Chinese restaurants get too much credit for dumplings. Los Angeles has plenty of other compelling ethnic options when it comes to dough-wrapped foods. Case in point: All Family Restaurant, an eight-year-old establishment on the southwestern fringe of Koreatown. Seoul natives Jung Ma, husband Hu Ma and Hu’s sister make everything from scratch, and their commitment in the kitchen pays off on the plate and in the bowl.
Banchan consisted of textbook kimchi, pickle spears on ice and crisp turnip cubes in chile sauce.
The compact menu features dumplings in and out of soup, hand-cut noodle soups, plus dishes like B.B.Q. pork and spicy pan-fried squid.
Steamed Beef Dumplings (a.k.a. mandu) ($7.99) were terrific, flying saucer-shaped vessels filled with spicy minced beef and scallions. The dumplings came with a dish of refreshing pickled daikon strands and a dish of soy dipping sauce swimming with diced onion, not that the dumplings needed a flavor boost.
All Family also makes a version of mandu studded with spicy bits of kimchi. I’ve had it before, and the extra kick from the kimchi is pretty interesting.
Although All Family is known for handmade dumplings, we couldn’t resist ordering one of their hand-cut noodle soups. Hand-cut noodles, Pulled Dough Morsels w/Kimchi in Hot Broth ($8.99) was intoxicating, a spicy chile-flecked broth loaded with al dente noodles, bean sprouts, scallions and slices of potato.
All Family Restaurant is located on a forgotten stretch of Crenshaw, which might explain why it doesn’t get much attention, but it certainly deserves notice for their big portions of homemade comfort food.