The best dim sum restaurants in Los Angeles

Looking for the best restaurants in Los Angeles for dim sum? Take a trip to the East for delicious dumplings, buns and pastries fried and steamed.

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Har gau at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Deep-fried durian pastry at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Egg custard at Elite Restaurant

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Shu mai at Elite Restaurant

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Sticky rice in lotus leaf at Elite Restaurant

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Photograph: Molly Cranna

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Chicken salad bun at King Hua Restaurant

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Photograph: Molly Cranna

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Pan-fried Shanghai-style bun at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

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Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Honey-glazed walnut shrimp at Ocean Seafood Restaurant

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Photograph: Molly Cranna

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Almond milk tea with puff pastry at Lunasia Chinese Cuisine

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Purple rice pudding at NBC Seafood

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Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Pan-fried chive dumpling at NBC Seafood

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Salt and pepper shrimp at Chynna

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Steamed char siu bau at Chynna

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Photograph: Courtesy Bao Dim Sum House

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Bao milk bun at Bao Dim Sum House

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Photograph: Courtesy Bao Dim Sum House

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Egg custard tart at Bao Dim Sum House

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Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Baked char siu bau at Won Kok Restaurant

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Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Sesame ball at Won Kok Restaurant

LA’s dim sum restaurants have a cult following that spawn hour-long queues and heated battles on where to get the best yum-cha, aka morning tea + dim sum. Whether you’re hankering for juicy siu mai (open-topped dumpling) or flexing your char siu bao (barbecue pork bun) aficionado title, here's your guide to the best dim sum breakfast spots in LA.

RECOMMENDED: See more of the best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles

Sea Harbour

San Gabriel Valley’s unsurpassed dim sum master, Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant dishes out the freshest seafood the neighborhood has to offer. Piping hot trays of dumplings—executed by deft hands—fly out of the kitchen. Shrimp dumpling (har gow) is flavorful yet refined with a delicate, translucent shell and shrimp-filled rice noodle roll (chee cheong fun) comes dressed in a light dressing that doesn’t overpower the shellfish, while the pork, peanut and celery dumpling plays with textures in a refreshing bite. For the more adventurous palate, order bite-size, deep-fried durian pastry filled with a tangy and creamy center.

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East Los Angeles

Elite Restaurant

Elite Restaurant takes a detour from the traditional dim sum carts with an upscale, full-course production while maintaining one of the most enthusiastic followings around. Though renowned for its egg-custard tart (dang ta)—a buttery, flaky crust filled with a rich, creamy and not too sweet custard—it’s hard to go wrong with any of Elite’s consistently killer offerings. Try sticky rice in lotus leaf for the ideal proportion of shrimp, pork and aromatic rice. A similar surf-and-turf option, pork siu mai is enclosed with plump shrimp and a sprinkle of roe. To end, gingerly bite into a golden cream bun filled with a gooey, sweet center.

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Monterey Park

Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

Take a trip to the Paris of the Orient at Shanghai No. 1 Sea Food Village. Sit in the polished banquet room with crushed red velvet walls and countless chandeliers while feasting on fresh dumplings, bao and seafood. A relative newbie on the dim sum block, Shanghai No. 1 brings an elevated Chinese brunch experience to the SGV with a focus on quality ingredients and well-executed dishes. A must try: The pan-fried Shanghai-style bun (#37 on the menu) has a golden brown bottom and a sprinkle of black sesame on the top, creating a crisp yet juicy taste of pork heaven—you may order nothing else.

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Los Angeles

King Hua Restaurant

Exemplifying its regal heritage in more than name, King Hua delivers refined dim sum in a fancy-pants dining room. Devour har gow with plump, fresh shrimp, nimbly bound in a translucent dumpling or dig into the treasure trove of goodies inside lotus leaf–wrapped sticky rice. The famed baked chicken salad bun—a sweet and crunchy bite of flavor—is filled with chicken, peas, carrots and scallions. Other menu items demonstrate King Hua’s focus on presentation: Lucky clover shrimp dumpling is intricately topped with goji berry, pea and corn; and the standard siu mai is overflowing with bright orange roe.

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Alhambra

Lunasia Chinese Cuisine

Home of the famed—and now absent—foie gras dumpling, Lunasia Chinese Cuisine offers a fresh take on classic dim sum in a polished space that serves the eager brunch crowd steamed and baked bites. Housemade dumpling standouts include juicy pork siu mai topped with mounds of bright orange roe and delicate har gow and beef chee cheong fun. Don't-miss dessert: The almond milk tea, a show-stopping dish of hot, sweet almond milk covered with a flaky, puff pastry top.

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Alhambra

NBC Seafood Restaurant

An ode to Chinese banquet style dining, NBC Seafood glistens with golden pillars and slip-covered chairs, and the dim sum carts are stacked high with an array of steaming goodies. Mouthwatering scents of barbeque pork and har gow waft through the packed banquet hall as hungry diners wait for tables. Flaky barbeque pork pies are a perennial favorite, but savory pan-fried chive dumplings are not to be missed. To finish: Purple rice pudding with taro and coconut milk deliver a sweet, toothsome bite.

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Monterey Park

Ocean Seafood

A beacon of hope for local, dim sum aficionados, Ocean Seafood delivers refined Chinese brunch fare in the center of Downtown's Chinatown. One of the best dim sum restaurants outside of the San Gabriel Valley, the restaurant boasts crystal chandeliers, a lofty banquet room and roaming carts carrying a wide selection of exemplary dim sum. Crispy, honey-glazed shrimp with crunchy, candied walnuts are tossed in a sweet, creamy sauce, while siu mai is presented on thin slivers of carrot, highlighting the bright mounds of roe on top. Try the lobster dumplings; the freshness is undeniable—sloth-like crustaceans lurk in tanks nearby—and hot jasmine tea helps wash down your guilt.

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Downtown

Bao Dim Sum House

Westside dim-sum fanatics rejoice for Bao Dim Sum House. The Chinese brunch tradition gets elevated day and night at the dimly lit, lounge-y restaurant, complete with happy hour. Wild crab dumplings get a generous heaping of roe, while the ubiquitous siu mai and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf deliver. Add cocktails to booze on—nothing says fusion like a white lotus cosmo—in the new age of yum-cha. Bonus: Social networkers are rewarded with a free signature milk bun with online check-in.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.

Chynna

This dim sum newbie is bit of a neighborhood anomaly in Little Tokyo, but Chynna turns out some of the best char siu bao outside of the 626. The skilled chefs create refined dim sum selections, including cloud-like steamed char siu bao filled with sweet pork goodness, addictive salt and pepper shrimp and highly sought-after almond milk tea with puff pastry.

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Downtown

Won Kok Restaurant

Forget grand banquet halls, Won Kok is the quintessential hole in the wall. A no-frills mom-and-pop restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, this hidden gem offers round-the-clock dim sum at hard-to-beat prices. Nosh on glossy, soft and not too sweet baked char siu bao (for a buck), and sip the complimentary pu-erh tea. While the dumplings are hit or miss, opt for baked goods—we love the baked coconut bun, rice cake and buttery almond cookies. Addictive sesame ball with smooth, red bean center is a signature favorite and delicate egg custard—they sell out daily—is a must. With goodies that leave your belly happy and your wallet full, Won Kok is a Chinatown staple.

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Downtown

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