Dim Sum & Hong Kong Seafood Specialist - Sea Harbour


#1

(Note: Figured since we have a new board, we might need to repopulate this board with pics and thoughts about long-time favorites as well as new restaurants.)

It’s been a long while, but it is thanks to all of the long time members on our old board that I found out about this Dim Sum and Hong Kong Seafood Specialist known as Sea Harbour a few years ago. I remember my first visit, trekking over to the San Gabriel Valley and trying out Dim Sum here. There were no carts (as the old CH threads mentioned), but they had good Dim Sum, and their Dinner was supposedly even better. We were blown away, and gladly returned the following month, and the rest is history. :slight_smile:

Had a friend visiting from out of town and they were craving Dim Sum, so off we went.

Sticky Rice Wrapped with Lotus Leaf:

Still delicious. I really like their infusion of flavor into the Rice from the outer Lotus Leaf. Nice chunks of Chicken and Mushrooms inside.

House No. 1 Baked BBQ Pork Bun:

I think I like the Steamed version better at Sea Harbour. Normally I like the baked ones as well, but these weren’t baked long enough IMHO, so the outer breading was still very soft (lacking that toastiness).

BBQ Pork Pastry:

This was nice and flaky, with a delicate pastry puff shell.

Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Truffle - Siu Mai:

Their classic Siu Mai named “Pork & Shrimp Dumpling” (and a daily special “With Truffle”) appeared. It’s plump, juicy, meaty, generous amount of Shrimp and Pork in each Dumpling. The Black Truffle didn’t add much, so we’d probably stick with the regular Siu Mai next time.

Meat Ball & Fish Ball Bean Curd Congee:

Not too thick. The savory Pork Meatballs and Fishballs were great as well.

Soaked Baby Bok Choy with Gingko & Bean Curd Sheet:

The Baby Bok Choy were nice and tender. The Gingko Nuts and Bean Curd were pretty light and delicate.

Stewed Ox Tendon & Tripe in Brown Sauce:

Great savory Soy Sauce base. Tender Tripe and Tendon was nicely stewed to a delicate consistency.

Deep Fried Smelt in Spicy Salt & Pepper:

These things are so addicting! Love the crispy little Smelt Fish, with a nice dash of spiced Salt & Pepper.

Shrimp Dumpling - Har Gow:

Of course the classic Har Gow - Shrimp Dumplings - were excellent on this visit as well. Dumpling skin is not too thick or thin, and just pliable enough. Generous portion of Shrimp in each one.

Steamed Rice Noodle with Shredded Chicken & Bitter Melon:

This is a weird one that I haven’t seen in other Dim Sum places. But it was pretty tasty, but then again I love veggies that have a bit of bitterness to them (see Arugula). :slight_smile:

French Style Sweet Potato Bun:

I normally don’t go too adventurous, but then again Sea Harbour had more innovative items compared to some of the more traditional Dim Sum places I’ve tried before in the past. But this looked strangely appealing so we ordered it…

Seriously, this is OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD! :blush: It sounds kind of gimmicky, but in execution it’s toasted hot, nice and crisped exterior, with a slightly crunchy top, and this really appealing Sweet Potato filling. It is SO GOOD! :slight_smile:

Steamed Preserved Salty Egg Yolk Bun:

This was also quite good, and my friend liked it more than the Sweet Potato dessert (but I liked that one more). :wink: Still, there’s this savory and sweet quality to the inner custardy center. Delicious. :slight_smile:

On another visit for Dinner recently, we had a blast revisiting some of the old board recommendations (thanks @ipsedixit @Porthos @bulavinaka and all for the past recommendations years ago).

Their Dinner Menu has undergone a major revamp, with lots of new items (but also retaining all of the fresh, live seafood tanks to order live seafood as well).

Chicken Salad with Black Truffle:

I don’t know if these were true Perigord Black Truffles (probably not), but it was still delicious regardless. The Steamed Chicken with Green Onions, Black Truffles, was perfectly cooked, tender, meaty and umami.

