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The best pizza dumplings and more Frankenstein doughlings

There are some dumpling fillings that can be expected. There are many fillings for dumplings, including pork, cabbage, potato and ground beef. You can also find them in restaurants and street corners all over the globe. This week’s episode of “The Bucket List: Dumplings” This page is dedicated to dumplings that have flavors you may know, but would never think to stuff in a dumpling. These are what we affectionately call our favorite Frankenstein dumplings.

Allan Tea of The Cali Dumpling pop-up and delivery serviceHe is not afraid to use his creativity in filings. His company, which produces around a dozen varieties of chicken, pork, shrimp, vegetable, and chicken dumplings, ships them all over Los Angeles County. His team also makes a few non-traditional fillings. They experiment with new flavors at Cali Dumpling booth in Downtown. L.A. Smorgasburg market every Sunday. Tom Yum soup is one of those flavors.

“We looked at different types of soup,” Tea says. “We’ve done a pho dumpling before that did really well and the next exciting flavor on that spectrum is tom yum.”

Tea’s tom yum xiao long bao are packed with the familiar lemongrass and makrut lime leaf flavors the soup’s intensive broth, with lots of chiles and the funk of fish sauce.

He’s also making a pan-fried pizza dumpling, filled with bits of pepperoni, cheese and tomato sauce.

This episode’s first stop is a behind-the scenes tour of the Cali Dumpling Factory in Vernon. We learn how Tea makes the tom-yum and pan-fried pizza dumplings.

Then, we go to Beauty & Essex in HollywoodDaniel Kotz, chef at, packs the delicious melted cheese and comfort of a grilled cheese sandwich into a small dumpling about the size of a quarter. It’s a dumpling with six different kinds of cheese inside, including sharp, aged cheddar and smoked goat cheese.

The three locations make approximately 800,000 grilled Cheese Dumplings per year.

“It’s comfort food and it just makes people feel good,” Kotz says. “This is just a fun way to do it.”

Video journalists Yadira Flowers, Cody Long, and I were left dreaming about our Frankenstein dumplings during this episode. Our top picks: A pan-fried, sheng Jian bao-style dumpling with an apple pie filling for Long; a sheng Jian bao style dumpling filled albondigas to Flores; and a pan-fried dumpling with green curry mussels to me Jitlada.

What’s inside your dream dumpling?

Stay tuned for more episodes and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTubeChannel to never miss a video

This episode features businesses

Cali Dumpling

Beauty & Essex, 1615 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 676-8880,

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