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Anyone know of the best Dim-Sum in Monterey Park/Alhambra/San Gabriel/Rosemead area?

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Hi, I'm wonderin' if anyone knows of a great place for Dim Sum. I know the San Gabriel Valley must be full of 'em, but which are recommended?

Thanks!

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  1. 888 Seafood on Valley in Rosemead is my favorite for dim sum by cart.

    For off the menu dim sum my favorite is New Concept on Atlantic Blvd. south of Garvey in Monterey Park.

    Triumphal Palace in Alhambra and Mission 261 in San Gabriel also tend to get high marks for off the menu dim sum.

    I tend to prefer dim sum off the menu as it tends to be hotter and fresher. Although the selection is larger at 888 Seafood, and if you manage to sit reasonably close to the kitchen door it is still pretty fresh.

    1 Reply
    1. re: estone888

      If you go to 888 on a weekend, I seriously doubt you'll get anything that's been on a cart for much more than 15 minutes, except for some cold or stewed items that are slower movers, and those mostly aren't hurt by waiting around anyway. In all my visits there, I have had perhaps two dumplings that had been riding around a bit longer than they should have.

      The cart vs. menu thing has been addressed elsewhere; I'll just say that dim sum to us MEANS carts. They are a significant part of the fun.

    2. Lots of opinions on this; NBC and Ocean Star, both "cart" places, have many fans also (me among them).

      r gould-saltman

      1. I went to Triumphal Palace over the holidays. The menu/no cart thing is different but everything was very fresh and every bit as good as people and reviews suggest.

        1. Having been to most of them over the past year, I'd rank Sea Harbour Seafood in Rosemead as the best of the bunch, with Triumphal Palace and 888 Seafood running closely behind.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Wonginator

            I'll throw in votes for Seafood Harbor and 888 as well.

            1. re: Wonginator

              Third for Sea Harbour.

            2. Triumphal Palace is all ritz no glory. I don't get it. I'd rather blow money on Taiwanese food and a kick arse cup of boba at Tea Station next door.

              Yes, I get the fact that every dimsum joint in HKG and Shenzhen are menu-orders only now. Yes I understand it's "cool" to sheets of menus at every table just like the home country. I even understand the fancy decoration which replicated their restaurant in Guangdong but... nothing stood out. the chicken feet were bland, char siu bao was grossly gooey inside, overly sweet and lacked meaty substance. And the price. wow. turnip cake in X/O sauce, $7. WTF? I hope that was in RMB.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TonyC

                That's what I was thinking while eating there. Good but BORING.

              2. My picks:

                Full House (I think that's the name); it's in the same plaza as the Ranch 99 Market in Arcadia.

                Hop Li in Arcadia

                New Capital in Rosemead (haven't been to this one in a while but what I remembered it was great!)

                Avoid: MPV in Monterey Park (terrible!)

                1. 1. Mission 261
                  2. The Kitchen
                  3. Capital
                  4. Sea Harbour
                  5. 888
                  6. Full House (Arcadia)
                  7. NBC
                  8. Seaworld
                  9. New Concept
                  10. Triumphal Palace

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: condiment

                    Hello, condiment! Perhaps I haven't been paying attention...but, what's The Kitchen? This is the only one on your list that we have not tried.

                    You have rated it just above one of our favorites, Capital Seafood, so I am really interested to know more about it. Why do you like it better than Capital (Garvey and Atlantic in Monterey Park)?

                    1. re: liu

                      I love Capital, it's my favorite cart place, but the Kitchen, a brand-new place on Valley near Garfield, is a step or two beyond. It's an outpost of a Bay Area chain.

                      1. re: condiment

                        We, too, love Capital for dim sum. We have been there perhaps a couple dozen times, and each experience is different because they have such an amazing variety of carts and trays. My best advice for someone really wanting to enjoy this place is to arrive about 11:00-ish and be patient; over about an hour, many different items will arrive. Usually, when we are walking out, we see many different plates just coming out of the kitchen...we often wish we had room to start over because we see so many "new" dishes being presented.

                      2. re: liu

                        Here's the recent thread on The Kitchen.

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/351746

                        1. re: Chelmoon

                          Thanks to both of you, condiment for the enthusiastic recommendation, and Chelmoon for the very helpful link -- I don't know how I missed this!

                          We will try it on Saturday for dim sum...I can't wait!

