SGV: Old School Dim Sum at Top Island Seafood

dim sum spread at Top Island

dim sum spread at Top Island

 

I get asked all the time what’s my favorite dim sum spot in the San Gabriel Valley. Lately it’s been Shanghai No. 1 Seafood but I’m always interested in trying a new spot. For those who prefer dim sum carts, you might want to try Top Island Seafood. The experience reminded me of my childhood. The lobby was full of people holding little tickets hoping their number would called soon. We waited for about an hour before we were led to a table.

And since Top Island has those roving dim sum carts, food was ordered and quickly placed on our table.

I tried out the chicken feet, spare ribs, siu mai and found them all fairly tasty.

crystal shrimp (har gow)

crystal shrimp (har gow)

 

We also got siu mai’s favorite companion, har gow. The crystal shrimp were in danger of falling apart but nifty chopsticks work kept our meal going.

 

egg rolls

egg rolls

 

I wasn’t quick enough to snap a photo of the egg rolls before they got snipped. I liked these quite a bit but it’s hard to mess up fried food.

spinach dumplings

spinach dumplings

 

Bring on the dumplings. If it’s a dumpling, I want it. These with spinach and shrimp were nice.

tripe

tendon & brisket with noodles

 

At Top Island, I noticed they liked sneaking in little rolled up noodles. These were in the tendon and brisket I ordered. The tendon was good but the beef got a bit tough.

shrimp noodle rolls (cheung fun)

shrimp noodle rolls (cheung fun)

 

My friend at this point asked if everything was shrimp at dim sum. Not always but yes, it is when you eat with me. Sure, I could get the cheung fun (noodle rolls) with beef or BBQ pork but I like it with shrimp.

stuffed tofu

fish balls stuffed tofu

 

I spotted a new dim sum delight, the tofu bites topped with fish balls were quite good.

veggie dumplings

pork and veggie dumplings

 

I was pretty shocked to find I didn’t like these triangular shaped dumplings. Usually I love all dumplings but these were loosely filled with diced veggies and a tiny bit of pork. They weren’t good and I’d skip these next time.

daikon cake

daikon cake

 

This was probably my favorite dish of the day. I always love a good grilled daikon cake — even if all the dim sum lady is doing is reheating the cakes but it’s the idea it’s being freshly grilled.

lotus wrapped sticky rice

lotus wrapped sticky rice

 

I didn’t have room to try the lotus wrapped sticky rice but friends liked it.

I was stalking the egg tarts cart but none were to be found. I even got a lazy wave from a dim sum lady that could be interpreted as, “bitch, please.” But I forgive them. The great thing about carts is your dim sum can be different every time. Something I miss when going to a place where you order off a menu like the newish Shi Hai or perennial favorites King Hua or Lunasia.

If you are looking for dim sum restaurants with carts, Top Island wouldn’t be a bad choice but I rather go to Atlantic Seafood, NBC or 888.

Top Island Seafood Restaurant

740 E Valley Blvd., Alhambra, CA 91801  —  (626) 300-9898
 
© The Minty 2015

 

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