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Jan 10, 2001 07:33 PM

Authentic DimSum in SGV

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Okay, I'm going to dim sum again this weekend and want adventurous diners opinions on which is better between Ocean Star and NYC Seafood (or is that NBC for dim sum?). When I say best, I mean not only quality between the two, but for dim sum, selection is also important and I'm more into the eclectic stuff that you don't see at your local bland Chinese American place. I could care less about the shu mai dumplings, or chicken dishes (except the feet...heehee) but prefer all parts of the pork especially the stomach, seafood, offal, snake if possible, tripe, juk, all parts of the duck, and of course the sticky rice, etc... Basically what do you guys think is the the more authentic and overall better place between the two. Thanks for any opinions.
By the way, it is true that Harbor Village has gone downhill ever since changing to Empress Harbor (or whatever they're new name is). Although most of their dim sum plates are very good, especially the juk, tripe, sticky rice steamed in leaf, and shrimp wrapped in that oh so glutinous,transclucent rice flour, the selection is pretty limited these days.

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  1. Ocean Star or NBC, you can't wrong either way, but my preference is Ocean Star due to the variety there. My personal favorites are the bean curd sheets and the rice flour balls in hoisin sauce, but I imagine everyone has their own favorites. If you go on weekends there's a dilemma, though. To avoid waiting a long time you probably need to arrive between 10 and 10:30 AM. But not all of the good stuff is out at that hour.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      Thanks. So are you saying that Ocean Star has a greater overall variety? And by that I mean of all types of dishes, especially the one's I'm crazy about like I mentioned in previous post. Anyone else have any opinions?

      1. re: SexLoveRockSushi

        I haven't been in six months or so, but Empress Harbor, nee Harbor Village, definitely had an impressive selection of the squishy stuff: at least two or three different kinds of stewed tripe, duck webs, cubes of chicken blood, miscellaneous tubes, jellyfish salad, etc. (Empress Pavilion in Chinatown, which I slightly prefer, did too).

        These things are not routinely offered to non-Chinese, but they are on the carts if you sniff around. A waiter will retrieve them for you if you ask.

        Of course, I just got back from Vancouver and three dim sum meals at Sun Sui Wah--the peppered tripe! Oh my God!

        1. re: Pepper

          Although I prefer Empress Pavilion as well, in the SGV I like 888 Seafood in Rosemead as well. NBC is quite good, Ocean Star, I don't know - never liked it that much. As far as jellyfish goes, I adore it in northern restaurants (by northern i guess i'm including huaiyang as well as shandong and mandarin) where it's crunchy, more noodle-like, and garlicky. In contrast, I don't care much for the Fujian and Cantonese preperations which I find tend toward chewiness, and it's all a matter of taste.
          Am curious, does anyone know if there are places in the West where the Cantonese style dim sum lunch is called Yum Cha? Canada maybe?

          I haven't been to gold world on Valley blvd for dim sum but I've heard it recommended. Try your luck.

          1. re: jerome

            From my childhood in Northern Calif., my Cantonese family has always said "yum cha", which is literally drink tea when we mean a dim sum luncheon.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Melanie: exactly. even in mandarin, that complex of food and style was called Guangdong Yincha. Now maybe you or someone else can explain this, what's with the Zhou/Juk/congee at yumcha dimsum lunch? I thought there were specialized shops that sold zhou/juk usually either for breakfast or late night eating. Have they always served congee at yumcha? Seems strange to me.

              1. re: jerome

                Even, I think, at stage-one dimsum restaurants, before the profusion of grill carts and boil carts, barbecue carts and specially fitted sharksfin soup carts, there was always somebody tooling around with a hamper of jook, in California, anyway

                As for your earlier ideas: I love the Chiu Chow restaurant 888 for dinner -- goose, crab balls, steamed fish with sour plum -- but I've always thought that the dim sum was sort of run of the mill Cantonese. I'll have to check it out again. Goldworld hasn't been that great either. (But I do agree with you about the merits of Ocean Star.) Seaworld's not bad though.

                1. re: jerome

                  My father (who is 85) had told me that yum cha in San Francisco used to be far more focused on the tea, and only a few snacks, if any, were served. Tea houses were exactly that, places that you went to drink tea.

              2. re: jerome

                "Yum cha" is simply what Cantonese speakers (here or anywhere else in the world) call dim sum. Literally it means to "drink tea."