Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Last week, we visited San Francisco (S.F.) for the kids’ Spring Break vacation, more about that in the next posts. We do have some friends and relatives residing in S.F. So, naturally, I asked one of them to recommend a good Chinese restaurant to us. Her reply was a little shocking to me. She said the Chinese restaurants in S.F. are not quite up to par and they would travel to Los Angeles (L.A.) when they want good Chinese food. I haven’t been to San Francisco for a while so I took her words for it. So, today’s Dim Sum restaurant review is from one of my favorite Chinese restaurant located in….guess where? L.A. of course! Sorry to those folks in S.F., but after trying one of the “better” Chinese restaurants in S.F., I do have to agree with my friend that L.A. has better Chinese restaurants, over all.
Lunasia is one of my favorite Chinese restaurants for Dim Sum. Dim Sum (點心) refers to a style of Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Eating dim sum at a restaurant is usually known in Cantonese as going to "drink tea" (yum cha, 飲茶), as tea is typically served with dim sum. The picture above is the tea menu available at Lunasia. Each one is unique and pairs well with the food.
The picture above is the Pork Dumplings (鹹水角). This is one of my favorite things to order at Dim Sum restaurants because of the unique flavors and texture. Also, it’s a lot of work to make them at home. The dough is made out of gluten rice flour so it’s sticky and chewy. The dumpling is filled with pork, some pickled veggies and this one comes with shrimps as well. Then the whole thing is deep fried (something I seldom do in home cooking) to obtain the crispy shells. The picture below shows you the inside of the dumpling.
Next, we have Pan-Fried Turnip Cake (香煎蘿蔔糕), see picture below. Since I do make my own during the Chinese New Year, I do prefer my own version because I put more fillings into them. Don’t get me wrong, these are quite good compared to many other restaurants out there. Also, I don’t make them often as there are quite some steps involved. So, this is a very good option when we crave for the turnip cakes.
The one in the picture below is the Home Style Chicken Wrap (順德大良雞卷), comes with a sweet and spicy sauce underneath. The fillings obviously is made with ground chicken, and mixed with some mushrooms. Then it’s wrapped in bean curd skin (腐皮) and fried. The flavor was great and it was quite delicious. It has the balance of savory, sweet and spicy all in one bite. The only drawback was that there were only two of us, and this is quite a lot of meat to consume. So, order this if you have a bigger party to share with.
Next, we tried the Braised Mushroom with Brown Sauce (烤夫), see the picture below. It’s a very famous dish originated from Shang-Hai (上海). In addition to the braised mushrooms, there are also wheat gluten (麵筋), and black fungus in this dish, served with a sweet and savory brown sauce. My Hubby (the Shang-Hai-nese) said this was very authentic and yummy.
Up next is one of my favorite vegetarian Dim Sum dishes, Veggie Bean Curd Wrap (羅漢腐皮卷). The fillings were bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots, all wrapped with Bean Curd and fried to crispy perfection, while the veggies inside are still juicy and tender. I highly recommended this one.
The picture below is Egg Roll Rice Noodle (街邊炸兩腸粉). This name was taken from the restaurant’s online menu. However, the “Egg Roll” doesn't quite fit with the actual dish here. This is actually the Chinese savory doughnut (油炸鬼), not egg roll, wrapped with a thin layer of rice noodle. The sauce is a very low sodium soy base sauce, topped with toasted sesame seed. And it’s perfect to dip into a little Hoi Sin Sauce (海鮮醬), that's serve on the side. The savory doughnut inside is still crisp and the rice noodle wrapper should be silky smooth and tender. hm….I love this one! And not too many restaurants offer this dish anymore because the savory doughnut is another difficult item to make.
Can you believe the two of us ate so much food, and it was for lunch!? Yes, we did. And up next are Shang Hai Pork Dumplings (上海小籠包). Shhhhh….but I do like those from (here) way better! But when you crave for these along with other dim sum, go ahead and order these. These are very decent, in deed.
Last but not least, you can’t go to Dim Sum without ordering Jumbo Shrimp Har Gow (蝦餃皇), a.k.a. Shrimp Dumplings! These were some of the best Har Gow I've had at Dim Sum. As the wrapper outside is super thin, the shrimp filling is juicy and super bouncy, just how a great shrimp dumpling should be!
To put things into perspective, check out the picture below to see a comparison of the size of the Har Gow and my fist! Yup, they don’t call these Jumbo Har Gow for no reason!
If you’re interested in visiting Lunasia for Dim Sum, you can find more information below. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy today’s post. Take care and eat well!
Lunasia Chinese Cuisine (凱旋宮)
Address and Phone number:
500 West Main Street Suite A
Alhambra, CA 91801
Dim Sum: Monday - Friday 10am - 3pm
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 9am - 3pm
Dinner: Monday - Sunday 5pm – 10pm
Restaurant Review Disclaimer: uTry.it restaurant reviews are solely based on our experience at each restaurant we visit. They were just our opinions. uTry.it and its owner were not compensated in any way to dine at these restaurants nor to write reviews.