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Sep 20, 2007 07:52 PM

Dim Sim in OC or LA Fri. help quick plz

Hi, I need to decide on a Dim Sum place for my Birthday lunch tomorrow (Friday) ASAP
It can be either O.C. or L.A. I just want to know where to go since I haven't been to one in SoCalif yet and am pretty much a novice. Someplace with a good variety on a Friday.
I know there are countless posts on this but I am getting confused trying to sift through them, so plzzz don't flame lol
Thank you !!

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  1. Stick with LA County...San Gabriel Valley to be exact. My personal favorite is NBC for traditional Cantonese dim sum, but I think if you're new to dim sum in SoCal, you probably can't go wrong with almost any place in San Gabriel Valley. There is a new wave of dim sum upon which Sea Harbour in Rosemead seems to reign supreme on these boards. There you will find dishes that are not the usual suspects in terms of presentation, concept, and flavor. I seem to prefer the traditional style so I didn't enjoy Sea Harbour, but I admit in terms of presentation and decor, they outdo the likes of NBC. At Sea Harbour, you will have a problem if you don't speak Chinese. Granted, none of the dim sum houses have truly fluent English staff, but it seemed to be quite a bigger issue for me when I was at Sea Harbour.

    You can take your pick from below. Again, NBC is my favorite but all of the below have their proponents.

    Ocean Star

    Less Traditional:
    Mission 261
    Sea Harbour
    The Kitchen
    New Capital Seafood

    and the list goes on...

    edit: also the less traditional dim sum houses tend to have you order from a dim sum menu for the most part, and the traditional ones have you pick from the carts.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hch_nguyen

      thank you so much.. this helps me focus! lol : ) i have only been to Yank Sing in SF which was great. i like the steamed and fried things, i'd like to try some of the buns. sorry i don't know the terminology. so someplace with not too off the wall food and that has a wide selection even on Fridays. Thank you !

      how about Sam Woo ?

      1. re: soulimar

        Sounds like you should stick with the more traditional places I mentioned. You don't seem that experienced with dim sum, in which case it's better to eat from the carts because you can check the food out as it rolls by. I don't even recall buns being available at Sea Harbour, but I could be mistaken. I've heard of Sam Woo on these boards. It has as many proponents as it does detractors, BUT from what I recall of Sam Woo, even its supporters generally do not glorify it for its dim sum if they do indeed serve dim sum. I don't think that they do serve it and if they do, I'm fairly certain it isn't all locations. I think people go there more for the seafood dishes or BBQ.

        1. re: soulimar

          If you go out to San Gabriel Valley (SGV), just about any place that does dim sum will offer it seven days a week. You just need to keep in mind that many will shut down dim sum service starting around 1PM (realistically) and 2PM officially. I like to go early - around 10AM - this assures little or no wait for seating. But some feel that the food doesn't roll out en masse until around 11AM - I've rarely had issues with this though - it's probably because I usually take my time. There's tons of posts about dim sum in SGV on the board.

          NBC or Ocean Star are probably good starting points for you if you're not too familiar with dim sum. They both serve the various dishes by way of carts. You can take a look at what's appealing to you - wave down the ladies pushing carts if you have to - and decide. They are always eager to push their goods. Both places get a fair number of non-Chinese speaking customers so at least the hostesses and managers will be able to communicate with you (most of the wait staff and cart ladies speak little or no English). They both also offer quite a respectable range of dim sum items and the quality (by SGV standards) is definitely acceptable.

          Here's a few posts to get you started:

          1. re: soulimar

            Next time you're up North, gotta hit Koi Palace. There's a reason for the 2 hour wait (go to Starbucks and chill with a newspaper beforehand).

            I don't get out to SGV enough, so I will leave that to the experts. For OC, I would end up at China Garden. LA, have to do Empress Pavilion. I know I will be mocked for some of my choices, but they work for me.

        2. i totally agree with hch_ngyuen. stick with san gabriel valley.

          just to give you a background; i grew up in sgv, and going to dim sum with the family was this huge special treat, so we got to try some of the best dim sum in southern california. recently moved down to orange county and tried china garden and was sorely disappointed - it just wasn't on the same level as what i've eaten in sgv (nbc/ocean star/sea harbour). Considering that I grew up thinking dim sum was a special treat, I'd rather drive for excellent dim sum, instead of settling for local.

          1. I tend to agree that going to the SGV will be better dim sum, and cheaper, but if you're based in OC and don't want to buck traffic, there is decent dim sum here in the "carts rolling around" style. I'd probably pick Seafood Paradise (8602 Westminster Ave., Westminster) over Ten Ten (651 N. Euclid St, Anaheim).

            NBC or 888 would be my picks in the SGV. Don't go to Sam Woo... their dim sum is limp and sad. NBC has a larger variety but 888 is fresher.

            (And hch_nguyen, it's only one branch of Sam Woo that does cart-style dim sum, on the fourth floor of the Great Mall of China.)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              thanks.. you all are great and so nice! the Sam Woo I mentioned was the Irvine one, the website looks great and they said they have lots of Dim Sum choices on Fridays.. but what I've read is sounding like it's not too good.

              I was considering Seafood Paradise in Westminster but I called and they said they only have a little bit of Dim Sum in Fridays (Is this true?)

              I am leaning towards Sea Harbour...

              After reading so much I am now also craving Peking Duck with those little steamed rolls and King Crab cooked 2 ways! lol God help me.

              1. re: soulimar

                I have only been to Seafood Paradise at the weekend. I think you should go to 888... but that's just my opinion :)

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  I went to Sea Harbour, it was great ! And my not so culinary adventursome family loved it too! I will write more about it later.
                  Thank you all : )

                  1. re: soulimar

                    You're awesome - especially for a dim sum greenhorn! A couple of our friends (whose only two dim sum experiences have been with us) went with us to NBC for the first time (to experience the classic cart way of doing dim sum). They enjoyed it. The next experience was at Sea Harbour - LOVED IT!!! Even their three-year old ate just about everything that came to the table. He especially like the tea but being a three-year old with almost no tolerance for caffeine, his mom and dad were literally taking him to the toilet about every three to four minutes... They keep asking us when WE are going back to Sea Harbour.

                    1. re: soulimar

                      I must be the only chowhound in the history of this website and dim sum who didn't enjoy Sea Harbour....except for my sister who disliked it more than I did, although she doesn't post here and is not a chowhound technically.

                      I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

                      1. re: hch_nguyen

                        I had to agree with hch, Sea Harbour is not consistent at best, and would not care to go again. Elite is more consistent, at least.