                      3. re: condiment

                        Hello again, condiment! With your recommendation in mind, we went to The Kitchen (203 W. Valley Blvd. in Alhambra - #626.289-4828) yesterday morning for dim sum. We arrived about 11:00ish, and they were about 1/3 full. They were much more crowded by the time we left about 12:30, yet still not full.

                        We began with some items from the trays that they carry from table to table; it took us awhile to study the menu, and one side is in English. We checked the items that we wanted and turned in our paper order. We continued to enjoy some of the treats from the trays, one of which was like a mini apple pie muffin -- delicious! I always like dessert before I begin!!!

                        Then the manager came by and was very perplexed by our order; he began to write and scribble and tape little papers to our table cloth. This went on intermittently for quite awhile. We were in good spirits and told him that we had all day to enjoy dim sum...no problem! However, he had mis-transposed our order to the other side of the menu and we received a number of items that we never ordered; we also received most of what we had ordered. We smiled through the entire scramble, and thoroughly enjoyed the food. Everything was hot, and as you had posted, most items were a jump or two above the other dim sum places that we have experienced in LA.

                        One of the Managers even came by to greet us; he knew us from Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights -- which we also like a lot!

                        All the staff was extremely friendly and kind, and we felt quite at home during our visit. Yes, they have a few things to work out, but I do think they will get it together and we will look forward to our return.

                        Thanks, again, for this great recommendation...from one who has tried most of the dim sum restaurants in this city! My top four now, in any order, are Capital (at Garvey and Atlantic in Monterey Park), 888 (on Valley), Hong Kong (in Rowland Heights), and The Kitchen (in Alhambra).

                      4. my two favorites have been listed already. but here it goes again:

                        888 seafood in rosemead
                        full house in arcadia

                        both are traditional cart style dim sum spots.

                        1. "Great" is hard to define, but if you mean having no equal, then I personally think Mission 261 is up there. It's a very stylish place for restaurant that primarily serves dim sum - more like a sit-down restaurant than a big banquet hall, and the kitchen truly focuses on doing things with the utmost when it comes to taste, presentation, and offering unique items as well... The staff is very pleasant and courteous, albeit it does help if you either are already familiar with dim sum or have somewhere in your group that speaks Mandarin or Cantonese, as the level of English will vary from person to person, as with any other restaurant in SGV.

                          The only drawback to Mission 261 besides paying more than you would for your average dim sum experience, is that it isn't in a big banquet hall setting, meaning that you will order your dim sum, versus having the parade of carts coming by your table. The advantage to the carts coming by is you will see so many items that you otherwise would have never considered from a menu. If you are new to dim sum, I would consider any of the many many very good to excellent choices listed above, as this is what many dim sum lovers consider to be part and parcel to the whole dim sum dining experience. Ask any Hong Konger! And don't be afraid to ask for items you don't see on the carts - most of these places will be happy to fulfill your requested dishes.

                          1. Based on the comments here, my family and I went to 888 Seafood for dim sum yesterday and were very disappointed. First of all the shui mai were wrapped in articifially colored yellow wonton wrappers. The har gow were on the cold side with unusually thick wrappers and somewhat hard. When the har gow did go by (which was rare), the lady never called out/announced the contents of her cart unlike the other carts with less expensive ingredients, which was somewhat annoying (it was almost as if they didn't want you to know the har gow was coming through). We were there for an hour and only saw literally 2 egg tarts which were gone by the time we were ready for sweets. And the place was very stingy with mustard and the vinegar was an artifically colored red liquid with no body.

                            Over the past 20 yrs my family has normally gone to NBC Seafood but it seems to have been going downhill over the yrs. After they built the Focus Plaza (San Gabriel Plaza?) with the fancy Sam Woo Seafood (not the BBQ shop) on the top floor, we and alot of people we knew switched over as it surpassed the others in terms of seafood freshness and quality. But I myself have not gone for the past 5 yrs and wonder if the freshness/quality has gone down. For me, Sam Woo Seafood (don't confuse w/ Sam Woo BBQ) was certainly the best in the SG Valley back in 2000, and I am surprised noone else has talked about it- certainly better quality than 888 anyways. Just wondering if the 888 proponents have been to the Sam Woo Seafood in Focus Plaza...

