Saturday, April 21, 2007
There's a kind of frenetic energy that comes with eating dim sum in Monterey Park. It stems from the collective sounds of chatty friends, energetic toddlers and two-dozen metal carts clanking their way around the room. Truthfully, it makes me nervous being surrounded by 2,000 people, all of them searching for the waiter with the Chinese broccoli. That's why I rely on the Chinese-proficient friend to do all the talking. Get the broccoli... and that shrimp-noodle-thingie. Ask for more tea. No chicken feet, please!
I found Mikey in the basement this morning looking a little pale. (He's chained to the wall.) His spirits have been low from watching way too much Virginia Tech TV. So I drove him to meet some friends for 11 a.m. dim sum at Ocean Star in Monterey Park. Yes, I know what you're thinking, but for the record it is not cannibalistic for one pork bun to eat another. Think of it more like The Blob: when you come into contact with another one you simply grow bigger.
Mikey was having a grand 'ol time flirting with the steamed buns which were so hot they were popping out of their shells. (Saucy, pork-filled goodness, baby.) Meanwhile, I was trying to distance myself from the room's frenetic energy because it gets me into the mode of grabbing everything in sight. Even the chicken feet.
Ocean Star has always been the good, reliable outlet for dim sum. I have my favorite dishes like har gow (shrimp dumplings) and cha siu bao (pork buns), but I've otherwise never been too picky. This time around I discovered something new: eggplant topped with a succulent and crispy mixture of chopped shrimp, fish paste and toasted bread crumbs. Whereas most items are purely meat and carbs, this one at least allows for a slight ease of mind.
For me, the trick is to pace myself. Sample one of each and move on. More good stuff is on its way so it does no good to grab for that fifth helping of siu mai. Save room for the egg tarts, the unofficial meal-closer.
Dim sum can be a self-loathing whirlwind of a meal, but it's a good practice of mind over matter. In due time, you too can enjoy your food without the coma.
145 N Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
I don't know about you but Monterey Park is a far trek from home. That's why I like going for a foot massage afterward. They're all over the area around Valley Blvd. and Del Mar., near San Gabriel Square. It's only $15 an hour (plus tip) and you get to choose from a bunch of big comfy recliners lined up wall to wall. Plus you get chrysanthemum tea. Try it!
In Other News...
KFC has been ordered to warn customers that their potato products contain high levels of a carcinogen called acrylamide. It's a byproduct that Swedish scientists discovered during a late-night binge fest in 2002. During a playful food fight, a chunk of KFC's mashbowl landed on one of their Petri dishes. On a whim, they took a look at it under their high-powered microscopes. Also, found in the sample: asbestos, fiberglass and a charred squirrel.
Read it here.
Psst.... Wanna see some amazing food photography? Look here.