Light and fluffy dumplings, pan-fried pot stickers, delicately steamed buns––there’s no doubt about it, dim sum is all that and then some. With Chinese New Year upon us (beginning Jan. 25) and to honor the Year of the Rat, head to one of these local hot spots to dine on Asian cuisine. From restaurants where kids can watch the rolling of dumplings to eateries with adorable pig and panda bao buns, we’ve found a variety of places to get your fill of dim sum. Read on for where to pick up your chopsticks.
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Din Tai Fung
Perfectly casual dim sum dining at UTC. Little eaters can watch the rolling of dumplings right inside this eatery. Even more, they'll chow down on chicken fried noodles and wonton soup. For grown-ups, you'll love the pork and crab xiaolong bao, pork bun or veggie dumplings. Yum!
Good to know: expect a wait, as Din Tai Fung encourages walk-ins.
4301 La Jolla Village Dr.
San Diego, CA 92122
With a nod to both meat and vegetarian options, go to Umami for sushi and dim sum. For dim sum, the bao buns with soy-braised pork-belly or caramelized onion and mushroom hit the spot. Likewise, the veggie caterpillar roll or spider roll (with soft shell crab) is a winner. Even more, there's a kids' menu with choices like teriyaki chicken or gyoza with rice and soup ($7). The whole fam is sure to enjoy this dining spot.
251 North City Dr., Ste. 122
San Marcos, CA 92096
Visit Bao Bar inside the Liberty Public Market for freshly-made steamed Chinese bao buns and fresh spring rolls both meat and vegetarian style. Even more, wash it down with a milk tea boba or smoothie with different toppings to choose from. There are plenty of other food offerings at the Market to satisfy every taste bud. Get your food, then pop outside, grab a table and eat up.
Liberty Public Market
2820 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106
Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
Let the good times roll at this grand seafood restaurant that's bustling with families. The classic har gow (shrimp dumplings) have a slight crunch and savory flavor. Another favorite, the BBQ pork buns go over well with young diners. There's a stage in the restaurant that hosts the lucky lion dancers several times around Chinese New Year (and it's free)! Remember to bring your red envelopes to feed to the dancing lion.
Dim Sum is served from open- 3 p.m. daily.
4609 Convoy St., Ste. A
San Diego, CA 92111
Kids will get a real kick out of the playful takes on Asian fare found at Harumama. How could anyone resist these adorable, cartoon-like character steamed buns? We think the panda bun (filled with a not too sweet purple potato) tastes yummy. Also, the cute chicken bun showers your taste buds with the creamy egg custard inside. You'll also find traditional ramen with a contemporary twist, specialty sushi rolls, bites and greens, small plates, noodles, bao buns and bowls on the menu. Wash your dim sum down with Japanese beer including Asahi and Kirin, along with local craft beer, specially imported beers, wine, sake, and non-alcoholic drinks.
La Jolla Location
1250 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
2958 Madison St.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Little Italy Neighborhood
1901 Columbia St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Dumpling Inn & Shanghai Saloon
Eat dumplings at this cool Shanghai-themed eatery. With little eaters entranced by the rickshaw in the room, it's easy to get your order in. Even more, as far as dumplings go everything is good. We eat up the soup dumplings and pan-fried pot stickers, always good to order with the crew in tow. Grown-ups will enjoy the shrimp and chive dumpling. Still more, the chow mein is a good option too. We recommend arriving early to find a parking spot.
4625 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111
These decadent dumplings are made fresh-to-order. Little eaters can watch them rolled from scratch right before their eyes! We love this restaurant's homey vibe and stylish decor with macrame hanging plants and a fire pit for outdoor dining. The dumplings are delish and you can choose between many different fillings. Order up their rainbow dumplings sampler and get one of each flavor: cabbage, chives, veggie, chicken & shrimp. Kids will love the cute panda bear or pig dessert bao with custard inside too.
4681 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111
––Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea
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