                            1. Yes I have...Sam Woo seafood and sam woo BBQ both...I still stick with 888 even though service may be awful, but cant complian about the food. I never have trouble with getting a seat or service but I've seen many that does. With the whole cart thing..Hope you guys know, you can still order from the menu and have dimsum brought to you..LOl new capital?? Did you know that when New capital berly oped they never served dim sum?? guess who taught them how to make dim sum?? Most owners in SGV have partnership with one another.As for Sea Harbour, it's just not worth it I rather go to the little dim sum on Garfield..forgot the name. Mssion 261?? Never heard of it so no comment

                              1. I think if you ask a dozen Chinese people what their favorite dim sum place is, you'll get a dozen different answers.

                                For myself, for breadth and depth, I like NBC. They have a dazzling array of traditional dim sum and they serve so many people that the dim sum is constantly hot and fresh during their peak hours.

                                I also recently went to the Kitchen and was quite impressed with their dim sum as well, although it's a smaller place, and they don't seem to have quite the variety that NBC does at the moment. If they had better chicken feet (a family fave), it would be right up there for us.

                                I don't particularly like either the Sam Woo in the Focus Plaza or Mission 261. Mission 261 is beautiful, but I don't find their dim sum to be particularly tasty, and Sam Woo's dim sum I don't find all that interesting or fresh (and actually, my grandmother thinks it may be closing). Mission 261 is very good if you have guests who are allergic to MSG, though.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: sidwich

                                  Sidwich,
                                  Couldn't agree more - a dozen people will give you a dozen answers... And NBC used to be our regular stop for alot of years, but over the past few times we've been, it seems something is lacking in quality - had some chicken-based dishes over a couple of visits where it smelled and tasted like the meat had been dowsed with bleach - don't mean to be an alarmist, but I have never experienced this anywhere else.

                                  Mission 261 may not be considered tasty to certain tastes, but it may be because so many of us have gotten used to alot of restaurants' flavors being amped up with the MSG. Mission 261 reminds me of food that is very well prepared - like my mother-in-law - who has banned MSG from her kitchen - the goal there is to coax the fresh flavors out with the right techniques, and the right mix and proportion of quality ingredients. Not to say that Mission 261 is the only game in town, because I like indulging in all the different cuisines offered in SGV too. It's kind of like comparing Orangina and Orange Crush. I like them both - just depends on my mood and what I'm having...:)

                                  1. re: Psonicwavex

                                    Just read Jonathan Gold's review in this week's LA Weekly about The Kitchen - he's right there with you - keep an eye out for him!

                                    1. re: Psonicwavex

                                      Perhaps we went too early before the chicken feet in abalone sauce came out, then? We got there at 10:30 and the ones that they served us were really dry and rather flavorless. The tofu rolls in abalone sauce we had were outstanding, though, as were many of the other things we had. A friend of mine and I are planning to try it again soon, and we'll report back! :)

                                      1. re: sidwich

                                        The D & E items can only be ordered after 11AM after the chef arrives. We were there until 11:40AM but the chicken feet in abalone sauce was still not ready, so we gave up and left.

                                        I have to say I am not too impressed with The Kitchen thus far. Most of the standard items I ordered were not to my taste. Have to go back and try some of the unusual stuff. There were 2 standouts though - the juicy dumplings in rice porridge (#48) and the fried green tea dumpling (#33) were excellent. BTW, the green tea dumpling is stuffed with sesame paste, not red bean as reported in the LA Weekly.

                                    2. NEW CONCEPTS!!!! Just writing it makes my mouth water!!!

                                      1. Not that I'm an expert on food inspection standards, but usually it's food temps with poultry dishes... Most chinese dishes aren't served too hot, including poultry, because the peak flavor is under that 150-160 degree threshhold... also storing food at those temps rapidly deteriorates the taste and texture of the food from which is considered optimal. Been told by more than one old timer that "these new rules for keeping a super clean kitchen just takes away from the flavor..." one example a man told me of was that when he was a teenager, he'd watch a man up the street making fishcakes... he'd be stirring a big spatula the size of an oar in a big boiling and spattering cauldron... his sweat would be pouring into the cauldron while stirring... he said these were the best tasting fishcakes that he remembered as a youth... Also, not to defend B grades at these Dim Sum houses but I can only imagine with all the frenetic action going on in the kitchen, with all the different activities going on with the multitudes of ingredients flying all over the place, keeping a tidy kitchen must be a Herculean task.