What's life without a little bit of cardinal sin?
For those of you who haven't watched Se7en (amazing movie, you guys should watch that tonight but not by yourself if you've got a faint heart), there are, as you can guess, seven capital vices that one shouldn't indulge in for the sake of their soul's salvation: wrath, sloth, greed, lust, envy, pride and gluttony. Now, I don't know about you, but out of those seven only one really, really appeals to me that I would totally forsake redemption for--I mean, food is life! Food is the delicious account of culture, food is what sustains us and best friends are made through a shared experience of a great meal! And alcohol, but we can get into that later (I'm a classy girl).
Oh, I'm Hannah, by the way. Newest contributor to SUSPEND Magazine and totally taking advantage of this series to be artfully gluttonous! I'm so excited to take you, you fine readers and supporters of SUSPEND, along with me on my foodventures; I'm big on the notion that food is meant to be shared and what better way to do it than to entice you with descriptive writing and tantalizing photos to tempt you all to step outside of your comfort zone? Cast your inhibitions aside, don't be afraid of flavor!
To kick off this series, I wanted to take you on a tour of my childhood, revisiting places that my family and I used to eat around Koreatown while growing up. It would be a way for me to actively share what I love so much about my own culture (there's way more to Korean food than Korean BBQ) and it'll also be an interesting experience for myself as well as I go back to explore the beginnings of my budding appreciation for food. Then, I figure, other places will organically pop up either by exploration or suggestions from you guys. Seriously, if there's a place you think I should check out, please share!
I'm especially fond of hole-in-the-wall joints and places that are obscured from the general public; there's nothing more satisfying than discovering an establishment that's tucked away, its appearance so inconspicuous, but goddamn does it pack fucking flavor!
Peking Dumpling is one of those places that offer you a very pleasant surprise. Located inside a Korean supermarket called Hannam Chain, you wouldn't know it existed unless you regularly shop there or if you happened to find your way in while passing through the neighborhood.
Once you're inside the Korean marketplace, swing a left and you'll find Peking Dumpling, Chinese lanterns and all.
Peking Dumpling is owned by a husband + wife duo who, if you're Korean yourself and familiar, speak with a heavy Yanbian accent. (Yanbian is located just north of the border with North Korea and a large number of ethnic Koreans live in the autonomous prefecture in China.)
My family has been buying king dumplings (or more commonly known as 'baos') from this place since I was a wee toddler. I remember not being able to finish a whole one and always saving the other half for later--how much time's changed! Or rather, how much my stomach has grown~ Now, more often than not, I have to stop myself from eating more than two (one starting this moment on, for the sake of keeping my figure, because this series is going to have me eating like No Face from Spirited Away)! What I love most about Peking Dumpling is the fact that it tastes exactly how I remember them to be; it's always awesome to go back to a place where the quality of taste hasn't changed over the years. Kicks my nostalgia into gear too! From the first bite into the king dumpling to the last, it's a great explosion of taste + texture and the filling + dough ratio is always consistent.
Peking Dumpling is open from 7AM to 8PM and I swung by early in the morning to pick up some king dumplings to bring with me to work (one of the perks of working with me is that I'm not hesitant about sharing food). There's the beef king dumpling, a veggie option, but my favorite is the red bean bun. Which is more of a dessert, if you think about it, but that sweet bao is perfect for breakfast too.
They also make wheat and corn rolls too, if you're just in the mood for bread.
Each box comes with six big king dumplings and one is the perfect portion (I said two before because I'm a fatass), not to mention pretty easy on the wallet (can't beat 6 king dumplings for $7!). They make for a great meal on the go or something easy you can bring to a potluck. So the next time you're in Koreatown, make a pit stop and try these amazing baos for yourself--beef if you're in a savory mood, vegetarian if you don't do red meat (deliciously savory as well), or the red bean for your sweet fix.
Creep it real, get your fat on,
Peking Dumpling, inside Hannam Chain Supermarket
2740 W. Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Follow Hannah RJA Song on Twitter at @hannahrjasong
Any food places to share? Let Hannah know at firstname.lastname@example.org