Steamed Mince Pork with Water Chestnut and Black Bean Paste:

We took a chance on this. I remember reading about this type of dish before years ago, and was surprised to see it on the menu here. And it was really good! :slight_smile: It’s so crave-worthy, with the Steamed Pork and the crunch of the Water Chestnut made it enjoyable for each bite. Went great with the Rice! :slight_smile:

Live Prawns - Steamed:

I forgot who it was that said this was a definite must-order dish back in the day, but I’ve been ordering it ever since LOL. Seriously one of the best Shrimp preparation styles I’ve enjoyed over the years. You peel the Steamed Prawns, and they are so fresh (having been alive minutes earlier), and that dipping sauce is amazing! It’s sweet, savory, meaty and awesome! :slight_smile:

Live Clam, Enoki Mushroom & Vermicelli & Pepper Stewed Mushroom:

This was the only failure of the night: The Live Clams tasted pretty briny and funky (some were good, some not). The Mushrooms were tender, peppery and great.

Sauteed String Beans:

The String Beans were piping hot and delicious.

Stir Fried Rice Noodle with Beef:

This was fine. The Rice Noodles were soft (maybe too soft), but the Bean Sprouts, Green Onions and chunks of soft Beef brought it all together.

Steamed Bean Curd Topped with Mixed Seafood:

This one tasted rather pedestrian. Not bad, but rather simple. It was fine for being a lighter, delicate dish.

Live Rock Cod - Steamed:

And the highlight of the evening: Live Rock Cod, steamed and deboned tableside.

I enjoy fish in so many different ways, but I’d have to say, Sea Harbour’s Steamed Live Rock Cod is just SO DELICIOUS! :slight_smile: The Rock Cod is super fresh, the meat is supple and bright, and clean. The Green Onions and Cilantro are great, but it’s that Sauce that makes it so amazing!

I’ve asked @ipsedixit and others about this. I don’t know what it is, but if it’s just Soy Sauce and Sugar, or whatever preparation, it works. It’s like this deep, umami essence of DELICIOUSNESS. :heart:

Freshly Ground Walnut Sweet Soup:

Pure Walnut essence, non-sweetened, nutty and delicious. They give you a small container with Liquid Sugar to add to season how you like. A nice way to end the evening. :slight_smile:

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

Update:

Ordered many of the same dishes (due to a friend of a friend wanting to try all the “must have” dishes), so I’ll keep the comments to a minimum, but the one new dish I had to try:

French Style Sweet Taro Bun:

OMG! @ipsedixit was right. This is SO good! We loved the French-style Sweet Potato Bun last time, but with Taro instead? It’s even more fragrant and crave-worthy! :smile: It’s toasty hot, with a slight crunchy outer shell, and then the warm Taro filling inside. I’m so glad it’s on the menu now.

We devoured this, and ordered another order immediately.

The other Dim Sum (still just as good, except their Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Truffle - Siu Mai, which today had a slight burnt / smoky flavor. We’re guessing one of the steamers underneath this might’ve dried up / burnt some food underneath, giving it that smell (the actual Siu Mai weren’t burnt at all, just a slight aroma)).

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

Update 3:

More friends visiting from out-of-town, and they were dying to get some Dim Sum, so off we went to Sea Harbour. :slight_smile:

Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Truffle - Siu Mai:

There is only one option for Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) at Sea Harbour these days. Normally adding Black Truffles to a dish is a good thing, but the ones at Sea Harbour taste like the Asian variety, nowhere near as fragrant and earthy and aromatic as Perigord Black Truffles. But besides that, the Pork & Shrimp Dumplings are juicy and tender and delicious as usual. :slight_smile:

French Style Baked BBQ Pork Buns:

These were a strange hybrid between the Baked and Steamed BBQ Pork (Charsiu) Buns (that are also on the menu). We had never tried these before, they were slightly crunchy, but they weren’t anything like the Tim Ho Wan-style famous BBQ Pork Buns.

Sticky Rice Wrapped with Lotus Leaf:

As wonderful as before: Sea Harbour still makes this dish with the Sticky Rice wrapped directly by the Lotus Leaves (vs. most places these days wrapping them in parchment paper and using cheaper, fall apart Lotus Leaves (so you get almost no flavor)).

The Sticky Rice, morsels of juicy Chicken and Duck Egg are delicious together. :blush:

Steamed Chicken Feet in Brown Sauce:

Cooked to a really tender consistency, it’s an acquired taste, but quite tasty, savory with just a touch of sweetness, and some bits of Chicken Cartilage with the soft stewed Chicken Skin.

