Restaurant Review: New restaurant brings traditional Chinese dishes to Montclair

Brittany Snow
Staff Writer 

A new dim sum restaurant, 1st Dumpling N Noodle, opened this summer in the Montclair Plaza. 

At 9335 Monte Vista Avenue, the restaurant had its soft opening in July.

Owner Jun Lian, who goes by Max, takes pride in his restaurant’s authentic Chinese cuisine. 

“There is a lot of American Chinese food, just like there is American Mexican food,” Lian said. “Just like Chinese food, there is not much choice for authentic food. We want people to have more choices and taste traditional Chinese food, which we think American people would like.” 

The restaurant has table and booth seating. The interior is sleek, with wood details and accents, and cushioned leather seats comfortable enough to sit and chat before or after a meal.

The restaurant is open for meals from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

With family-sized portions and decent pricing, you can get quite a bit of food – even if you’re on a budget. The average price is $13 a dish, that might last for more than one meal.

American favorites such as chow mein, kung pao and orange chicken are staples within the establishment. The crispy chicken is tossed in and complimented by a tangy yet savory orange sauce. 

“I was craving kung pao chicken and was so happy we found this place,” said self -described Chinese foodie and Santa Monica resident Bahar Ayar, who stopped at First Dumpling on the way home from Palm Springs. “It was really good, pretty much perfect. We also got a couple other things, like the string beans and cucumber salad, which were almost even better.”

The chow mein is offered with protein choices of beef, chicken or vegetarian. 

Other dishes, such as honey walnut shrimp and kung pao beef, are also served and popular among the customers, per the restaurants’ online reviews.

“We were doing an overnight in Palm Springs and stopped on our way home to look for some dinner in the area,” said Santa Monica resident Bilquis Ayar, who was traveling with her sister, Bahar. “We were craving some Chinese food and saw this restaurant on Yelp. The ratings were good and the food looked good.”

The atmosphere is family- and group-friendly, allowing enough space for conversation, and ample room for larger parties or groups requiring high chairs. 

The restaurant played today’s top pop hits, with artists such as Adele and Taylor Swift playing overhead. 

There is elegant lighting which illuminates both the seating area and the kitchen alike. The kitchen is a semi-open kitchen concept, where guests are able to see their food cooked fresh in front of them. 

The most immediate display within the kitchen is the execution of the dumpling wrappers, floured and kneaded to perfection.

From there, guests are able to follow the journey of their food from the kitchen to their tables, as they are delivered dishes including xiao long bao and wontons. 

“It takes a long time to perfect the dish,” Lian said. “We don’t have too much sauce, soup or anything artificial. The broth alone needs at least a day before it is ready.”

Xiao long bao is a traditional Chinese steamed bun traditionally prepared and served in a xiaolong, a small bamboo steaming basket. The inside of the dumpling is most commonly pork, accompanied by a small amount of soup broth.

“I’m relatively a picky eater and I don’t really try new things often,” said Caroline Guzman, sophomore sociology major at the University of La Verne, who was invited out to eat dinner with friends. “I loved everything about the food, especially the soup dumplings, both so delicious and soothing.”

Despite being a new restaurant, the idea of customer service is not new to the employees. Upon entry, guests are greeted with a warm welcome, with an open amount of seating.

However, the service continues throughout the dining experience, with consistent refills of drinks and clearing out of empty plates.

The restaurant also offers online orders for pick-up through their website,, with delivery offers through DoorDash and Uber Eats. 

Brittany Snow can be reached at

Brittany Snow is a junior communications major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business management who currently serves as a staff writer for the Campus Times.


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