The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In San Gabriel Valley, California
Sleeping in and having brunch are both well-loved weekend activities. Instead of the standard brunch of eggs Benedict and waffles, try the Cantonese version of brunch, dim sum. Also known as yum cha (which directly translates to drink tea), dim sum consists of delicious sweet and savory mini dishes with a side of fragrant tea. The San Gabriel Valley offers the widest array of – and quite possibly the most authentic – dim sum in the nation. Here are eight restaurants in which you should try this delicacy.
On the higher-end of dim sum joints is King Hua Restaurant. The restaurant, decorated with gold and hints of red, is very clean and quite lavish. The food is cooked to order, so you are guaranteed to have steaming hot dishes at your table. You will definitely be able to taste the high quality of ingredients that are used in the dim sum, justifying the higher price. Give the steamed shrimp and pea tip dumplings a try, because they are beautifully presented. The extensive menu ensures that there is something for everyone.
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Lunasia Dim Sum House, an upscale addition to the array of dim sum restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, offers a modern take on traditional dim sum. Lunasia is definitely the best place to go for first-time dim sum eaters, because the servers are speak fluent English and are more than happy to offer their suggestions. The order form takes away the stress of choosing from chaotic steaming carts and is filled with beautiful pictures. The bigger-than-normal har gow and siu mai are must-orders, as well as the hot almond milk with a puff pastry.
At Capital Seafood, the service is quick and generally pretty great. The location isn’t as big as many of the other places on this list, so it is a little more intimate. This also means that it is not necessary to shout in order to be heard above the din of conversation. If you know in advance that you are going to eat at Capital Seafood, it is a good idea to make a reservation in order to avoid waiting in line. The must-try dishes here are the baked crispy bread with almond cream and the egg tarts.
If you are a fan of sweets, the Macau egg custard tarts from Elite Restaurant are the stuff of your dreams. Egg tarts are a staple in dim sum, but the extremely flaky crust paired with perfectly sweetened, creamy custard puts Elite’s tarts at the top. You can’t go wrong with any of the fluffy buns filled with taro, custard, or pork, because they are some of the best in San Gabriel Valley. Elite’s shumaiis also juicy, flavorful, and generous in portion size. Overall, the food at Elite is consistent and reliable, but the wait time can often be a little long.
While most restaurants have converted to ordering forms, Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant has kept it traditional with their dim sum carts. You might not be able to try everything that you want, but the experience of dodging carts and seeing the food before you choose is something everyone should try at least once. If you can spot them, the taro cake and the steamed tofu skin with pork are customer favorites. This is one of the cheaper, more authentic places for dim sum and the congee is a steal at a little over three dollars a bowl.
Consistently ranked at the top of the list of best dim sum places in LA, Sea Harbor is a favorite among critics and locals. There are over 100 items to choose from on the menu, and each item is authentic and delightful. Even though the restaurant is always packed on the weekends, the food comes out of the kitchen extremely quickly and piping hot. Because the dim sum is of such high quality, Sea Harbor is on the pricey side. Be prepared to wait outside for at least an hour before being seated on the weekends.
If you are just too hungry to wait in the long brunch lines, get super convenient dim sum to go at Dim Sum Express in Monterey Park. The service is unbelievably fast, and the dim sum is tasty enough to satisfy your cravings. Their serving sizes are some of the biggest on this list, and the har gow is yummy and bursting with shrimp. The best part is that Dim Sum Express is open all seven days of the week, and it offers dim sum throughout the day. The restaurant is cash only, so make sure not to come empty handed.
A staple in the childhood memories of many people in the San Gabriel Valley, NBC Seafood has stayed in business for quite a long time. NBC is a no-frills dim sum place that creates a lot of nostalgia, especially with its customary cart. The dishes are affordable, and the large banquet hall seating area ensures a shorter wait than many other places. If you can’t find something you want in the carts, flag down a waiter and he will help you find it and bring it to your table.