Shrimp Dumpling - Har Gow:

Excellent. The Shrimp Dumpling wrapper is steamed just right, tender, pliable, but with a subtle nice mouthfeel. Plump, juicy Shrimp. :slight_smile:

Steamed Rice Noodle with Minced Beef and Chinese Parsley:

Their Steamed Rice Noodles are silky, slippery and cooked just right. The Minced Beef and Parsley filling tastes freshly cooked and nicely seasoned. :slight_smile:

Deep Fried Smelt in Spicy Salt & Pepper:

I love their Deep Fried Smelt! :slight_smile: Crispy, crunchy bites of Smelt Fish, nicely seasoned with Salt & Pepper and Green Onions.

Dry Scallop & Meat Ball Congee:

A nice consistency, not too thick, nor too watery, this is an excellent Rice Porridge, lightly salted with tender bits of Meatballs and a bit of pleasing brininess from the Dried Scallops stewed to a tender texture.

Poached Spinach Topped with Minced Beef:

A more decadent way to enjoy your veggies, Sea Harbour poaches a mound of Spinach with a Minced Beef Gravy, resulting in a delicious combination of tender Marinated Ground Beef and tender Spinach. :slight_smile:

Steamed Preserved Salty Egg Yolk Bun:

One of the best Desserts at Sea Harbour during Dim Sum, these Steamed Buns arrive piping hot, and make sure you carefully break them open, letting the trapped steam escape and cool off a bit before you bite into it.

Because at that point, you’re treated to this amazing oozing Egg Liquid Custard, a bit salty and sweet at the same time and SO GOOD! :heart:

Milk and Egg White Custard Tart:

This is an interesting take on the classic Dim Sum Egg Tart: Sea Harbour is serving one with Egg Whites instead of Egg Yolks. Visually it’s a bit shocking at first. Taste-wise? It’s OK. It tastes like a lighter, less egg-y Egg Tart, but a healthier alternative perhaps.

Deep Fried Purple Sweet Potato Balls:

Unfortunately @ipsedixit’s favorite (and amazing) French Style Taro Buns are currently rotated off the menu, :frowning: so we decided to try this newer Dessert. These are actually not very sweet (a good thing), and they arrive piping hot, freshly fried little Sweet Potato Balls with a Sweet Potato filling.

Service is as solid as usual, with our servers clearing dishes and replacing our plates from time-to-time and filling up our Tea without asking.

Sea Harbour remains our favorite Dim Sum in L.A., and they continue to deliver an excellent selection of Dim Sum classics and some newer dishes as well.

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


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#2

Top shelf post as usual. That chicken with black truffles dish - what? I could be wrong but don’t recall this one. They have revamped and stepped up their menu.

I’ve only done the live seafood at Sea Harbour and Newport. @Porthos, whose opinion I seriously respect seems to prefer Elite. But the steamed shrimp and rock cod at Sea Harbour is seafood heaven. The spot prawns are crazy good when steamed. @ipsedixit recs having the shrimp heads deep-fried and served separately - genius.


#3

Did you ask for the prawn heads to be reserved and deep-fried?

Also, on the steamed fish the “sauce” is just wok-fried soy sauce with some oil (usually sesame), and a bit of rock sugar sometimes depending on the fish.

There is a great tofu dish they make with sea cucumbers and thin tissue-like slices of abalone. It’s still bland, in part because most tofu dishes if done right are to highlight the delicate texture and taste of the beancurd. This isn’t braised tofu, or mapo tofu after all. But, yeah, definitely not something everyone will take to.

Salted egg yolk bun is like my kryptonite, assuming I was superman. My problem with the sweet potato bun is that it’s sweet potato; sometimes they will offer the same style French baked bun with taro, which is just fucking outrageous.

Great report as always.


#4

Hi @ipsedixit, @bulavinaka,

Thanks. :slight_smile: Aaah! I had no idea you could reserve the shrimp heads and have them fried! I must’ve missed that on our old board. I will try that next time. :slight_smile: Thanks.

The sauce on the Steamed Fish: Thanks for the info. I can’t believe it’s so simple sounding yet SO DELICIOUS! :slight_smile: None of us could stop eating it with some steamed rice. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the Sea Cucumber rec! Noted!

