strolling through the area and saw the signage, we’d probably keep on walking, as nothing in English says that it is a Dumpling or Bao specialist. But thanks to @ipsedixit, we know different.
Fortunately they have a full menu in English, so it’s easy to order.
I’m always on the lookout for a great version of a Chinese Green Onion Pancake, and seeing the kitchen staff kneading out dough and making all of their items by hand, we had hopes the Green Onion Pancake (made in-house) would be great.
Unfortunately it was burnt and just OK. It is perhaps my own fault for thinking this specialist might make great Green Onion Pancakes. Beyond the burned outside, the actual layers and dough was barely crisped and of good quality (mouthfeel). It wasn’t oily. However, it just didn’t have the depth of crave-worthiness that great versions have, and it lacked sufficient crisp-crunchiness.
Organic Leek & Pork Dumplings:
As @ipsedixit mentioned, Ly Family Kitchen makes their Dumplings in-house. But in addition to that, they offer a huge variety of Handmade Dumplings with some rarer offerings such as Mackerel, Korean Cabbage, Shepherd’s Purse Dumplings, Cuttlefish, Sea Cucumber and more, 23(!) different types of Handmade Dumplings in total.
- Note: While many of their offerings are listed in the “Frozen Food” section of the menu, they can make many of them cooked to order for you to eat immediately as well.
Taking a bite of the Organic Leek & Pork Dumplings, this is a thicker-skinned Dumpling, but with gorgeous, pleasing light chew and a toothsome quality. The Organic Leek & Pork filling within is nicely seasoned, savory, fragrant from the Leeks and outstanding! (@paranoidgarliclover @attran99 @ColinMorey @JeetKuneBao @Sgee and others.)
The simply named Pork Pie is even tastier! There’s an incredible, deeply savory, marinated quality to the Pork and Vegetable filling (nothing like a Dumpling filling), and the pan seared Dough adds a pleasing light crisped quality. Wow! This is better than similar-looking “Pies” at Beijing Pie House!
- Note: Make sure to ask if they have a fresh batch of the Pies (or if they made it recently). (Or if you can gently reheat on a pan at home, that would be ideal.)
Pork & Cabbage Bao (Steamed Bun):
Like their Dumplings, Ly Family Kitchen makes their Baozi (Chinese Steamed Buns) by hand, in-house as well! Their Pork & Cabbage Steamed Bun is fluffy, airy on the outside, and with a generous amount of mouth-watering Marinated Pork & Cabbage filling within. It was fantastic and they can be bought by the piece (instead of committing to a full order, which usually is too much). Must get!
They offer 8 different types of Bao in total. I’m most curious about the Shandong Fermentation Bun(!) (@ipsedixit have you tried it?).
Pork Wonton Soup:
These Wontons are not like Hong Kong / Cantonese-style Wontons, but they are sublime! They are smaller in size and more delicate than the Handmade Dumplings, silky, thinner and delicious! The Wonton Soup, however is just as impressive: A light, fragrant Chicken Soup, warming, not too salty, with the aromatics of Cilantro and bits of Seaweed.
We were so impressed with Ly Family Kitchen, we wanted to make a return visit to check on its consistency, making sure what we ate wasn’t just a fluke (or a dream).
Fennel & Pork Dumplings:
One of the more unique offerings is their Fennel & Pork Dumplings. It is incredibly aromatic with the Fennel being the star in this dish, and the Marinated Ground Pork, while tasty and porcine, takes a supporting role. Like before, the Handmade Dumpling skin is thick (in a good way), with a nice heft that doesn’t distract. Another outstanding Dumpling offering.
These were so good that we ended up buying a pack of their Frozen Handmade Dumplings for future meals. (They offer all 23 types of Handmade Dumplings in larger frozen bags as well.)
(Off-Menu) Chinese Chive Box:
Ly Family Kitchen also makes their own Chinese Chive Box in-house. It is not on the menu, and the only reason we knew about it was that we saw them making a batch for someone else.
Unlike their Scallion Pancake, the Chinese Chive Box is seared to a beautiful golden brown (perhaps the Scallion Pancake was a fluke). It wasn’t as crisped as I would’ve liked it, but the filling of Chinese Chives, Eggs and Vermicelli Noodles was spot on.
Pork Wonton Soup:
This 2nd time ordering their Handmade Pork Wonton Soup was just as good as the 1st time. In this chilly Winter season, their light Chicken Broth is the perfect antidote, warming, nourishing and the Handmade Pork Wontons are outstanding again, slippery, delicate and with a delicious deep marinated Pork filling.
Cabbage & Pork Bao (Steamed Bun):
Apparently they have 4 types of Steamed Buns not even on the menu, including this Pork & Cabbage Bao (Steamed Bun). As with the previous Bao we tried, this is fluffy, light and airy, but the filling of Stewed / Sauteed Cabbage and Marinated Pork was absurdly delicious! Not only was it a massive amount of filling, there was a beautiful, crave-worthy quality to each bite. So good!
The Quality-Price Ratio is absurdly high here: Their fantastic “Pies” (Beef Pie and Pork Pie) are a mere $2 or $1.50 respectively. Their Handmade Bao (Steamed Buns) are $1.50. The amazing Pork Wonton Soup is $5.99, and most of their Handmade Dumplings (cooked to order) are $8.99 (bags of their 50-piece Frozen Handmade Dumplings are $18 - $38 (for the Sea Cucumber and Cuttlefish).
Ly Family Kitchen is a new Handmade Dumpling & Pie Specialist that is making some of the best versions of many of the dishes we’ve tried in all of Southern California. Give any of their 23(!) different Handmade Dumplings a try; the Pork & Leek Dumplings and Shepherd’s Purse & Pork Dumplings were excellent, with a beautiful toothsome Dumpling Skin and excellent filling.
Their Beef Pie and Pork Pie are standout offerings, pan-seared and stuffed with a massive amount of absurdly, mouth-watering, savory fillings of Beef & Veggies or Pork & Veggies inside. Their Bao (Steamed Buns) might be the best we’ve had in recent memory, so light and airy, with some great fillings (ask them what they have fresh that day). And be sure to try their Pork Wonton Soup as well.
And so, even in a terrible 2020, we’re thankful to find little silver linings and culinary gems like Ly Family Kitchen. With them and Cindy’s Kitchen (nearby), it makes for a fantastic side excursion to enjoy some excellent Taiwanese and Shandong delicacies in one road trip. (Thanks again @ipsedixit!)
Ly Family Kitchen
(in Pacific Plaza Food Court)
18457 E. Colima Rd., Suites A&B
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Tel: (626) 759-7107