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Dim sum at King Hua: A Pictorial Essay

Verdict: Upside: As good as Elite & Sea Harbour, in a large spacious dining room space. Serivce is fast! I think we now have a triumvirate of solid dim sum. Downside: The menu is lacking some standard crowd-pleasers like pan-fried turnip/daikon cake or dou hua (fluffy tofu in ginger syrup). Winners here include their sticky rice in lotus leaf, steamed char siu bao, and deep fried durian puffs (yes, I said durian). Also, get their signature dishes (this will be apparent on the menu because these dishes contain the name "King Hua"), such as the King Hua Baked Chicken Salad Bun. Good stuff. Definitely coming back.

Profuse apologies to sgee...

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  1. Nice pictures. What is the price range for the dishes?

    1 Reply
    1. re: raytamsgv

      The 7 of us ate like kings... KINGS, I tell you! Why, I felt like King Hua himself! A king with 2 bags full of leftovers! For... um... his minions, of course!

      All humor aside, the damage was $204. BUT keep in mind, we ordered 2-3 orders of almost everything on these photos.

    2. Thanks for the mouth-watering photos, J.L.

      I, too, am a big fan of King Hua!

      We went to Elite for dim sum this past weekend, and the entire time I was wishing I were back at King Hua. I think their sticky rice, their shrimp dishes and their BBQ Pork Honey Buns are calling me back...immediately! As you mentioned, J.L., their space is very nice.

      Elite used to be my first love, but now I am looking forward to a Saturday morning relationship with King Hua.

        1. re: Ciao Bob

          Ciao Bob, I am basing my advice on our approximately six visits to King Hua. I think if you arrive on a Saturday morning before 11:00am, you will not have a long wait.

          I wish to report that since the opening of a few more dim sum options in the past few months, the crowds at Elite seem to have dwindled. We have been seated immediately during our past most recent visits to Elite. Perhaps now that there are more options for decent/good/very good dim sum, the crowds have dispersed some.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            Ate at King Hua this afternoon for lunch and it never filled up completely. While I'm not going to say it's better than Sea Harbour or Elite, it sure was good!

            1. re: Chandavkl

              "While I'm not going to say it's [King Hua] better than Sea Harbour or Elite..."
              * * * * * *
              I agree that it is difficult to compare very good to very good. I am so happy that we have more choices than we used to have for very good dim sum!

              1. re: liu

                Thanks liu.
                I cannot wait to try it.
                So, in the "very good" category we have...
                King Hua
                Sea Harbor

                Are there others?

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  I might add Lunasia to this list. Although it is not in my top three -- exactly as you have listed -- I would add it to your list if you have not been there.

                  I also like cart dim sum service, so that lengthens the list as well.

                  (Then, beyond dim sum there are many dumpling places that satisfy as well when the craving hits. I won't open this discussion, however, because the discussion of dumplings is quite available on this site.)

          2. Elite doesn't have pan-fried turnip/daikon cake either which always disappoints.

            7 Replies
            1. re: JAB

              King Hua has a lot more variety than Elite (although last time I was at Elite they seem to have added more steamed dumpling items, although I did not like the ones I had, the wrapper was too thick). King Hua's spicy pig ear (with green onion, chili oil and a little shaved celery) is terrific as is their pan fried chicken buns. I also like their lettuce and fish ball jook.

              1. re: JAB

                They have a version of the pan-fried luobuogao. It's served as lightly-fried cubes with (IIRC) XO sauce and thinly sliced green onions and bean sprouts(?), rather than the traditional cakes. It's a bit different, but I quite like it. Not sure I like it more than the traditional style, though, as I'm an old-school kind of hound.

                I tried their steamed, pudding-like take on luobuogao a couple of weeks ago, and liked that as well, but very different from the traditional stuff.

                1. re: yclops

                  Are you sure that it's turnip cake and not taro cake? I went last week and recall seeing a deep fried taro cake on the menu.

                  1. re: JAB

                    In case you need visual confirmation, my photo #2 shows the unorthodox luobuogao (turnip cake), and my photo #15 is the yue jiao (deep fried taro dumpling).

                    1. re: J.L.

                      The taro cake that I remember seeing on the menu looked like a regular taro cake that had been deep fried as opposed to pan fried. Not the football shaped deep fried taro dumpling.

                    2. re: JAB

                      Elite has the pudding turnip cake too.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Elite also has a turnip cake that's cubed and stir fried with bean sprouts. It scratches the itch but, I refer the pan fried.

                2. Grrrrrr, keep it down... wait was still very reasonable this Sunday..

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sgee

                    Really I think the secret's out that King Hua does excellent dim sum.

                  2. Great photos.

                    Didn’t all the chefs from Elite jump ship over to Lunasia a while back? All the Hong Kongers I know (the ones that eat dim sum hardcore with XO dipping sauce) say Elite and Sea Harbor have lost their luster. For years, King Hua was their little secret: impeccable dim sum, not cluster-Yelped.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                      Although I don't know the details, I think that at least one chef did move from Elite to Lunasia. That was some time ago.

                      There are many similarities between the dim sum experience at Elite and Lunasia...too many to be a coincidence.

                      1. re: liu

                        "There are many similarities between the dim sum experience at Elite and Lunasia...too many to be a coincidence."

                        Are you thinking conspiracy, too?

                        1. re: boar_d_laze

                          "Are you thinking conspiracy, too?"
                          _ _ _ _

                          Oh, NO...not at all.
                          I am thinking that there must have been some chef exchanges/crossovers going on.

                          I would always prefer that each restaurant have its own identity. I don't want all dim sum to taste the same. But with our many choices these days, we are able to select from a lot of a good thing.

                    2. I've been praising King Hua's dim sum for a while now and glad to see others have caught on. Lately though, I've been going to Lunasia. Their dim sum has gotten even better. Shumai and har gow are huge there and they have fantastically flaky dan taat (egg custard)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Ernie

                        I do wish restaurants would stop the race to larger sized dumplings, they're supposed to be dainty bite sized morsels rather than entire meals...

                        I would be happy if they are 1/3 to 1/2 the current size

                        1. re: Sgee

                          Surviving in a tough U.S. restaurant market often means supersizing your product, even though it was never meant to be supersized to begin with...

                        2. re: Ernie

                          Definitely want to try Lunasia if they are really doing good food. Do they still do the foie gras dumpling?

                        3. As so many people have said, J.L., these photos are truly fantastic. Just glancing through them makes me quite hungry. Thanks for your hard work -- it is truly appreciated. If I were faced with this feast of an assortment, I'd quickly pack the camera away and dig in.

                          1. dropped by yesterday. Everything was pretty good except for the king hua fried vegetable dumplings - oily and terrible.

                            The coconut bread thing was A FREAKING MAZING.

                            One thing to note - King Hua also has peanuts in their chicken feet....

                            so if you have a GF with peanut allergies, Sea Harbour is your only hope.

                            1. Share, where is this located, address, weblink, something, please? I saw no postings from anyone as to where it's located, or an address. Don't keep it "top secret" ok? lol

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Ollie

                                King Hua
                                2000 W Main St
                                Alhambra, CA 91801

                                (626) 282-8833