LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Chinese food blogger is giving dim sum novices a crash course on the traditional Cantonese cuisine.
Clarissa Wei took Suzanne Marques to her top five restaurants to pick up steamed dumplings, hot barbeque pork buns, egg custard tarts and other bite-sized snacks, also known as dim sum, or "drink tea", as the beverage is usually served alongside the small dishes.
"It's the Chinese version of afternoon brunch," Wei explained.
Dim Sum 101 began with tea etiquette. Tap your fingers to say thank you when someone pours you tea.
"And when you're done with the tea and you want the servers to refill it, all you have to do is flip over the lid and they'll know," Wei said.
Clarissa Wei's Top 5 Dim Sum Restaurants:
500 W. Main St. #A, Alhambra, CA 91801
- Sea Harbour
3939 Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770
- Mission 261
261 Mission Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776
7455 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles CA 90046
- Ocean Star
145 Atlantic Blvd. #201-203, Monterey Park 91754
At the top of her list for beginners is Lunasia in Alhambra, where she recommends steamed pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings in a clear wrapper and rice noodles with shrimp.
"I love it because the portions are huge and the atmosphere is just beautiful," Wei said.
Chicken feet is a dim sum classic, although the dish might be difficult for some to stomach.
"It looks like feet. I've seen them prepare this before. They cut off the toenails," she said.
Sea Harbour in Rosemead is the foodie's second favorite spot.
"It opened in 2002 and it was kind of the beginning of menu-driven dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley," she said.
Wei is a fan of the baked barbeque pork bun, the flaky egg custard tart and the egg yolk balls.
"It kind of has a mochi-like texture inside which is really interesting. But inside is the salted egg yolk. So the beauty of this is that there is a sweet and salty contrast," she said.
Mission 261, located in San Gabriel's historic Mission District, is third on her list.
Angel Chen from Pasadena brings her guests from China there.
"Very reasonable price and very good taste," Chen said.
Number four is Pingtung eat-in market on Melrose. The eatery dishes up dim sum in a hip Hollywood setting for about $6 a plate.
The pan fried Gyoza pork dumplings and steamed barbeque pork buns, Wei said, are a must.
Number five on her list is Ocean Star in Monterey Park.
"The dim sum is on carts and they push it around and you flag down the waitresses," she noted of the service.
"And they're just kind of a classic dim sum location," she said.
For more details about dim sum hotspots and other eateries across Los Angeles, visit Clarissa Wei's website.
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