SGV: Dim Sum at Tong Tak House Arcadia
In the last few years, I’ve found out about new restaurants via Instagram. And recently pictures from a new dim sum spot in the San Gabriel Valley caught my eye. I checked out Tong Tak House in Arcadia for dim sum twice in the last couple of months.
It’s a beautiful restaurant and is very spacious once you get inside. There’s almost no wait and we were seated within minutes even during the busy Mother’s Day weekend.
You order from a check list which means things are easy breezy. I do miss the carts but I like fresh food more.
We got the usual dim sum dishes like siu mai and har gow. I liked both though I give the edge to the siu mai. They were very juicy. And I appreciated they weren’t the mega huge ones some of the local San Gabriel Valley spots have been trotting out in the last decade or so. The size of these dumplings gave me all sorts of nostalgic feelings.
And then we tried some new things like sea cucumber wrapped in napa cabbage. I found the cabbage to still be a little raw but interesting concept. Sea cucumber tends to be flavorless so it picked up some minimal flavor being wrapped in cabbage. I’d skip these next time.
I enjoyed the egg rolls. Some might thing they’re “too American” to get egg rolls but I grew up eating them and I’m not going to stop now.
The other new item we tried were the shrimp basil dumplings. I found the wrappers very thick. And you must really like basil (I do) to love these.
We had the lotus wrapped sticky rice aka loh mai gai. There wasn’t too much filling so while the rice was good, I’d just get more dumplings.
I found the leeks dumplings like the basil ones to be exactly like their named ingredients. You’ll have to LOVE leeks to appreciate these.
Of course I got chicken feet. I don’t care if no one else eats them, their my baseline. I liked them but I am wary of the trend of serving less chicken feet per order.
The tripe was also very good though just one step down from my favorite Lunasia.
I found the shrimp cheung fun to be a little bit bizarre. The two huge stalks of Chinese broccoli (gai lan) were unnecessary and only highlighted how little of the dish you got. Usually dim sum houses give you three stacks of the stuffed noodles (kind of like manicotti).
I almost forgot to order my fave bean curd wrapped dumplings. These came with a spoon in case you’re inspired to drink the broth (please!).
Our favorite dumplings turned out to be the chiu chow fun gor or Chiu Chow dumplings. Just perfect fillings and good wrappers.
I am starting to wonder about my childhood. I had the best taro puffs (wor gok) growing up and now lately they are oily, cold and just not fun to eat. I will now have to hunt for the best ones. Wish me luck!
Over at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood, my favorite dish are the Shanghai buns aka sheng jian bao. These were fine. I had skipped the xiao long bao because I never think those soup dumplings are good at dim sum places and now I’ll order these bao only at Shanghainese spots. Also, the xiao long bao are called housemade pork dumplings at Tong Tak if you do want try them.
On both visits, I ordered the tong choy as our greens. I no longer feel I have to get gai lan and am happy with my new allegiance to the hollow stem veggies.
And finally, we have the egg tarts, my favorite Chinese dessert.
We got the Macau version but these weren’t very warm and now I will have to go back to Lunasia to get my favorite ones.
Here’s my new ranking of my top five dim sum spots in San Gabriel Valley:
- Shanghai No. 1 Seafood
- King Hua
- Longo Seafood
- Tong Tak
I did like how there was virtually no wait, the service was good by SGV standards and food was very good. I will now have to return to Elite and Sea Harbour to figure out if they are still good.
Tong Tak House
1271 S Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007 — (626) 638-3388
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