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Quick Question about Sea Harbour in Rosemead

So, I enjoy dim sum but haven't been in a while. I was going to go to Sea Harbour with my wife, a friend and a coworker. None of us speak Chinese, and the coworker, who is Chinese, insisted we need a native speaker to order there and to hear if our number for a table is called. It sounded like a ridiculous comment but is there any validity to her concern? I've read this place has a picture menu (and probably pretty basic explanations) but I can't verify this....

I've found speaking the native tongue has been more helpful for when I've gone to placed with push cart service, where the servers do not speak English, and you want to ask what it is before they drop it on your table... or so that you can ask for more if you find out you love it...

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  1. They will yell your number in English. No problem there.

    You can easily order by pointing at the picture menu. No problem there.

    If all of your fingers are broken, the servers speak more than passable English. No problem there.

    Go. Enjoy.


    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Yup - what ipse says... Sure it helps to speak Mandarin/Cantonese, but for the general experience, you'll be fine.

    2. It's not a totally ridiculous comment, but you'll be fine. Most of the big dim sum houses will call your number in Cantonese, Mandarin AND English (really, they want you to claim your table).

      And yes, Sea Harbour has a very complete picture menu with both characters and English, and the order sheet has one side characters and one side English. As i recall, it's also keyed to numbers in case you're unsure. I call it "dim sum for dummies." It's really virtually impossible to screw up, even if you don't speak a word of Cantonese or Mandarin.

      The servers at Sea Harbour are also quite helpful and as ipsedixit said, their English is actually more than serviceable if you need assistance.

      1. Thank you all... I'm now looking forward to some dim sum.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DrBruin

          Not just any dim sum, but the best dim sum in L.A., IMHO...

        2. Well, I was at dim sum a few weeks back at Ocean Star. The lady said 73 in Chinese but 33 in English...Maybe have them repeat your number so you know they will get it right.

          1. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any restaurant in the SGV where you absolutely NEED to have someone that speaks the language. Even Dean Sin World has English on their menus now.

            Dean Sin World
            306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

            1. Thank you to all that replied. My wife and I went there this past weekend... There was enough English spoken to get by and the pictured menu helped. Of course, I'm still not sure what some of the dishes were based on their description... which may have led us to miss out on some of the more amazing dishes... And, the ordering system wasn't super-intuitive but we figured it out. I think a non-Chinese speaking person could get by and it shouldn't prevent them from going here for dim sum.

              The place was packed, there were a ton of people outside waiting for a table, but the wait was still short. The food came out hot and promptly.

              We enjoyed the dim sum we ordered, SUM more than others. ;)

              We'd go back again. However, I think we may try some of the other dim sum restaurants first for comparison before returning, so we understand why many consider this "the best" dim sum house in the LA area.

              4 Replies
              1. re: DrBruin

                What a coincidence; I was there this weekend, too. I'm ethnically Chinese, but I don't read a word, so I also appreciated the very extensive picture menu. =)

                If you like menu-driven places, I'd definitely recommend you try Lunasia and Elite, as well. While I very enjoyed Sea Harbour (I've only been the one time), I find the food at Lunasia and Elite to be a little more refined and a little "lighter" (which is important, when you're trying to order as many dishes as possible.... heh).

                1. re: ilysla

                  I second Elite. Try the paper baked short ribs. Same ordering system as Sea Harbor with pictures and checked boxes.

                2. re: DrBruin

                  That's good to hear. Almost every Chinese restaurant I've visited will have at least one person who speaks passable English.

                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    Somebody has to bribe, ahem, um, negotiate with the health dept, right?

                3. All I know is that it all has pork. Or lard.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: sushigirlie

                    And that's a bad thing, how?

                    And that's not true. The tea is pork and lard free ... until you start rinsing your used chopsticks in the pot, that is.

                      1. re: sushigirlie

                        Didn't someone post a link to a vegetarian dim sum place in the SGV recently? While I am a fan of pork and lard, I do know thay my vegetarian friends (or my friend's vegetarian partners) have felt excluded from the festivities....

                          1. re: ilysla

                            There are vegetarian items at many dim sum places (though all of the savory dim sum items at Sea Harbour, from what I was told there, are pre-prepared with chicken base / chicken MSG in them; they can prepare some vegetarian noodle dishes and other non dim-sum items to order). It's always difficult to get a straight answer about food ingredients, especially during busy times. I don't trust it 100%, but Lunasia does mark ostensibly vegetarian items with a green leaf. Lunasia also has a vegetable fen guo (like xiajiao / hargow, but with a vegetable filling), and King Hua has a vegetable pocket which they say is completely vegetarian.

                            Plain jie lan (Chinese broccoli) or mustard greens are usually Ok if you get them without oyster sauce, or get the oyster sauce on the side. Some places, tastes like it might be cooked with a bit of chicken base in the water, but not 100% sure. The plain chang fen and its sauace, and, If the you tiao is vegetarian, the you tiao wrapped in chang fen should be Ok. Some places make a vegetarian chang fen with mushrooms as well. The spongy sugar cake should be Ok. Taro skin things - sometimes just plain taro inside; other times there's pork and shrimp. Sweet doufu hua with ginger syrup should be Ok, though I don't love the texture of the style served at Cantonese restaurants. Most of the puddings / jellos (e.g., almond jello, osmanthus jello) should be thickened with agar or other vegetable derived ingredients. Radish / taro cakes at dim sum places will almost *always* NOT be vegetarian - they will have small dried shrimp (xiami) and / or pork. I'm guessing egg tarts and other pastry items which might appear to be vegetarian often contain lard.

                            While the safest thing for someone who's infinitely strict or worried about cross-contamination is to stay away, I think it's safe to say that a vegetarian won't starve at most dim sum places in the area; they may not have the most exciting meal either. I usually go along more for the company than for the food. Places serving Shanghai / northern style breakfast (fan tuan, dou jiang, dan bing, etc.) tend to have a larger selection of vegetarian options, provided you are not on the Atkins diet.

                            I know you're being a bit hyperbolic, sushigirlie, but most places should have a number of items without pork or lard. Asking about specific items (or having a friend try first) is always a good idea if you avoid pork or lard, as it's pretty common in most Chinese cuisines, and some items that you wouldn't expect may contain pork in some form or another.

                            King Hua Restaurant
                            2000 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801