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« China Max - This Time it's Dim sum | Main | La Torta - And the Quest for a Carne Asada Torta »

Tuesday, 20 September 2005



I picked "Other" for chicken feet!


OK Howie - It's been noted. BTW, do you know that my Filipino friends call Chicken Feet - "adidas" and chicken heads "kojak"! :o)


That is right up there at the top of of the really interesting trivia list Kirk! ::laughing::


And pig ears are called "walkman".....


Did you know that the human head weighs eight pounds?


Actually, funny thing, I did know that Filipinos call chicken feet "adidas"...they kinda look like tha Adidas logo, don't they?


Ha! I can just see it now....

"Maaa, Ma, look at Elmo, he's taken his head off and is weighing it again...make him stop!!!" LOL!


Cool poll. Can I vote more than once? I voted for har gow but I also use sticky rice as my other test.


funny!! i love cheong fun but i can't believe that i'm in the minority with egg tart!! i don't think i ever had a bad cheong fun!! maybe i love it too much to criticize the dish much??!?!


Hi Annie - I'm a bit surprised myself....


Kirk, you did not mention all of the ingredients in the similiar looking dumpling you had at China Max. This one is labeled Fried leek gow on the Dim Sum menu, aka 'crystal dumpling' (English usage at Hong Kong Place).
Sometimes they put a little too much garlic in this one at HKP (but lately in the last year or two, I've noticed overpowering garlic in a lot of dumplings at the top Dim Sum places around the LA area). What I like about the HKP version is the mushrooms, and I think chopped water chestnuts, along with Chinese chives or actual leeks?, spinach...and of course the shrimp needs to be decent. At $3/gal; I don't make the 30-45min trip out to Rowland Heights much anymore.

What they call a 'deep fried sil mai', when made well, as they used to do often 3-4 years ago, is one of my favorite weekend specials. That's a quail egg in the center of the poorly made donut shaped shrimp ball like concoction---supposed to be a dot of red dye in the center of the egg Better, but still a bit sloppy:

The key to getting the best Dim Sum in restaurants is to eat on the weekends ...being a traditional family type meal, far more southern Chinese families go out to eat together for the weekend brunch/lunch. But by afternoon the weekend specials are typically sold out, as well as many standard items. Sometimes if they run out, they will make a up a second batch of a particular item, if you pester the MAIN I'm prone to do, lol. But then again, the places I go to, they recognize me as a 'regular' customer of discriminating Dim Sum tastes, YMMV.

I never like the rice flour noodle shrimp offerings. That soft rice noodle has zero taste to it, so I don't understand why people like it (and no, the folded over dumplings are NOT made of rice flour, the translucent wrapper for Siu Mai and other peek-a-boo dumplings comes from the mixing of tapioca flour to the regular flour)

Flour or taro root shavings---kind of like 'linguine pasta', surrounding the shrimp ball, they have it at Empress Harbor Seafood in Monterey Park (not sure about the Torrance location) on a daily basis, I believe. But I like the version at Hong Kong Place better...more flavorful oil in the deep frying? Lower right item:

I'm not a fan of the sugar cane shrimp ball dumplings, kind of boring if you ask me. HKP does an occasional weekend special shrimp ball with snowcrab claw in place of the sugar cane stick.

- I believe they also have this item on the dinner menu appetizers for Sea Harbour Seafood in Rosemead.

Scallops siu mai w/shark fin...two kinds, one with spinach wrapper, other with standard flour wrapper. The spinach wrapper version at New Concept is amazing in that it will go well with many wines, from rich chardonnay (so so, less well with highly oaked versions), crisp but rich and ripe Sauvignon Blanc, lighter reds(Pinot Noirs or even medium-full bodied Syrahs) or fuller Rose wines; and even a big, lusty ripe Calif. Zinfandel (so so, but that's still a wide range of wines for one dumpling that's not deep fried!). Don't ask me why it works that way, I just know I've had all of these wines with it; but that both Sea Harbour's standard version (lower right: ),

or New Concepts (upper left: ) spinach wrapper, vary in quality...both restaurants were more consistently of higher quality in their early days, getting sloppy these days or the newer chefs are not doing as good a job.

