Saturday, June 9, 2007

Seafood Harbour Restaurant

Fighting the throng of people in the San Gabriel Valley in search of dim sum is never an easy task. First, dealing with traffic is always a test in patience. Second, finding a parking spot among the many restaurants can sometimes be a challenge. Lastly, waiting in a seemingly never ending line to get a table and be seated.

Fortunately, we arrived after the lunch hour rush, so traffic was minimal and parking was surprisingly easy to find. But we still had a 45 minute wait before being seated. The bad thing about arriving that late is that some of the most prized dim sum can be sold out.

One thing that immediately stands out about the dim sum at Seafood Harbour is that the dim sum is much larger than at most restaurants. Each dim sum piece is easily one-and-a-half times as big as most restaurants such as Capital Seafood and Ocean Star. Although the dim sum is higher priced at Seafood Harbour, you do get more bang for your buck. Seafood Harbour is among the “new wave” dim sum restaurants that offer new and creative types of dim sum. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but it’s always fun to try something out of the ordinary.

Stuffed with two to three whole shrimp along with some shrimp paste to help bind it together, the Har Gow (Crystal Shrimp) is at least a two bite affair. The dough is light and has a little bit of a chew to it. The shrimp are perfectly cooked, as it has a little bit of a bite to it as well as being juicy at the same time. One of the bad things about having the dim sum so big is that the skin tends to fall apart a little bit easier. To me, I will sacrifice some disassembly for more filling any time.

The Shu Mai is a dumpling filled with pork and shrimp and topped with fish roe (eggs). Like the Har Gow, whole shrimp are embedded in this dumpling. The pork is minced and helps to bind the dumpling together as well as adding some flavor. The fish roe adds some color as well as some crunch to the dumpling.

The Bean Curd with Oyster Sauce is a loosely filled “dumpling”. The bean curd drapes the filling of pork, shrimp, wood ear mushrooms and other vegetables. It comes adorned with a light broth. The bean curd is a little chewy but adds a lot of texture and a nuance of flavor.

The Fresh Shrimp Dumpling with Chives is very similar to the Har Gow except it has the addition of chives and fish roe. Again, whole shrimp were stuffed into the dumpling and held together with a chive infused shrimp paste. The addition of the chives added a faint onion taste and another level of flavor. The fish roe added both color and texture to the dumpling. The dumpling skin was soft and a little pliable which gave the perfect amount of chew. Like many of the other dumplings it was filled with too much stuffing and tended to fall apart.

The Shark Fin Scallop dumpling is a monster of a dumpling. It’s like dim sum on steroids. The dumpling is filling with two to three whole shrimp which is then topped with a whole scallop. The filling is encased in a soft, slightly chewy dough then adorned with strands of shark fin. With all of the filling involved in this dumpling, unless you can eat it one bite it’s sure to fall apart. The shark fin doesn’t much taste but adds a little bit of texture. If you’ve never had shark fin before, it looks like clear short strands of spaghetti. It has a firm texture much like al dente pasta, except this doesn’t stick to your teeth like al dente pasta sometime does.

One of the more nouveau dim sum is the Durian Pastry. The filling is enwrapped with a gorgeously decorative pastry that is then deep fried. This dim sum was a little disappointing as it had no durian taste. Upon breaking it apart, there is a greenish-yellowish paste that looks like durian, but even that has no durian taste or the ever powerful aroma of durian. The rest of the filling is a whitish paste that tastes like some type of root vegetable, possibly yam. Out of all the dim sum sampled on this day, this was by far the biggest disappointment.

The Egg Custard came right out of the oven and was still hot when presented. The prized custard was soft and creamy with just a hint of egg and slightly sweet. The pastry was buttery and flaky and just fell apart when bitten into. This was a perfect way to end a great meal.

If you can get by the long wait usually associated with Seafood Harbour, it is well worth the journey. If you are also adventurous, this is the perfect place to try some of the new wave dim sum out there.

Seafood Harbour Restaurant
3939 Rosemead Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 288-3939

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