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Yup, just what this board needs: another post about dim sum!!!!

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Well, after lurking for many months, I've finally decided to post since I enjoy reading these boards so much. I have to add in my two cents about that delectable culinary ritual known as dim sum...

I must say that one of the worse dim sum experiences I've ever had took place not too long ago at Empress Pavilion. Boy, you would think that a place that has been around this long and with that many customers could get their operational logistics hammered out. First off, they only validate parking for one hour. That doesn't even cover our wait time. Strike one.

We were at the actual table for nearly two hours and not a single one of the dishes that we like came by our table. No har gouw, no shiu mai, no turnip cake, no cheung fun....It seems the cart ladies just go about randomly and pay no attention to the tables they've been by, and the ones that did come by seemed to be "out" of everything. Let me tell you, this frustrated us to no end. Don't they know which dishes are more popular than others? Of course, I was not squeamish about trying other dishes that came by the table, but my companion was. I finally couldn't take it anymore and just got up and went up to the carts as they came out of the kitchen if I knew they had what I liked. This definitely diminished the entire experience. Strikes 2 and 2.5.....

But it's all about the food right??? Well, I can say I could've overlooked all previous strikes had the food been good enough, but, alas...it was not to be....The cheung fun looked like someone chewed it up and spat it out onto the dish -- very unappetizing, needless to say. We were brave, however, and it ended up not tasting that bad, but it was obviously slopped onto the plate with about as much care as would fit on the head of a pin. Over all, the food was just so-so. Strike 3!

I really wish they could get their act together. I don't like having to go to Monterey Park from the westside for my dim sum fix, but all things considered.....

Also, a couple of random, curious things. I've had dim sum in lots of places (Toronto, New York, Los Angeles) but, believe it or not, nothing beats a little restaurant that I've been going to for 15 years in my hometown of Houston. Also, and this is really odd, as far as dim sum goes, everything's a little costlier in Houston except the chinese broccoli. I can't believe the outrageous prices they charge for a little broccoli here. I can't bring myself to pay $6.00 for a little veggie...try as I might, I just can't. A dish of gai lan runs $2.75 in H-town. I wonder if their cost is higher for that particular dish here, although I doubt it...

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  1. my thoughts exactly, empress pavilion is simply horrible.

    i wouldn't eat there if someone paid me......err......actually i might. haha!

    1. Once I went to Empress Pavilion and it was so good that I went back a few days later to recreate the experience and it appeared as though is was garbage pail day it was so bad! It was a long time before I went back there again, and to this day I go infrequently because of that one garbage pail day.

      If you favorite items don't appear, ask your waiter to get it for you; that's what I've always done if the cart doesn't come around in a timely manner.

      http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

      1. What time were you there? I made the mistake of going there once at like 1:30 just before dim sum was going to be over and experienced the same thing-basically no dim sum.

        Another caveat about any dim sum place is don't go early on a Monday morning...you'll probably get what's left over from the weekend.

        Kind of like the Anthony Bourdain warning....never order fish on a Monday.

        1. I know what you mean, but we were there at 11:30am on a Sunday, so there was no way dim sum was almost over.

          1. The only time I've ever been to Empress Pavilion, they did the same thing -- it was the same three carts over and over and over. I didn't speak much Chinese (and no Cantonese) at that point so of course the waiters suddenly became non-English-speaking. A very nice man at the next table smacked the waiter (I'm not kidding, he trussed up his napkin and whapped the waiter on the back of his head), said something totally imperious in Chinese, and a little while later a different waiter appeared with the food we wanted.

            We go to NBC or 888 -- both consistently better.

            1. I've had terrible experiences at Empress as well.

              For my dim sum fix, I've been traipsing all the way over to Rowland Heights for New Capital Seafood Restaurant.

              1. Thanks for confirming my assessment from last year on Empress' dim sum. (It's the one with the phrase "dog food" in it, though I was quoting my wife at that time.) By the way, what's the place in Houston?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Chandavkl, it's a place in Houston called New Golden Palace Restaurant on Bellaire Blvd. in the heart of the Chinese commercial district, not far from which you will also find the best Vietnamese banh mi I've had this side of the Atlantic (or Pacific depending on how you want to look at it). The best Viet sammich I've ever had was in Paris. That was 8 years ago, and I still think about it. I got one to go and carried it across the pond and ate it when I got back, but it just wasn't the same....it was that good, but I digress....

                  1. re: hch_nguyen

                    Thanks. I presume New Golden Palace is located where Golden Palace used to be. (I remeber eating there about 20 years ago.)