HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Chow Dim Sum at Saigon Seafood Harbor Richmond 4/5

  • m

Anyone interested for some dim sum and seafood? Let's plan for 11am on Saturday, April 5. Depending on interest, we can fit 12 people comfortably per table.

RSVP at mileschen@hotmail.com.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
        1. Dang I just saw this. Can't make it but would love to try another time.

          1. Any thoughts on the dim sum experience ? Wasn't there a Chowdown on Saturday ?

            9 Replies
            1. re: gordon wing

              yes, it was well attended (Miles, Melanie, Mark, Al, Ernie, a few others whose names i've unfortunately forgotten). Melanie took pictures so can provide more detailed/expert report. A nice dry cider was provided by Melanie and I brought a bottle of Born nama genshu daiginjo sake. Highlights for me (Miles did most of the ordering) were the lobster sticky rice, cold crab, giant salt & pepper prawns, super pillowy/fluffy baked crunch-top ("pineapple" style) buns (one with custard, one with taro), san jian (pan fried) bao (not quite as good as in Shanghai, but still satisfying ;). 3 types of chicken feet were also sampled, steamed bun with liquid duck egg yolk custard which disappeared immediately, etc. Thanks to Miles for organizing!

              1. re: barleywino

                PS. one item i have not found yet in this area are shrimp rolls wrapped in white (not translucent) dry rice paper (neither fried nor steamed), maybe with some water chestnuts inside and sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Any sightings of this? also looking for giant steamed all-veggie baos (mostly spinach inside). Miles mentioned some place on Clement might have it...

                1. re: barleywino

                  I think Tay Ho in Oakland Chinatown has something similar. It's good. See the pic on the menu? The white things?

                    1. re: barleywino

                      These little guys are steamed though ... but SOOO yummy.

                    2. re: ltsering

                      Those are banh cuon, not that different from the shrimp filled rice noodle rolls we had at dim sum. Worth trying in their own right, but not what barleywino seeks.

                  1. re: barleywino

                    Sorry I missed it, I have always wanted to try this place. How does Saigon Seafood harbor compare to the nearby Asia Pearl? We used to go there quite a bit but stopped going because it seemed to be getting more inconsistent and hit or miss.

                    1. re: Ridge

                      sorry, haven't been to Asia Pearl yet, maybe others can chime in?

                      1. re: Ridge

                        It's been some time since I've had dim sum at Asian Pearl. Like every place it has had its ups and downs, so I couldn't say how it compares today. In the past, I've preferred Saigon Seafood Harbor for dim sum. That said, I don't feel that SSH's dim sum is back up to the level it was before the fire. You'll notice that our lunch included few dumplings. I don't know if that was by design or just chance, as I didn't pay attention to the ordering. But of this small sample and an earlier lunch, the live seafood dishes are the standout here and not the dumplings.

                  2. Saturday we gathered at Richmond’s Saigon Seafood Harbor for a lunch chowdown organized by “mchen”. Besides the typical dim sum fare, we dipped into some of the live seafood specialties as well. We wound up trying more than 30 dishes, along with BYOB Born Special Nama Genshu Junmai Daiginjo sake and DeVoto “Backyard” cider from Sebastopol. I didn’t notice anyone keeping notes, so perhaps the attendees can just tell us about their favorites. Here are mine. . .

                    My heart beat a little faster when I saw the live and enormous spot prawns in the tank. Prepped as dry-fried prawns, every bit of shell was saturated with savory reduced juices and the essence of ginger and scallions. The pointy parts of the head had been trimmed off, the easier to get to the sweet innards. Much sucking ensued to savor the roe and every part of these prawns.

                    The Teochew style cold Dungeness crab full of natural gelatin and the subtlest of seasoning to not take away from the native sweetness of the flesh was striking in its sublime simplicity. I’ve always appreciated this dish for the quiet cleansing pause in a long meal.

                    We had chicken feet in three different styles. The cold white poached ones served with pickled daikon and carrots and a sweet and sour dipping sauce . . . I enjoyed the leftovers this morning. The standard fried then braised and steamed were excellent, puffed up, thoroughly infused with delectable seasonings, and cooked until just shy of falling apart. And my favorite of the trio, a long cooked version poached in a seafood-based master sauce, Miles said is only available on the weekends.

                    The taro buns, made of poufy, light and airy pastry as softly delicate as a baby’s butt, were top notch. The duck yolk-filled flowing golden sand buns, served hot and molten, were the best I’ve ever had.

                    Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant
                    3150 Pierce St
                    Richmond, CA 94804
                    (510) 559-9388

                    7 Replies
                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            I take it that no mention of the shen jian bao means they weren't too special. I'm still looking for a great version.

                            1. re: ...tm...

                              I'll confess that I didn't try the SJB. The appearance didn't fit the preferred profile and there were so many other good things on the table, I skipped 'em.

                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                            Thanks for the report and photos, Melanie. Everything was spectacular (though I confess I'm a little squeamish about chicken feet and didn't try any). Also it was a great surprise to see Al (sorry, don't remember his screen name), whom I've known for 30 years and haven't seen for about 20.

                            By coincidence, the next day I found a review of that cider on a wine blogging site:


                            1. re: ernie in berkeley

                              You're welcome. It was a wonderful moment to see when you and Al figured out that you knew each other.

                              My thanks to Miles for putting this together for us. It was great to chow with him again after much too long.

                              (I had tried to post my comments and photos Sunday evening. After typing it and selecting the 30+ photos for uploading, I got a server error and lost everything.)

                          3. We went this past Sunday. I wish we had gone to the chowdown. I don't think we ordered the right things and had a negative experience overall.

                            Here is what we ate:

                            We got three different steamed dumplings:

                            Crab Shu-Mai with quail egg. The crab flavor was overpowered by the taste of shrimp. The quail egg was unusual but didn't really add anything.

                            Shrimp and garlic dumpling. Filling was bland.

                            Cilantro and shrimp dumpling. The best of the 3. The filling tasted good.

                            One thing I noticed is that even though the dumplings were steamed they were heavy. I suspect maybe they had lots of fat and MSG.

                            Soy sauce thin noodles. Noodles overcooked and flabby. No wok char flavor at all.

                            Lobster with sticky rice. The sticky rice itself was delicious and redolent with ginger. But the lobster was way overcooked and rubbery. I almost sent it back. How was the lobster at the chowdown?

                            1. Eleven a.m. would have been the right time to go. From noonish on that whole shopping area is a mob scene on Saturday and Sunday.

                              I like the food and ambience at Saigon, except for the acoustics. They were terrible before the remodel and that problem didn't seem to have been addressed by the redo.

                              What did the per person price of the meal turn out to be?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sharuf

                                We noticed the bad acoustics also. I forget how much the bill was but it ended up high because we were only two people and had the sticky rice lobster.