You remember the scene in Back to the Future? You know which one, right? Where Marty McFly and the Starlighters cover Johnny B Goode? If you're one of perhaps three people out there who've never scene the flick, you can find a poor YouTube facsimile here (the fun starts at about 1:25). There's a point where McFly takes the guitar solo(actually played by Tim May) a bit too far and over-the-top(starting Chuck Berry and ending Eddie Van Halen....), leaving everyone stunned, not quite knowing what the heck just happened. I had such a moment recently. I was at work when one of my coworkers asked me about "Chinese dumplings"..... and off I went, talking about wrapper thickness, the folds, the slight pull and pillowiness of well made wrappers. Then there was the thing about not over-working the dough to the point it seizes..... Heck, I didn't even make it to the filling when I noticed that the poor guy stood, mouth agape, eyes rapidly blinking.... he'd been Jiaozi-sized! The silence was deafening, how do you break such uncomfortable silence (I swear, you could hear a fish fart....)? I managed a throat clearing "uumph" and crept away........ My friends know that I can really get on a roll and build up a good head of steam, and even though I try to reign myself in, sometimes it just comes bubbling to the surface. Oh well.......
I had first read about Dean Sin World on gastronomy, but I really didn't pay much heed. While walking from Giang Nan to Qing Dao Bread Food on Christmas Eve, the Missus and I passed a tiny shop that was full of folks. There was a woman rolling out dough in the little space by the window who cheerfully tried to wave us in. The Missus peered at the menu, and told me "man, it's really cheap here, and the food looks decent, let's check this place out on our next trip." A week later we made our way to this little strip mall. I parked and laughed when I saw the banner:
It was Dean Sin World! I couldn't make out the sign in the dark on Christmas Eve.
We arrived pretty early, and had a seat. Looking up at the menu, I could confirm that the prices were very inexpensive.
10 Shengjian Bao for $4.85? 10 Pork and vegetable Jiaozi for $4.25? Wow......
The two women working here were very friendly, and funny.... more on that later. The Jiaozi was the first to arrive:
These were quite good. The wrapper had a decent pull, and yet was tender and doughy. The portion size of the filling was excellent, a perfect bite. It was also moist and minced not ground, creating a very soft, but not mushy filling. As I mentioned in this post, the Missus loved the use of Savoy Cabbage in the place of the usual Napa Cabbage. Oooops, there I go again. Let me just say that perhaps I lack the vocabularial (I'm guessing there's such a word) dexterity to come up with something more colorful and enjoyable.... soooo how about... It was good, not quite in the league of Qing Dao Bread Food in our opinion, but good enough for the Missus to call Mom and needle Her saying, "we found another one as good as yours." Yikes!! It was also good enough for us to return and buy 50 frozen, at a good price of $10.
The Xiao Long Bao was the next to arrive:
We didn't enjoy these as much. Though I'm not a big fan of over-worked thin wrappers, these were much too thick. Also there wasn't enough "soup" in the XLB for me. The flavor was also on the bland side.
Last to arrive were the Shengjian Bao, white and glistening. The woman who brought these out said something to the Missus which made Her laugh. She said, "these are the first of the day, it's going to be very good. Look how beautiful they are so white and perfect." When we were waiting for our frozen Jiaozi, the same woman brought out some SJB for a couple sitting on one of the tables and exclaimed, "look how beautiful, white, and shiny these are." So this is her usual shtick, and we were a bit charmed by it.
As for the SJB, in my opinion, these were the best I've had to date. It was mostly due to the dough, and how it was cooked.
As you can see, the bottom is nicely browned and crisp, the top has been cooked well, it is nice and fluffy. The textural contrast was excellent. The filling was a simple pork, and could have been perhaps a bit more "juicy". The Missus still prefers the filling from Food Cabin's version of SJB.
And yes, as you can see, these are "beautiful, white, and shiny." I'm looking forward to having this again, and perhaps some Niu Rou Mian on my next visit.... when I pick up my next batch of 100 frozen Jiaozi.
As we were waiting for our frozen Jiaozi to take home, one of the women asked the Missus where we were from. She told Her "San Diego". The woman told the Missus that her son"goes to College in San Diego", and pointing to several plastic sacks filled with bags of frozen Jiaozi, said, "that's all for him". The Missus mentioned how lucky he is that he is able to get good Jiaozi to eat. The woman laughed, shook her head, and said, "no, no, he takes them to San Diego and sells them to other students!" You gotta love it!
Dean Sin World
306 N Garfield Ave #2
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Open Daily - 930am - 9pm
Read Gastronomy's post on Dean Sin World here.