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Dim Sum - NBC is better than Ocean Star

Went to Ocean Star this morning, NBC last week. Coke v Pepsi, or something like that.

Ocean Star has its perks: it's cleaner, nicer, a bit more variety, and a more helpful and attentive staff. However, NBC has better tasting food. The shanghai dumplings at OS were bigger, but had less broth and were lukewarm. The same at NBC were tight, plump, and bursting with piping hot broth. Didn't see any char sui buns at OS, but the grilled chicken buns were good. NBC had better ones, and pretty good egg custard buns as well. Everything else was just a tad better and NBC. Sticky rice, taro, dumplings, rice noodles, etc.

Last but not least, I ate more and paid less at NBC. 4 of us ate a feast and paid $10 each. We ate much less at OS and paid about $15 per. I have yet to try Mission 261, 888, Elite, or Sea Harbour, so those are still to come.

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  1. I'm there with you all the way. Ocean Star is cleaner and brighter, but NBC clearly has them trumped on taste. Everything tastes just a bit better at NBC. If you're into traditional, straight-up, Cantonese dim sum, NBC is at the head of the line in my book.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hch_nguyen

      I have a good friend from Hong Kong who has taken me to NBC several times. I can't give you specifics but I still like Ocean Star more. I do however like the taro/coconut jello at NBC better though.

    2. I like the har gaw, shao mai, pie gwaat, and cheong fun at Ocean Star. NBC tastes similar if a little heavier to me, but the dinginess of NBC and service issues is a big turn-off. I do like their tea better than OS though

      4 Replies
      1. re: Ernie

        I haven't been to NBC in several years, but the dinginess isn't surprising. I remember going there in the early 80s, when it was called Golden Shark, and I don't think much has changed since then. Still, if I have to eat dim sum, it's one of my preferred places; my family, however, has long since moved on, which they seem to do with every Chinese restaurant after a few years. I wonder if it's to avoid the dinginess issue.

        1. re: mrhooks

          Yes, I remember Golden Shark. That plaza has always been a bit skanky. We used to go to the old Edwards Theater and Pirate's Cove video arcade when it opened but it became run-down quickly

          1. re: Ernie

            Pirate's Cove ... man, that brings back some memories.

        1. NBC is my go-to dim sum palace (I last went two weeks ago) and I agree with you that it's better than Ocean Star, but having read your comments I headed to Ocean Star this morning, and it was actually much better than I'd remembered.

          The lotus wrapped sticky rice was some of the best I've had, as were the custard buns, and they now have roaming trays of fresh out of the kitchen food, in addition to the carts, which gives you a chance at getting some great stuff. That being said, NBC is superior with its excellent duck and many dumplings, both fried and steamed, and it is slightly cheaper (though both are good deals).

          Still, I had a great time at Ocean Star, everything was good and some things were excellent.

          1. NBC is my go-to, but 888 is improving steadily -- while I enjoy NBC quite a lot, I find myself thinking of the smells coming off the carts at 888.

            1. Having visited most of the dim sum places in the area over the past year, I wasn't impressed with either NBC or Ocean Star. Best cart experience we had recently was actually at Empress Harbor.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Wonginator

                Haven't been to Empress Harbor yet. What dim sum items do you like there? My favorites are har gau and pie gwaat and always on the lookout for the best versions

                1. re: Ernie

                  Try their Phoenix claws (fung jiao). They also have good Chicken-Pineapple buns (boh-loh gai bao).

                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    Thanks for recs, Ray. I'm not a big fan of chicken feet or bao (too bready for me), but love other types of dim sum with pork and seafood. How is their siu may or lotus leaf rice?

                    1. re: Ernie

                      When you guys say "Empress Harbor" ... are you referring to Harbor Village? Up in the complex adjacent to Ocean Star in Monterey Park?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Yes, Empress Harbor which was formerly known as Harbor Village.

                        Ernie, I can't specifically recall how the har gow or pie gwaat were, but I seem to recall enjoying all the steamed dishes that day at Empress Harbor, and the har gow and siu mai are 2 items that I always get if they're available. Two of the best har gow I recall eating recently were at Sea Harbour and Elite, places that I'd easily recommend for dim sum.

                      2. re: Ernie

                        Their siu may is good. Tripe is also pretty good, too. I haven't had their lotus leaf rice. I don't normally eat har gau, but my kids and relatives think highly of them (I think they have whole shrimp in them). The pie gwaat (ribs) flavor is good, but sometimes, you get more fatty cuts that other times. I still order that every time we go. And if you get your check before 12 noon, you'll get 20% off.