There’s a French Style Baked Bun with TARO?! :open_mouth: Oh yah! I think that’d be even better. I hope it’s back on the menu soon.


#5

I’ve said this before.

But dinner is heads-and-shoulders better than dim sum. And dim sum ain’t half bad.


#6

The salted egg yolk bun made me turn from egg yolk hater to to egg yolk lover. First encountered this type of bun in Singapore years back, where duck egg yolk was used - WOW.

Taro bun at Sea Harbour is pretty amazing as well - also had it in Singapore. I am guessing these were first introduced in Hong Kong and made their way to other places with established dim sum houses?


#7

@bulavinaka these days I think J Zhou is doing a better job at dinner.

But both JZhou and Elite do rock cod 2 ways.

@Chowseeker1999 next time ask for the rock cod 2 ways. Tail steamed like you did but the head 3-cups casserole style.

And if you’re really spluring, get the steamed king crab 3 ways. Legs fried. Body steamed. Carapace steamed with egg custard. I personally prefer steamed to fried so I’ll ask for the legs steamed also.

Great report as always!


#8

Damn. I’m sure glad I’m having Chinese food for dinner.


#9

FWIW, monterey palace on garvey does a chang fun with a filling that includes bitter melon and what might have been chicken, but apparently i’m still not old enough to appreciate bitter melon.

i’m surprised yet pleased that sea harbor’s menu would include such a humble dish; i mean, i got fatty ground pork for $1.19/lb this week. 20 years ago there was a little toisan mom & pop place at 3rd and valley called wing hing deli that would make it, either with salted fish/ salted egg/ chinese sausage. it took about 25 minutes but it was always worth the wait. the secret ingredient is corn starch to get the right kind of texture. back in the day, i could eat bowls and bowls of rice with an order of this.nowadays my blood sugar prevents my indulging myself in such an inexpensive yet glorious pleasure.


#10

Yknow what’s great with bitter melon?

Foie gras.

A piece of foie gras with a crunchy slice of raw bitter melon is uncoly delectable.


#11

Hi @ipsedixit,

Wow that sounds strangely good. :slight_smile: Where did you eat this at?


#12

Would you laugh at me if I said, “my hotel room in Manhattan”?


#13

no, but it does give rise to otherwise unimaginable scenarios involving the acquisition of raw bitter melon in manhattan.


#14

Hi @ipsedixit,

Awesome. :slight_smile:

Oh I forgot to ask, have you (or anyone else) tried Sea Harbour’s Advanced Order Soups? They look so interesting…

  • Double-Boiled Maca with Sea Horse and Black Chicken - I have no idea what this would taste like.

  • Double-Boiled Squab with Lucid Granodema and American Ginseng Soup

  • Double-Boiled Matsutake, Conch and Chicken Soup

and like 5 other ones. Worth ordering?


#15

Yes


#16

I usually prefer the double-boiled squab with incoherent Grandma…


#17

There’s a surcharge if you want grandma to arrive at your table incoherently. :wink:


#18

Update:

Ordered many of the same dishes (due to a friend of a friend wanting to try all the “must have” dishes), so I’ll keep the comments to a minimum, but the one new dish I had to try:

French Style Sweet Taro Bun:

OMG! @ipsedixit was right. This is SO good! We loved the French-style Sweet Potato Bun last time, but with Taro instead? It’s even more fragrant and crave-worthy! :smile: It’s toasty hot, with a slight crunchy outer shell, and then the warm Taro filling inside. I’m so glad it’s on the menu now.

We devoured this, and ordered another order immediately.

The other Dim Sum (still just as good, except their Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Truffle - Siu Mai, which today had a slight burnt / smoky flavor. We’re guessing one of the steamers underneath this might’ve dried up / burnt some food underneath, giving it that smell (the actual Siu Mai weren’t burnt at all, just a slight aroma)).

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


August 2016 Weekend Rundown
#19

Were you there today? We may have bumped into each other, in a sort of culinary fourth-wall existential way.


#20

A tad OT but… My only (so far) dim sum in SGV was Elite. It was terrific and also menu not carts. Which I far, far prefer. Cooked to order with an occasional dish brought around. Mmm :slight_smile: