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Popular Dumpling Shop Accused by State of $12 Million Tax Fraud Scheme

Plus, a new food hall on Wilshire (sort of), a new chef in Newport Beach, and a burrito truck on the loose

xiao long bao dumplings in a metal tin on a wooden table.
A tray of xiao long bao
Joshua Lurie
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

San Gabriel Valley stalwart Mama Lu’s Dumpling House (known alternatively as Mama’s Lu Dumpling House on business paperwork, with offshoot locations across the region) has come under fire for tax evasion and underreporting to the tune of more than $12 million, says LAist. The busy xiao long bao spot has two outfits in Monterey Park, though only one is owned by siblings Yan Lu and William Lu who California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says defrauded the state out of millions in owed sales tax income. A second location, at 501 W. Garvey in Monterey Park, has been owned by Anna Tang since 2015 and — despite the name — is unaffiliated with the Lu family, or the charges against them.

“I purchased the restaurant because I’ve been a longtime fan of Mama Lu’s revered dumplings and wanted to continue to carry on Mama Lu’s legacy as a beloved dumpling institution for over a decade here in San Gabriel Valley,” Tang, who also owns the (also unaffiliated) Mama’s Dumpling House in San Gabriel, says in an email to Eater. “I hope I’ve been able to provide some clarity to the situation and want to assure our customers that I am a responsible business owner and only hope to continue delivering the same quality dumplings that everyone has come to know and love.”

Per LAist, the Lus face 17 different counts, including fraud, filing false returns, and more.

In other news:

  • SocialEats Food Hall is on the move again, this time opening a takeaway-only ghost kitchen-style setup at 5670 Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile area. The plan is to offer the usual array of K2 Restaurants brands from the first SocialEats in Santa Monica (Pop’s Burgers & Shakes, Azule Taqueria, and more), but available from the same kitchen and singular ordering counter and seating area. Expect the build-out to take a minute, though, as this was formerly some ground-floor office space.
  • A bunch of area restaurants are pitching in next month to help Children’s Hospital Los Angeles raise much-needed funds. The annual Make March Matter campaign features names like Shake Shack, Go Get Em Tiger, Ggiata Delicatessen, H.Wood Group, and Uncle Paulie’s Deli (among others) each offering something on their own, from straight donations to collaborations with patients on one-off menu items.
  • Eater Talks panels are back for 2021, including this conversation about the modern function of restaurant criticism next week. The panel features Tejal Rao from the New York Times, Boston Globe restaurant critic and food writer Devra First, and food writer Korsha Wilson, and is hosted by Eater Chicago’s Ashok Selvam. Register in advance to check it out.
  • Lido Bottle Works in Newport Beach has a new executive chef: Joel Gutierrez, who previously worked at Crow Bar, Filomena’s, and more.
  • Brazilian restaurant Bossa Nova is on the move, opening up in the ‘ space at 8630 Sunset Boulevard at Sunset Plaza.
  • A new spicy ramen challenger could be coming to Beverly Hills soon. That’s per Toddrickallen, which spotted some signage for Strings Ramen in the former Coral Tree Cafe space at 255 S. Beverly Drive. Strings is known in Chicago for its Monster Hell challenge, a mega-bowl of super-spicy soup and noodles that, if eaten in time, nets the diner with a gift card and some swag.
  • Popular breakfast option Lowkey Burritos had one of its trucks stolen yesterday in Long Beach, and is offering a reward (aka free burritos) for information that leads to its return.