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May 23, 2012 05:16 PM

Best Take Out Dim Sum - SGV

Need a good recommendation for take out dim sum this Friday morning. I'll be in Alhambra, but I'm certainly willing to travel for the best. Individual item recommendations also appreciated!

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  1. You can do take out at just about any dim sum restaurant -- Elite, Sea Harbour, 888, King Hua, Triumphal Palace, etc.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      What ipse said. We always go to Elite or Sea Harbour with a large selection of "Lock & locks", and take away half of what we order. Some things do better than others. For example, har gow isn't quite as durable as zong zi (粽子) for take away.

      1. re: Peripatetic


        You can also get Dim Sum at the Capital Seafood takeout storefront on Garvey and Atlantic. It's between Wing Hop Fung and Kee Wah bakery. I'd avoid Yum Cha cafe. It's cheap, but you get what you pay for.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Triumphal Palace is no longer. Lunasia has taken its former space

        1. re: Ernie

          Food was pretty much unchanged when Triumphal became Lunasia. I think it was more of an organizational change.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            I live very close to the restaurant and do not recall Triumphal Palace having 燒賣 or 蛋撻 nearly as good as Lunasia currently does

            1. re: Ernie

              Story I heard is that one Triumphal Palace partner bought out the other so naturally they're would be some changes, but there is a continuity there. I'd be curious if the Chinese name changed or remained the same.

      3. There's Yum Cha. The dim sum is in display cases and uber cheap and quick. Don't let those old Chinese ladies in line push you around. Watch out for the sharp elbows. LOL.

        4 Replies
        1. re: granadafan

          Yum Cha is nowhere near the best. I might put up Famima's Steamy Buns against Yum Cha's Bao. I too would like to know of a better quality place which is more convenient for take out than going into a full service restaurant, ordering and hanging around the order is made up.

          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

            Capital Seafood in Monterey Park has a take out branch a few doors down from the main restaurant, though they don't have all of the varieties there. Also, East Gourmet (Garvey @ San Gabriel) has a separate take out dim sum section. Service is instantaneous (except for waiting in line) and you don't need to clutter up the main restaurant entrance.

            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

              LOLz & a +1

              Yum Cha and "Best" in the same thead is the oxymoron of the day.

              With that, also +1 on chandavkl's Capital Seafood to-go rec.

              1. re: TonyC

                Yes, I realize yum cha isn't the best, but I was thinking more along the lines of quick. Thanks for the other recs though.

          2. 888 is a place where seating during the week is almost immediate, and upon being seated, the carts would swarm our table - usually five to seven carts within a few minutes.

            1. I'm definitely a student and not a teacher when it comes to SGV, as in, I've taken maybe 4 or 5 trips out there in my life, so take this for what it's worth, but

              What about Din Tai Fung? I was totally satisfied with their quality, and they have GREAT packaging for their take out with each item in its own clearly marked, well-secured box and a really nice bag for all your stuff.

              What I did last week was get my favorite items to-go from Din Tai Fung (the one at 1088 Baldwin) and then went across the street and got my favorites at 101 Noodle express. And my friend and I have been out to Elite and Sea Harbor and we were saying how much better getting the best items from DTF + 101 Noodle was compared to just going to the popular Dim Sum spots. If you call in ahead of time at DTF and 101 Noodle, you get a huge choice of items and it's really not any more of a hassle than just going to one place.

              10 Replies
                  1. re: BrewNChow

                    There are three issues about the SGV that ignite maelstroms here:

                    1. Is a xiao long bao is a dumpling?
                    2. Are non-Cantonese dumplings or xiao long baos are considered dim sum?
                    3. If toilet paper should be oriented over or under?

                    Angels fear to tread especially regarding issues #1 and #2. Mere mortals rightly fear getting involved in all three issues, especially at one time. :-)

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      As to (2) here is my compromise. XLB are dim sum if served at a Cantonese dim sum house. Otherwise, no.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        What if they're served at Dean Sin (read 'dian xin', i.e., 'dim sum') World?

                        1. re: will47

                          The problem is that "dim sum" or "yum cha" isn't really about the food, per se, but a way of eating; or, rather a culinary experience.

                          It's sort of like asking for Happy Hour food. The food does not make Happy Hour a happy hour -- it's the time, place, and environment.

