Sunday, February 22, 2009

King Hua: Good Things Come in Small Packages/Steam Baskets

Wanting to take advantage of the relatively traffic-free Sunday, we decided to grab dim sum in Alhambra. I don’t hate V.I.P Harbor Seafood or anything, but we all wanted “real” dim sum…i.e. dim sum not served by a Mexican waitress.

(The Sea Harbor-esque Menu)

I decided to try King Hua – the restaurant opened by former Sea Harbor chef because:

1) Sea Harbor is fantastic so, logically, King Hua can’t be bad and

2) I knew Sea Harbor would be PACKED on a Sunday afternoon

King Hua was pretty packed too but we didn’t have to wait and were seated righ
t away. I took a look at the menu and, just as most of the reviews have said, it was almost identical to the one at Sea Harbor -____- oh well, I’m certainly not complaining.

(Meet my friends: Har Gow)

(Good stuff: Jellyfish and Beancurd Rolls)

The dim sum here – like the ones at Sea Harbor – are larger than the standard sizes (which also mean they’re double the size of the ones at VIP). The shrimp dumpling/har gow was a plump mass of shrimpy goodness. I was very impressed by the skin – it was thin but not flimsy and it didn’t get hard and doughy when cooled down (which, ugh, I’m sorry to say, happens with the ones at VIP). The jellyfish with beancurd roll was another stellar dish. The jellyfish was crunchy and well-seasoned. But my favorite part of the dish was the beancurd rolls filled with chopped mushrooms and carrots. So “healthy” tasting…not that it really mattered, given the amount of unhealthy food I consumed. The steamed rice noodle/cheong fun with shrimp tasted great but the skin was a little too thin and slippery. It was an almost impossible task to get the rice noodle onto my plate in one piece.

(Slip Away: Cheong Fun with Shrimp)

(When flaky is good: Egg Tarts)

I also ordered the steamed preserved egg yolk bun. I LOVE this dish and though I wasn’t disappointed by King Hua’s version, I wasn’t blown away. The egg yolk didn’t have a strong enough taste. But I love eating this
– the messiness of the runny, eggy filling is half the fun and it even elicited the interest of the table of white diners next to us. After the bun, I moved onto the egg custard tarts/dan tat. The custard filling was a little forgettable (not sweet enough) but the pastry crust was amazingly buttery and flaky. Another winner. The last item to come to the table was the shark’s fin scallop dumpling. This was SOOOO GOOD. It was a decadent version of the har gow – even plumper and juicer than its more humble cousin and topped with a small piece of scallop and a sprinkling of fish roe. Wow. Again, the dumpling skin was a winner.

(It could get messy: Salty Egg Yolk Bun)

(Luxury wrapped in a rice flour skin: Shark's Fin Scallop Dumpling)

I didn’t eat the shiu mai but both Debs and Sun enjoyed it. Also, stupidly enough, I messed up one order and got the deep fried spring rolls instead of the fried seafood salad roll – the wonderful crispy, sweet, mayo concoction I had at Sea Harbor last time. My bad…

(Shiu Mai)

All in all, it came up to $33.84 sans tips for three people. We left a big fat tip and I still felt like I was robbing the restaurant blind. Plus, service really was great. Efficient and friendly.

King Hua rocks. It’s not as great as Sea Harbor but it’s not far behind. I have no cause for complaint.

(What SHOULD'VE been a mass of seafood + mayo)

FOOD: 4.75/5




2000 W Main St

Alhambra, CA 91801

(626) 282-8833

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