South sea seafood village top dishes
For a day-after-a-wedding brunch, some friends are making a reservation at South Sea Seafood Village on Irving for 50+. They'll need to pre-order all the dishes, and I'm going to join them for dim sum this weekend to test out a few dishes from the cart service. We're all pretty familiar with what dim sum places offer, but would be interested to know (1) if their versions of any classics are must tries/avoids or (2) if there's anything on the menu but not typically on carts that we should specifically request.
Order the deep fried chicken. It's not chicken just battered and fried. Instead it showcases serious technique (according to my mother and assuming they haven't changed the prep). The jook is really excellent. They do well with tripe too.
family banquet style, with 8-11 people per table and 'lots of different things' meaning 7 or more dishes of family-sized (4+ persons) portions, one order per table would work, with each person getting at least a few bites of duck and a small bowl of the soup. if it's a dim sum 'brunch', though, a typical plate has 3-4 small dumplings or buns or whatnot, so naturally that plate count would differ.
Thanks for all the responses. I'll report later on the dishes that they will have at their event and some we more we tried today.
The fried chicken and the duck two ways weren't on the dim sum menu, but I'm interested enough that I'm certain I'll get them for dinner sometime.
Upon the manager's suggestion, we skipped the scallop rice noodle roll and instead got the last rice noodle roll in that section of the menu. It's a rice noodle roll wrapped around deep fried something and shrimp. It was excellent. We were also very happy with a few standards, mainly a very juicy pork sui mai and the steamed custard bun.
We sampled a few misses at our initial tasting, and decided not to include them for the party. These included:
- the salt and pepper pumpkin and tofu which was unevenly seasoned, with a few pieces of undercooked pumpkin
- taro horns that were a bit pastier than they should be, but still less so than most places in Chinatown
- turnip cake which had too much moisture
- congee w/ preserved egg and pork: the preserved egg and pork tasted great, but the congee itself didn't have much of a taste and was homogenous but thin. Can't compete with a 1AM serving at New Gold Medal.
The upstairs was a good space to accommodate a big group and everyone had a great time. In terms of ingredient quality, everything was high at the brunch. Of note, all of the shrimp dishes had big chunks of shrimp in them rather than a puree. Given our constraints, I'm not sure there is a better place to have chosen. However, having a large quantity of dishes come out simultaneously posed a challenge for SSSV, and the execution and service were problematic at times:
- har gow: big chunks of whole shrimp. Excellent insides, sticky dough
- sui mai: they didn't hold together well from over steaming, but were big and tasty
- garlic pea greens: their dim sum menu has sauteed pea pods only, so these were off the dinner menu. Fresh and excellent, probably the best I've ever eaten.
- you tiao (long doughnut sticks): very good. We special ordered these as they are normally only served inside a special rice noodle roll. Defeating their intended purpose, they were served about 30 minutes before the special ordered soy milk came out.
- custard buns: good
- xiao long bao: at our initial tasting, we had ones with skins a little thinner than the frozen ones you can get at Ranch 99, but they held their soup especially well for a place that doesn't specialize in XLB. At the brunch though, they were extremely over steamed, leaving the skins as thick as northern style dumplings and completely absent of soup.
- rice noodle roll with deep fried shrimp: this is kind of a Chinese cousin of a tempura sushi roll, and I prefer it for being lighter. This was as good as at our initial tasting, and excellent if you like that sort of thing (I do)
- lotus buns: each plate contained several small ones, each with a tiny amount of filling