Sea Harbour – Still the Best Dim Sum in LA
**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2011/01/sea-harbour-%e2%80%93-still-the-best-dim-sum-in-la/
To caveat the title of this post, Elite maybe of similar quality, but it’s been a while since I’ve been there.
Sea Harbour 海港 has been my favorite dim sum place in LA for a long time and it is probably the best dim sum I’ve had in the US. For reference in Hong Kong I think it would be considered a pretty decent dim sum place. Sea Harbour’s dim sum is similar in style to what you find in Hong Kong these days in that you order off the menu so the dim sum is much fresher than the old school carts, the preparation tastes much lighter and less oily than old school places and there are a lot of new types of dim sum that you won’t see in old school cart type places. I much prefer Sea Harbour’s more modern dim sum to old school cart type places.
The restaurant is a large open room with a few smaller more private rooms along the sides. It has tanks in the back with various live fish and seafood in them. It is actually very clean and nicely laid out. We sat in the small room in the back left. I’m not used to nice and clean Chinese restaurants because I’ve been living in NY for so long where most restaurants are generally rundown and old looking, so it was a nice change of pace. The service was good and attentive especially considering it was for dim sum when the service is normally non-existent.
Here’s what we got:
- Pork Dumplings with Shrimp and Roe (Yu Zi Shao Mai Huang): These were good, they were steamed perfectly, the pork was tender and flavorful, the shrimps tasted fresh and they were just generally of good quality. 4.25/5
- Crystal Chive Dumplings (Xian Xia Jiu Cai Jiao): These are generally not my favorite type of dumplings as I’m not a huge fan of the gelatinous skins, but some of my family likes these, so I ordered them. The skins were good and the filling was nice with the chives and shrimp. They’re still not my thing, but these were a good rendition. 4/5
- Beef Rice Noodle (Niu Rou Shou La Chang): This is a classic dim sum dish done well. The rice noodles was thin and cooked perfectly, the beef was perfectly minced and well spiced and the soy sauce was light. It wasn’t remotely oily or heavy and was very good. 4.5/5
- Shrimp Rice Noodle (Xian Xia Shou La Chang): Ditto my review for the beef rice noodle except with perfectly cooked shrimp. 4.5/5
- Lotus Paste Bun (Feng Huang Jin Sha Bao): These were very good. The buns were steamed perfectly, the ratio of filling to bun was good and the lotus paste was smooth and not too sweet. 4.5/5
- Snow Buns (Hai Gang Xue Shan Bao): Wow I haven’t had these in a long time and these were so good. The outside is a bit salty and the inside has an egg white custard that is light and sweet, but too sweet. I really liked these, they were so good I actually tried to order some to go, but the guy told me they are the most popular dish and they had run out by the time I had ordered them. This was my favorite dish of the day. 4.6/5
- Steamed Pork Bun (Hao Huang Cha Shao Bao): These were good, the bun was fresh, the bun to meat ratio was good and the pork (cha shao) itself was good, no weird parts and not overly fatty. The only thing is that they use the sweeter red sauce and I prefer the more savory brown sauce, but it was still good. 4.25/5
- Beef Tendon and Tripe Rice Noodle Bowl (Niu Nan Chang Fen Bao): I hadn’t tried this before. It was stewed beef tendon and tripe over rolled up rice noodle in a metal pot. The beef tendon and tripe has been stewed in a broth with star anise and five spice powder. The meat was very tender and flavorful. The rice noodle was cooked well as well. I liked the flavor although I thought it could’ve used a little more sauce, but it was good. 4.25/5
- Fried Tofu in Abalone Sauce (Bao Shi Pa Dou Fu): This was silky tofu that had been fried and they covered in a light brown abalone sauce. The tofu was fried nicely and the sauce was very light and also pretty light in flavor. I liked this although I think it’s pretty Chinese, so I’m not sure everyone would appreciate it as it’s quite subtle. 4.25/5
- Fried Taro Cake (Jian <blank> Jiao Yu Tou Gao): This is the one dish I thought was just decent. It was fried on the outside nicely, but I thought the inside was a little dry and a bit bland. Oyster sauce made it a lot better. 3.75/5
- Radish Cake with XO Sauce (XO Jiang Luo Bo Gao): This was interesting as I hadn’t had this before. It was cubes of pan fried minced radish cake tossed in an XO sauce then covered in scallions and bean sprouts. I liked it although I thought it could have used more XO sauce as it was a bit on the plain side. 4/5
- Egg Custard (Su Pi Dan Ta): These were quite good. The custard had a good egg-y flavor and it had a nice crust. I just wish they had the Portuguese version which is burnt on top, but these were still good nonetheless. 4.25/5
- Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (Chu Zhuo Jie Lan): This was standard, but good. The broccoli was cooked well and tasted good with the oyster sauce. 4/5
- Baked Pork Buns (Cha Shao Bao): They were bringing these around and asking if we wanted them. My family really likes these although I prefer the steamed version. However, these turned out to be really good. The bread was great, the sweet stuff they brush on the top wasn’t overly sweet and the meat inside tasted great. 4.5/5
Overall, I was really pleased the quality of the food, it was so much better than any place in NY. I also really want to try it for dinner after reading Exilekiss’s review of dinner there (http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2010/08...), alas it will probably have to wait until my next trip back home as I’m back in NY now.