Guys, I’ll admit it. I’m a Chinese food snob. But I like to think you would be if you once lived there too. For that reason I’m glad I live in LA, but sad that I live on the west side, about half a light-year from the real Chinese food in San Gabriel. That all changed, however, when ROC Kitchen opened up in the area I like to call Little Little Tokyo, but is fast becoming Little Asia with an influx of other Asian food like ROC Kitchen.
ROC Kitchen is a Chinese dumpling house and despite my recent visit to Din Tai Fung, I couldn’t wait to check it out. I went with a few other people and we ordered family style to try just about everything. First, of course, we got the classic pork xiaolongbao. These steamed soup dumplings hit the spot and while they may not have been the best they were quite delicious.
We then went for another classic, the rice cakes. Unlike typical cake, these are more like thick rice noodles and always make me happy. These were especially good, in somewhat typical, but somewhat unique brown sauce. As a break from pork, we ordered ours with chicken and although they came with spinach, I allowed it because I was sharing. Sharing is the worst.
We weren’t done with dumplings though. We had noticed another table eating something that looked like a sand dollar, which I’m sure is a delicacy somewhere in China, but knew it wasn’t to be eaten here. Nonetheless, we knew it had to be ours and it turned out it was the crispy pork dumplings. These little bundles of joy had no soup, but were fried on some crispy deliciousness and served with that crispiness on top. These were a great way to mix things up and certainly something I had never seen before.
We also got ourselves an order of scallion pancakes. These differed from the usual scallion pancakes in that they were a bit crispier. This wasn’t a bad thing, just a different thing, and perhaps was done so to be a better conduit for the ginger-soy sauce they came with.
All in all, ROC Kitchen may not be the best dumpling house in LA, but they are the undisputed king of the west side. It is awesome to know that they are now just a quick drive away and oh so tasty.