No to egg custard tart, that's not 'old-fashioned' traditional Cantonese dim sum; it's newer gen HK style maybe, but not for history of Dim Sum. Same can be said for ANY spicy dishes, that's not traditional, centuries old style. Dim Sum was not every spicy until recent fashions transitioned to this from outside regional influences.

Think I'll also pass on some other HK restaurant specialties like Bull's penis noodle (hilarious 'wine' tasting notes, see Aug 12 entry). This guy's English is not so great, but he has a 'unusual' sense of humor.

Really decadent, expensive luxury item and rather difficult to find anymore is the out-of-style 'old-fashioned' traditional Cantonese cooking style of hot bird's nest soup, in a simple preparation. Not the cold coconut dessert that is popular in HK, but old, old style from Canton area, simply made with only a small amount of bird's nest slivers, quality fresh crab meat, chicken/pork stock, and some flour to thicken it a bit, along with those specks of dried egg whites floating though out. This is traditional comfort food of a luxury type most the younger generations no longer know of.
This is bird's nest dessert trend is even worse than the fake Kalua Pork they try to pass off on the mainland, and fast food restaurants in Hawaii.

I don't really have a single item as a reference at any one Dim Sum service, because none of them have everything I want. I will often get take out at two or more, then take home and reheat to perfection in my own bamboo steamer... at my own pace. Same for the deep fried items, into the toaster oven at 250-275F, then after piping hot, place on paper towel to remove some of the excess oil. Then eat at perfect temperature with sweet sour sauce of your liking; I prefer the sweeter style they still make for the egg rolls at Royal Star, as opposed to the more common bitter/sour version going around that is popular with Taiwanese customers.

At the restaurant's you're at the mercy of theirs as well as your own eating pace, in trying to get everything at that perfect temperature. At home, the tea is always the correct temperature :) , and the only bad/slow/aloof/rude service, is your own, LOL

Although I like them (and quality varies as much as styles), pot stickers pan fried dumpling, and vegetable spring/egg rolls are not specifically a Dim Sum item.

3 vegetable pea dumpling at Sea Harbour Seafood is also a favorite. (lower right item: . Close-up shot, handheld camera blurred here; piece of carrot, corn kernel, and pea, along with chopped mushroom inside:

In it's hey day 2 years ago, Royal Star had the best deep fried seaweed shrimp rolls, when they had the oil at high-enough temperatures. Their 'unknown'... even to the lackadaisical Taiwanese owner, weekend special deep-fried fun gor/fun gow was the bomb---I used to get 2 or 3 orders of this one item and pretty much inhale...sooo tasty, so bad ;) . Last year, Empress Pavilion in Chinatown started doing a version of this, but it sucks in comparison.

I got to Empress Harbor Seafood in Monterey Park at 11:30AM on the 18th, and they were already out of some items, stopped by a Rosemead supermarket which had a large selection of mooncakes, some imported from Guangzhou, and ended up buying the wrong ones for my mother (she likes the traditional mixed nuts with a single egg yolk in the center).

Does this post qualify as 'other' ;-) ? I have no favorites or specific item tests. I must, I repeat; I must have them all! I guess it's not good to ask such a question of a person such as myself, who suffers from DSOCD, can't be bothered to take some good pics, when too busy trying 3 or 4 wines, at the same time trying to scarf down all these different and highly addictive offerings before they lose the heat and get luke warm/cold.


BTW Monger - How did you vote????

Mike V.

Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf!
We get that every time when we go to Lucky Seafood over on University and 54th.


Hi Mike - Lucky Star (aka the Big Red Barn) does have reasoanbly priced dim sum - haven't been there in a while....hmmm, will have to check it out again soon!
The Sticky rice in Lotus Leaf is My Wife's favorite as well.

Mike V.

My wife and I will be there on Sunday with my brother and his wife and baby. Maybe we'll see you there! :)


Hi Mike - Maybe you will!


Something else I need to learn how to make. Does Missus know how to do this? GP has the lotus leaves and I have sticky rice.

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