Saehae Bok Mahnee Bahdeuseyo!!!

Happy Lunar New Year! Welcome to the Year of the Snake.

Hissssssssss

While many people think it’s Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is, in fact, celebrated by Koreans, Vietnamese and some other Asian cultures. So, being a good Asian properly raised in Korean customs (totally being sarcastic… I’m completely white-washed), I invited some friends over to celebrate by eating Chinese food and making dumplings.

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SGV Food Crawl

A few weekends ago, San Diego food blogger Jenn of Kirbie’s Cravings and her posse (2 brothers and future husband) came up for a visit.  She invited me to join her on a food crawl thru the San Gabriel Valley led by Danny aka Kung Food Panda.  Having not explored much of the SGV, I quickly jumped on the opportunity.

Cat ears, cat ears...eat 'em up. YUM!

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Dim Sum Truck

Introducing...Dim Sum Truck!

One of Alex's helpers

Sunday, the Husband and I were invited to attend a sneak peek of Los Angeles’s newest food truck, Dim Sum Truck!  I had tried a couple of their items at the Food Fest and liked them, so I was looking forward to tasting more of their menu.

Founded by Alex Chu, a young entrepreneur and graduate of USC, the Dim Sum Truck seeks to bring this classic Chinese cuisine to the streets of Los Angeles.  Those familiar with the food scene in this city know in order to get the “good stuff” when it comes to dim sum, one has to trek all the way to the San Gabriel Valley.  Not an easy thing for those who live on the west side, like me.

When we got to the truck, there was already a small crowd.  Not a problem as Alex and his crew already had food ready to go.

Har gow, shu mai, shrimp n' chive dumpling

First up were dumplings – har gow, shu mai and shrimp n’ chive.  Right off the bat, I noticed that these pieces were a little bigger than what I was used to getting at the restaurants.  The taste of each was on par with what you get at the restaurants, too, though.  Not a surprise given that Mr. Chu started his food career at a dim sum restaurant….

Baked BBQ pork bun

Chicken and ginger steamed bun

The sauce served with the trio of dumplings was salty and garlicky but lacking in the heat for me.  I didn’t mind because it complimented the flavors very well.

Next up was a duo of buns – a steamed bao filled with ginger and chicken and a baked bbq pork bun.  I tried the bbq pork first.  Stuffed with familiar sweet porkiness, this bun was quite good, though personally, I prefer the steamed version better because I like the texture and flavor of the steamed bread more.  I thought the bao was going to also be filled with bbq pork since char siu bao is a classic dim sum dish, so I was surprised when I tasted chicken and ginger.  The flavors were really good; I loved the ginger. But it was a little skinny in terms of the filling as you can see.

Zongzi - sticky rice with pork, sausage and mushroom

Dim Sum Truck was also serving up zongzi, a dish consisting of sticky rice with various fillings steamed in lotus leaves.  This version had pork, chinese sausage and mushrooms.  There was a nice earthy flavor infused into each bite from the leaves.  The pork was a little dry, though.  I did love the one piece of chinese sausage, juicy and intense.

Egg custard tart

Sesame ball

For dessert, there were egg custard tarts and lotus paste-filled sesame balls.  To caramelize the top of the tart, Alex broke out the kitchen torch.  The filling was smooth and perfect but the crust was not as flaky as I would like; it was a little soggy.

I’m used to the sesame balls being filled with a red bean paste.  The lotus version was a little less sweet but it was still good.  The shell was not oil-saturated and had just the right amount of chew to it.

Based on their website, Dim Sum Truck will also be offering up dim sum-Mexican fusion dishes like a roast duck taco,  which I tried at the Food Fest (yum yum yum), and a spicy tofu mulita.

Dim Sum Truck info

All in all, this was some good eats and I give them 4 NOMs!

Congratulations to Alex Chu for starting up a great truck!  I’m looking forward to encountering Dim Sum Truck often on the streets…

Dim Sum Truck on Urbanspoon

Dumpling Inn

Been craving dumplings for a while now so coworkers and I went to Dumpling Inn for the first time yesterday for late-ish lunch (got there around 1pm).

The place is tiny; fortunately, they had 1 table left open and it was large enough to accomodate our group of 5.   Even after we were seated, there were people coming in and out and at some point, there was a short wait.  I’ve heard this place gets crowded on weekends.

We placed an order of Xiao Long Bao, pork n’ chive dumplings, chow mein. I also added a request for jellyfish. The jelly fish here is excellent ($6.95). The sauce is refreshing and cool and the jellyfish nice and crunchy. The chow mein ($9.25) was okay but I felt that it was a little bland. The serving portion was large since it was meant to be shared family style. I loved the Xiao Long Bao ($6.95/10); however, do not shove it into your mouth right away as it is filled with super hot moist pork and a little soup. The pork n’ chive dumplings ($6.95/10) were a sad thing. The dough was extremely mushy and the taste – bleh. Skip these! I’ve been told the potstickers here are excellent and I did see quite a few people ordering them. Maybe I’ll order those next time.

The service here is excellent. I guess being a small restaurant means you don’t have to have worry about a lot of customers at one time.

As for the prices, not bad! For the two dumpling orders and chow mein, the total ended up being around $8/pp for a group of 4, including tax and tip. Not exactly a filling lunch but comfortable.

3 NOMs for Dumpling Inn.

Dumpling Inn
4619 Convoy St
Ste F
(between Dagget St & Opportunity Rd)
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 268-9638
Dumpling Inn on Urbanspoon

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