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What we’re into: Korean dumplings at Chungsil Hongsil

Dumplings from Chungsil Hongsil, a new restaurant in Koreatown.

Dumplings from Chungsil Hongsil, a new restaurant in Koreatown.

(Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

The phrase chungsil hongsil refers to the red and blue threads used in traditional Korean wedding rites. Chungsil Hongsil is a kind of speed-dating event for the Korean parents of eligible singles. (Victoria Kim wrote a wonderful story about it in The Times not long ago) And Chungsil Hongsil is also the name of a new Koreatown restaurant, apparently a branch of a well-known noodle shop in South Korea, that serves dumplings, momil, and the occasional bowl of udon. You can see the chef fabricating the dumplings in his glassed-in kitchen, similar to the one at Din Tai Fung.

Momil is essentially the same as Japanese soba: dense, thinnish buckwheat noodles with an honest, nutty taste. You can get the momil cold on a bamboo mat, ready to be dipped into an anchovy broth flavored with seaweed, shredded radish, scallions, and as much hot mustard as you can stand. You can get it served as bibim guksu, cold in a bowl with chile sauce, vegetables, half a boiled egg and slivers of Korean pear, which is refreshing on a hot day.

But you are there probably for the dumplings: fat steamed dumplings flavored with kimchi or maybe the steamed king mandoo. (I’ve never managed to score an order of those.) But really, what you want are the small steamed dumplings: hand-rolled skin transparently thin and impossibly delicate, not so much stuffed with as loosely enclosing a tiny spoonful of pork and crisp minced vegetables — the newest entrant into the town’s short list of Dumplings Worth a Journey. Get two orders. One won’t be enough.

338 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 383-1055.

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