Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ocean Star - Dim Sum

Dim Sum is one of my favorite types of meals. I love the variety of flavors, textures and cooking techniques. Ocean Star is the place I've been frequenting lately. On this trip I went with a few friends and all of us were completely satisfied.

We arrived at approximately 10:50, which beat the rush which starts around 12:30. Ocean Star like many Dim Sum restaurants is a large banquet style restaurant. The large room can be divided into smaller rooms with separators. On this day, there was a memorial service which took up about half the restaurant.

As we were seated the carts started arriving immediately. The first cart to visit our table had all the classic items, Shrimp Har Gow, Pork Shumai, Pork Spare ribs and Stewed Chicken feet, we got one of each. I was so hungry, I forgot to take pictures before we attacked each dish. A delicious start and to my amazement, the chicken feet which are an acquired taste, were gobble-up. This group was ready and willing to try anything, which we'll learn more about later. We passed up many of the more filling items like, Steamed Pork Buns and many of the savory pasteries. Next we order Steamed Chinese Broccoli, Fried Shrimp Dumplings, and Soy Sauce Chicken, this was round 2.

The carts seemed to be coming by less often, but in actuality the restaurant was filling up and they just had more tables to visit. As we talked and scanned the other options we waited until something special caught our eyes. Our appetites had been fulfilled, but we wanted more. The next round brought Steamed Chive Dumplings, Crab filled Har Gow and the infamous Cubed Pigs Blood with organs. I had never tried the Pigs Blood so it was more of a challenge to try something new. It is served in a bowl with Pig skin, Tripe and a boiled root vegetable. It can look intimidating but not for this table, we had some real adventurers. The Cubed Pigs blood had the texture of very firm tofu and tasted like a mild liver. Overall it was pretty uneventful, the tripe was delicious. I was impressed that everyone tried with barely any prodding.

We ended with some sweet items, Egg Custard Tarts, Sesame Rice Balls and another new item I've never had, they were Sweet rice balls covered with toasted Almonds. Inside had a custard like liquid that was incredible. Overall the meal was great. And we did it right, we took our time, tried several new things and had great conversation.

Since we traveled all the way to Monterey Park, I have to visit the Chinese market. I bought some noodles and misc items. But we were not finished. Near the market, there is a Vietnamese sandwich shop and my friend had never had a Bánh mì. These our the best deals in town, a freshly made sandwich made with your choice on ingredients on a fresh baked French Baguette. I ordered a few to take home and we had a sandwich at the shop. about being full. What a wonderful day.

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