                          Same with dim sum. It's not the food that determines that you are necessarily having dim sum -- the food is merely a necessary condition but not a sufficient one on its own.

                          1. re: will47

                            All vain attempts at humor aside, the term "dim sum/dian xin" have different connotations for Cantonese people than for non-Cantonese people. As ipse noted, Cantonese patrons generally consider dim sum to be an experience. It's not quite the same for people in other regions of China.

                            A comparison would be a "BBQ". Grilling is not the same as barbecuing, but people often use the term interchangeably. I can say that I barbecue hot dogs, but such a claim would be dismissed in a place like Texas where they have a different definition of BBQ.

                            1. re: will47

                              I'd say definitely not, but for the existence of the emerging term "Shanghai dim sum". But unmodified "dim sum" it isn't.

                          2. re: raytamsgv

                            Well, you learn something new every day!

                            See, I thought Dim Sum was basically like China's version of tapas... Like I said I'm no expert, I was just sharing an eating experience that I enjoyed. I've been to Elite and Sea Harbor, and in my ignorance I didn't realize that having similar/the same food items elsewhere might not be considered dim sum. But that's why I use this site: to learn more about food and particularly, cuisines with which I am unfamiliar.

                            1. re: raytamsgv

                              if the xiao long bao at most dim sum restaurants didn't generally suck, nobody except certain very uh-how should I say this--overly obsessive pedants would care. Unfortunately, since they do generally suck at dim sum restaurants, the distinction is made to warn the unwary.

                          3. Since I wanted an actual take out place rather than going to a proper restaurant and then having to package-up everything, I went to Capital Seafood. Sorry to say it was not good. Lesson learned. Next time I'll go to one of my reliable faves and have them package it up.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: Bob Brooks

                              Curious what you ordered for takeout?

                              1. re: thranduil

                                Steamed har gow, shu mai, shrimp/chicken balls, custard pies and roast pork in an onion sauce. All mediocre at best.

                                1. re: Bob Brooks

                                  To be fair, dim sum -- no matter how good (or bad) -- just doesn't lend itself to take-out.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Ipse -

                                    As my husband and I LOVE dim sum for dinner (wrong I know, but please forgive us) we've gotten really good at knowing what dim sum reheats well for us - and how to reheat it.

                                    Steaming har gow and shu mai (sp?) in a veggie steamer sprayed with nonstick spray is surprisingly successful. And sticky rice in lotus leaf? One of the few dim sum that microwaves well. The barbecue pork pastry strips? A very careful warm in a toaster oven.

                                    It's not perfection, but to be able to have it in the evening with a glass of wine? Pretty darn nice.

                                    1. re: happybaker

                                      Indeed, pretty darn nice indeed.

                                      Few things in life are as wonderful as enjoying good food (reheated or not) with a loved one.


                                      (As an aside, when you microwave the lotus wrapped sticky rice, try wrapping the entire thing in a damp paper cloth, or better yet you can steam those as well.)

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Thanks Ipse!

                                        Normally I sprinkle a few drops of water on the lotus leaf before nuking, but I'll try the paper towel method and, if I have the patience, the steamer as well.

                                        Just not at the same time ; )

                                        1. re: happybaker

                                          Y'know you could sort of "sous vide" the lotus leaf sticky rice as well, just drop them into a gently boiling water for about 2-3 minutes.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Oh I'd be terrified I'd over do it! And lose the fab food to mush!

                                            Nope next time I'll try steaming them, as you rec'd.

                                      2. re: happybaker

                                        When I order dimsum to go, i try not to get anything like steamed rice flour rolls or similar (including har gow at most places). They just lose their freshness too fast and fall apart after you reheat.

                                        siu mai* (because it is the cantonese romanization)

                                    2. re: Bob Brooks

                                      Dim sum dishes loses a lot in terms of flavor and texture when you take them home. They are best eaten right after they are cooked. Very few of them are good after reheating--spareribs, tripe, and chicken feet come to mind.

                                      1. re: raytamsgv

                                        P'shaw. Cold chicken feet is da bomb. Well, at least according to my nephew, who can go through about 5 bags of cold chicken feet in an afternoon of WoW.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Next you're gonna tell us you like leftover pizza.

                                            1. re: JThur01

                                              Probably could get it at Pizza & Chicken Love Letter.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                No, no, ipse, you're thinking of their chicken anus pizza.