4th of July Dimsum

In the past we’ve gotten into King Hua pretty easily (no wait). How much of a pain is Sea Harbour (or Elite) likely to be? And relatedly, what is the word these days on dimsum at Shanghai No. 1?

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About a month ago, Elite (@ around 1PM) was not crowded at all. Maybe one party outside. NBC was significantly more crowded. Could have been a fluke, I cannot speak to the regularity of their crowds. I can say that on the weekends, Shi Hai seems to always to packed, as is Sea Harbour. I think Sea Harbour is doable at earlier times.

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Sea Harbour’s M.O. has always been consistent on our visits. Het there before 1000 and you will be seated immediately.Get there at 1000 on any normal business day and you will be seated soon. Get there at 1015-1030 on and you will wait. The line gets pretty long after. Turnover can be sporadic depending on the size of the parties. Smaller groups tend to move faster.


I’d pass Shanghai no. 1, not good

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We’ve eaten at Sea Harbour and Elite a number of times–I was curious particularly about 4th of July crowds. I would never try to go Sea Harbour on Christmas, for example, but not sure if it’s a similar story on 4th of July. We’d be arriving after noon as this outing will likely follow a visit to the family plot at the cemetery–always gets the appetite up!

Sea Harbour is forever crowded on weekends, double that on holiday weekends.

If you get there early enough 9:30 a.m. (or before 10 a.m. when they open), or so, you can beat the crowds, or late enough (like around 2 p.m.). Otherwise, expect a good 1.5 hour wait (depending on party size) on Monday.

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Thanks–we’ll probably hit Elite first and see what the lay of the land is.

Sounds like a good strategy. If Elite doesn’t work, you’re not far from King Hua.

I get to Sea Harbour about 30 minutes before they open and I always get in the first seating. Enjoy and have a great 4th!


Actually you kind of are.

Not in terms of distance but in terms of time. Going from Atlantic to Main St (or even if you take Fremont to Main St) is going to take you a good 15-20 minutes. Most likely more depending on the time on Monday the 4th.

If you’re going to play the dim sum hopscotch game starting with Elite as square one, you’re better off going north on Atlantic, hopping on the 10 fwy east and exiting Rosemead, which takes you right about on the door steps of Sea Harbour, and would take about just as long as it would take to get to King Hua, and most likely less time.

Chinese people are just crazy. Their idea of carpool is driving 4 cars to transport 5 people.

My concern for going to Sea Harbour after failing at Elite would be the guaranteed huge wait. King Hua at 1230 on Mother’s Day after failing at Sea Harbour was a 15-minute wait two years ago. I think it benefits the eater because it lies on the outer edge of the Chinese eatery universe.

True. The wait at King Hua is always less.

I just remembered that we actually went to to Elite first since we were coming from the Westside, since it was the closest “first string” dim sum option - one hour wait.

We proceeded to Sea Harbour - line wrapped around the side of the building - assumed fail here as well.

We proceeded to King Hua - 20-minute drive left us thinking we’d fail here too - thought we’d end up at Fosselman’s for lunch, but were surprised that King Hua told us 15 minute wait. YMMV

So, the call was changed at the line and we decided to do the cemetery polka after dim sum. Unfortunately, this seemed to put us in the worst of all possible worlds re dim sum crowds: arrival just after 11. Well, we tried it anyway and got to Elite at 11.15’ish. It looked bad from outside but I was told the wait would be 20 minutes for a party of five (mostly larger groups ahead of us) and in reality we were seated in 15 minutes. It’s not that they were not busy–it was hectic, but I think we arrived right when one big wave of early tables was clearing out.

And it was very good indeed. My mother-in-law, who has accompanied us on other occasions to Elite and Sea Harbour and China Red and King Hua, says Elite is the best of the dim sum houses we’ve taken her to and on the strength of today’s meal I would have to agree.

$88 with tax and tip (and leftovers) for three adults and two kids. Compare with $70 for two adults and two kids at Gjusta last night. Both meals were very good, and both are more or less equivalent drives from Koreatown, but if I had to choose one of the two for brunch I know which one it would be.


Good to hear everything worked out. Happy 4th!


cuz, #fuckyeahChina. :smiling_imp:

Well, it only took five weeks but I finally put up a fuller write-up of this meal on the blog: Dim Sum at Elite, Again (Los Angeles, July 2016) | My Annoying Opinions

Herewith the text portion of the review (pictures and evaluations of dishes are in a slideshow on the blog).

We skipped dim sum on our trip to L.A. last winter—this because we were going to be in Hong Kong a month later and it didn’t seem particularly urgent to eat dim sum in L.A. Now, of course, after five months in Minnesota, the opportunity of eating dim sum that is better than just acceptable was hard to pass up. I have to admit, however, that I was a little bit nervous: years of eating dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley has made it hard for me to get excited about dim sum in Minnesota (the best of which would be about third-tier in the SGV); would eating excellent dim sum in Hong Kong do the same to the SGV? Our meal at Lei Garden had been an order of magnitude better than any we’d ever eaten at Sea Harbour or Elite—would either of these places still do it for us? It was to one of these that we wanted to go, of course: they’re still the consensus top picks in the SGV. The fact that we were going to be eating on July 4 all but ruled Sea Harbour out. The waits can be 1-2 hours on regular weekends. Elite can be as crowded but for whatever reason we’ve always had luck getting in there, and so that’s where we decided to take our chances. How did it turn out? Read on.

Well, first of all, the wait was not as bad as we’d feared. It was crowded, with a lot of people waiting inside and out, but as luck would have it, we arrived at a time (11.15’ish) when a lot of medium-sized tables seemed to be clearing out and we only had to wait 15-20 minutes. So that part was good. And the food? Well, I am happy to report that while no one is going to mistake the dim sum served at Elite with that served at the upper echelon Hong Kong places, the quality is so far above the merely competent that our feelings about it re Hong Kong dim sum were not equivalent to our feelings about MN dim rum re SGV dim sum.

What did we get?

  • Seaweed “salad”
  • Spicy pig ear
  • Congee with pork and preserved egg
  • Shredded taro cake with dried scallop
  • Mini XLB
  • Pork and shrimp shiumai
  • Soy sauce chicken
  • Steamed turnip cake
  • Sticky rice in lotus leaf
  • Baked scallop and turnip cake
  • Egg tarts

Please click on an image below to launch a slideshow with captions and brief evaluations.

[ Dim Sum at Elite, Again (Los Angeles, July 2016) | My Annoying Opinions ]

All of this plus tax and tip came to $88 for three adults and two children. It was, as I said, quite good. My mother-in-law, who we’ve taken to a number of dim sum places in the SGV, always says she likes the food at Elite best—and on the strength of this meal I might have to agree. Everything was above average and a few items (the shiu mai, the soy sauce chicken, the baked scallop and turnip cake) were really excellent. This may have to tide us over till our next L.A trip.

Okay, I think I might take a detour back to Twin Cities food reports before finishing out the recent L.A. trip reports (a Koreatown report and dinner at Mori Sushi yet to come).

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20 minutes to get to king hua from elite? 20 minutes should be enough time to get from the 210 to the 60 in the WSGV (say, anything west of peck/myrtle, if you take atlantic, rosemead or myrtle/peck) at any time when i’d typically be going for dim sum.