A quickly-expanding modern take on Chinese food that started in Pasadena as a challenge to Din Tai Fung’s dominance has opted to open three new locations this year: Dan Modern Chinese will have its Manhattan Beach location open later this month while seeing its Topanga Village and Long Beach locations open hopefully by the end of this year.
The Long Beach location will be housed inside the 2nd + PCH complex in the southwest part of the city, becoming neighbors with the likes of Chef Michael Mina’s first Long Beach restaurant as well as being inside what is becoming one of the city’s most concentrated centers of food.
The crab fried rice from Dan Modern Chinese. Courtesy of business.Owner James Kim has built up a mini-empire with Dan that contradicts what so many Chinese restaurants do: Rather than a seemingly endless menu of endless options, Kim homes in on specific dishes—like the soup dumpling masterpieces that are xiao long bao along with traditional Chinese dumplings—that span Chinese cuisine with a very broad brush while avoiding over-taxing the patron with I-can’t-choose-three-let-alone-one iteration of those dishes.
In his words when he opened in Pasadena: “One thing with Chinese restaurants: The belief is when you want one thing, you go to one restaurant, and if you want another thing, you go to another. The goal here is to bring [a quality version of each] under one roof.”
What does this equate to?
Dan is known for its xiao long bao dumplings—and rightfully so: rich, all filled with a pork-and-blue crab broth, and your choice of protein, they are prime examples of the dumpling. Kim himself said he fashioned the soup dumplings after the version at New York’s famed Joe’s Shanghai.
This also means hand-rolled noodles—for everything from Lo Mein with short rib to oxtail soup—and scallion pancakes, pickled cucumbers to mapo tofu.
Dan Modern Chinese is expected to open late 2021/early 2022.