Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PINGTUNG Eat-In Market: Great Asian Food on Melrose, For Real

When you talk about Chinese food on the westside, West Hollywood, or Hollywood, you're immediately skeptical. Of you might say that "it's pretty good for the westside". Well, PingTung recently opened up on Melrose, serving up dim sum, Chinese rice dishes, beef rolls, and Japanese ramen, and it's good. Not just "it's pretty good for Melrose", but actually good.

Unlike the higher end Bao, PingTung is more casual, with wooden tables and an outdoor night market style seating in the back. There are Asian products displayed on the shelves for purchase. That's the market part. I'm here for the eat-in part.


The owner (Ping) had hired a Chinese chef to make all the dim sum and a Japanese chef to make all the ramen.
She told us that the chefs had protested initially when she told them to cook with no MSG and less oil, but they finally figured out how to do this while maintaining the taste.

Pingtung Flat Bread Beef Roll ($6.95)

I thought the flatbread would be some kind of pizza-like thing but it turns out to be these rolls! They're done well, the skin nicely crisped at the edges.

Chicken Shumai ($5.50)
They also have pork shumai but Ping really wanted me to try the chicken shumai. Have to admit, they're pretty good (that just means the pork would be that much better, right?). They tasted cleaner than SGV dumplings but that's not necessarily bad.

Radish cake with chinese sausage ($4.95)
My default order when I go to dim sum. I like the browned, thinner version here. More crisp to volume ratio!

Crystal Shrimp Dumplings ($5.50)
No dim sum without har gow!
When I eat this, the thing I watch out for is the skin. Sometimes the skin is too thick or too hardened. Not so here, I was pleasantly surprised that the skin and, indeed, the whole dumpling was excellent.

(Spicy) Miso Tonkotsu Ramen $7.95
They don't make the noodles in house but the noodles they use were specifically made for their broths. The company they use had come to taste the broth and figured out the right noodles to use. The tonkotsu is not as fatty as most places but it's still quite good! Healthier while maintaining great flavors, indeed. Ping is also very proud of her chicken ramen, which I will have to try later.

Paiku Pork Chop ($10.95), comes with soup of the day.
This is the only one that I didn't really like, because the meat was a bit tough. When I was there the soup was a hot and sour soup.

They also have beer and sake (and sake cocktails) as well as a good selection of loose leaf teas. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by PingTung. Yes, the price point is still higher than San Gabriel Valley (and there's no chicken feet on the menu), but what can you expect with a Melrose rent? Either way it may be the only dim sum (or ramen) place to go to in this area, and it's one I would be happy to recommend to others.

7455 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 866-1866
Pingtung on Urbanspoon


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