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Sunday, April 29, 2012

King Hua in Alhambra: My New Go-To Dimsum Joint


I finally found a decent dimsum place, King Hua in Alhambra, although that doesn't mean I don't crave the razor thin-skinned dimsum had back in Hong Kong. I liked that the skin in these dimsum was thin enough and also liked the shrimp variations it offered. I like the standard har gow (shrimp only dumpling) as much as the next person, but I love when combined with all sorts of greens, at times nuts and cilantro. The additions give the dumpling a whole new dimension.
My favorite was the shrimp with greens beautifully topped with a goji berry, corn and pea. It was one that I hadn't seen in other dimsum joints, and the combination of sweet and tart was wonderful. I liked that this place isn't a cart-type of place. I always like to hail down the ladies with the carts trying to use all sorts of hand gestures to figure out what's in a particular dumpling, but made to order dimsum is the way to go, I say. No hassle, made fresh rather than sitting on a cart for a while and no futile attempts at pantomine involved.

I liked the har gow well enough but it didn't blow me away. I preferred the shrimp dumpling that came with nuts -- which gave it a crunch and a nice nuttiness.

Then I had my usual suspects, including sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, which was nothing special but ok, barbecued pork buns, which were soft and fluffy but whose pork was a tad smelly and some steamed greens, which were a bit over-steamed but fine.






We also got a few unusual suspects like croquette-like taro dumplings stuffed with pork, mushroom and veggies, which were crunchy and tasted very comforting. Guess croquettes will do that to you.

Then we also had those flat rice noodles filled with, you guessed it, shrimp again. Hey, just trying to be sensitive to the pescatarians on our table. They were good and the rice noodles had just the right amount of chewiness.

Still, the pork-lovers at the table couldn't resist getting Shanghai soup dumplings, which of course, were no Din Tai Fung xiao long baos but they were decent. Then again, we hadn't come here for the xlbs...


The all vegetarian dumplings with mushrooms, bamboo shoots and other veggies were bleh. For some reason, the skin on vegetarian dumplings always seem to be on the thicker side. Not sure why that is but it makes me like them even less. Ok, I already had some contempt for them for being vegetarian dumplings.

The best way to end a dimsum meal is with those ethereal lovelies -- warm and crispy custard cakes. Oh yes. I had one and then another. They went fairly quickly.

I like to have Chrysanthemum tea instead of Jasmine because it's not caffeinated and I think is a better complement to the greasy dumplings I keep popping in my mouth. Well, the dumplings themselves aren't as bad but it's the chili oil and all the stuff I dip it in that may contribute to the heaviness.



Or it was just a simple case of overeating. We also had seafood congee, aka juk, or porridge. It was fine but I'm not a big fan of juk in general so it didn't leave an impression.

The only thing I noticed was that the congee was very much smooth rather than grainy. It was like mieum in Korean food that you're supposed to have when you're sick and can't digest solids.

Also, the place fills up quickly so arriving before 11:30 is probably best if you want to avoid a wait.

Overall, thumbs up!





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