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Ocean Star Seafood, Monterey Park

October 20, 2009

Yes, my weekend eats are not really weekend eats anymore when I post them up in the middle of the week! I actually have a backlog of restaurants I have yet to post, not enough time in the day. Anyways, if you have never heard of ‘dim sum’ before, you are in for a treat. I’m not sure why I don’t eat this more often as it is ridiculously cheap and such amazing food. Oh yeah, because there are no dim sum places here on the westside. Frankly, there really are no good Chinese restaurants here. I have to drive an hour to Monterey Park to get some real Chinese food. Ocean Star in Monterey Park is just one of the countless dim sum places in this area. This restaurant brings back a lot of good memories for me as we like to eat here for Chinese News Year and celebrate  birthdays.

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Did I mention dim sum is ridiculously cheap? $2/plate! Lunch consisted of 10 plates split between my grandparents and I, the total amount came out to be $20!! Unheard of here in L.A

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Going out to eat dim sum could possibly be the best way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s equivalent to eating a Sunday brunch without the champagne. You get to sip on delicious assortments of teas and feast on the innumerable assortment of delicacies. They are similar to hors d’oeuvres and tapas.  Many of the dishes are either steamed or deep-fried. You’ll find everything from steamed pork spareribs and char siu bao – steamed buns with roast pork – to har gao, those wonderful shrimp dumplings with the translucent skin. Deep-fried treats include mini spring rolls, pan fried dumplings and Wu Gok, a type of taro turnover. Finally, there’s dessert. Custard egg tarts and the fried sesame mochi balls are a must. Actually, the first thing my grandpa orders is dessert. I don’t think he’s that interested in any of the other food, but he sure can eat his weight in sweets!

Steamed shrimp dumplings

Steamed shrimp dumplings

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Sticky rice in tea leaves

Sticky rice in tea leaves

Seaweed salad with peanuts

Seaweed salad with peanuts

Fried sesame balls

Fried sesame balls

Custard egg tart

Custard egg tart

I have no idea what this is called in English, but this is my favorite dish. It has shrimp wrapped in the sticky noodle layer and covered in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil

I have no idea what this is called in English, but this is my favorite dish. It has shrimp wrapped in the sticky noodle layer and covered in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil

Green tea & Red Bean Mochi Balls

Green tea & Red Bean Mochi Balls

BBQ Pork Buns

BBQ Pork Buns

If you enjoy looking through a menu, then a restaurant that serves dim sum in the traditional style is not for you. Instead of ordering from a menu, you choose from a variety of dishes that servers push around on carts. While it may not be evident in the hustle and bustle of the carts rolling by, there is a certain order to how dim sum is served: lighter, steamed dishes come first, followed by exotic items such as chicken’s feet, then deep-fried dishes, and finally dessert.

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Another tips is if you’re looking to have a romantic lunch for two, then a dim sum restaurant probably isn’t the best choice. First off, the atmosphere is hardly conducive to romance, with the clattering of trays, people calling out their orders, cramped seating and large groups of people talking at each table. Besides, the best way to enjoy dim sum is with a group; otherwise you’ll fill up on just a few items and miss the opportunity to sample everything. On the other hand, you can always take home the leftovers! I admit, the noisy atmosphere in a dim sum restaurant can take a bit of getting used to. But it’s a great way to sample a variety of exotic tastes and flavors. Somehow the typical Sunday brunch can’t match the culinary appeal of Chinese dim sum.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2009 8:08 pm

    I have always wanted to try dim sum! Your post and tips are great!

    • andee permalink
      October 21, 2009 8:27 pm

      Thanks! You should definitely give it a try!

  2. traynharder23 permalink
    October 21, 2009 8:31 pm

    DIMSUM!!!!!!!! i’ve been there! har gow is awesome, and cha xiao baos and turnip cake. hmmmmmmmm. i love it.

  3. October 30, 2009 12:43 am

    dim sum is the best. ahhh i’m craving it BIG TIME now 🙂 sesame balls are my favvvv

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