Better Off Selling Cars - Longo Seafood + A Dim Sum Journey - China Red, Sea Harbour, Elite, Lunasia, Empress Harbour [Thoughts + Pics]



Thanks as always for the in-depth reporting. It never ceases to amaze me how some restaurant owners would think that a large LED screen TV smack in the middle of the dining room would somehow equate with class.


I was just at Longo this weekend and it was pretty bad…especially the rice noodle rolls. My favorite rice noodle rolls are from HK Cafe in Monterey Park. Non of the dim sum places here come to to their creamy and silky smooth rendition. :drooling_face:

As far as dim sum goes, Dragon Beaux doesn’t come close to the high end HK ones which might just be $20 - $30 more expensive. But if you’re talking about a random neighborhood dim sum joint in HK, they aren’t necessarily any better than Longo either…it might very well be worse.

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I like Sea Harbour, too. My Mom really enjoyed our lunch there a while back.
How you feel about Longo and Lunasia is how I feel about King Hua. I wasn’t a fan of the service there in the few visits I made, and the dim sum wasn’t good enough to overcome subpar service.
Thanks for another epic post, @Chowseeker1999!

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Oh, thanks for the tip @moonboy403. Can’t wait to try out HK Cafe next time we’re in the area. Thanks. :slight_smile:

we’ve always enjoyed our meals at lunasia, including one from early in january (that i have not written up yet). that one came less than a month after some pretty good dim sum meals in hong kong for what it’s worth.

really liked our one meal at china red some years ago. but it adds too much to the drive over going to elite/sea harbour/lunasia.


We had dim sum at Elite some years ago and will always remember they had a duck tongue dish that was super. Saw another table with it so we got.

Great roundup. Instead of the egg tart, try the crystal cake for desert at Lunasia.

Thanks for the exhaustive and informative report. I will take issue with you on Longo’s rice noodle rolls. They are great and I and my family and friends love them. We usually order two or three varieties every time we go. Their rice noodle rolls are not the standard flat Hong Kong style that we’ve been used to. Rather I’ve been told they are Guangzhou style, long and almost stringy and very soft. So comparing them to the cheung fan at all the other dim sum places is a case of apples and oranges. We think their house special rice noodle rolls with bits of pork belly are to die for. Also, another great item is the oatmeal bun, though admittedly some people can’t get used to sweet oatmeal in a bun. Now clearly, Longo is a cut blow where they were a year ago and is no longer our go to dim sum destination. But there’s still a lot to like there.

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As always, your impressive coverage sets a high bar. We tried Longo last summer and were pretty disappointed as well. No one in our group of six has mentioned wanting to return.

We’ve been to Sea Harbour two or three times since Longo and feel it’s a far better experience. With that said, we feel Sea Harbour isn’t as good in general as in the past.

It’s sad to see pork being “called in” like what you experienced. Cantonese places not showing pork respect is a travesty.


Hey Dave, even after Googling Guangzhou style, I still can’t find anything resembling what Longo’s offering…a dense and thick glob of mess. Can you point us in the right direction?

i regret that you didn’t make it to king hua as i would have been interested to hear your take. i loved them 5-6 years ago but something changed and sea harbor & china red became the only two where price point to quality remained the highest IMO. i have never liked lunasia. style over substance is one way to put it, but i found it jarring that you never hear a single syllable of cantonese spoken there by the staff nor from the clientele. it’s almost as if they want to be the DTF of dim sum.


a part of this strikes a chord. at our recent meal at lunasia when i asked our english speaking server if they had chiu chow dumplings he did not know what i was talking about (either by name or description).

the irony is that i moved recently (yes, again) and i can now walk to lunasia if i wanted to.

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I’ve been to Lunasia several times with a friend who speaks Cantonese to the staff. We always seem to get better tea.

that’s funny.

decades ago, i took a taiwanese girl to sam woo. i ordered in bad cantonese. she tried to order the same thing in mandarin. i still got my order 10 minutes before she did.

i didn’t know it at the time, but the person who took my order was a cousin by marriage. we figured it out when the aunt died and we saw each other at the funeral.

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Auntie PIng’s Kitchen in El Monte also serves the Guangzhou cheung fun. This is what theirs looks like and notice how it becomes layered.

Is it supposed to look like a wringed towel?

That’s a good way to describe it. The first time I saw it was at Longo’s takeout when they first opened and I couldn’t get in the main dining room, and I thought it had been shoddily prepared because some of the filling was visible on the outside of the rice noodle.

Again: So it’s supposed to look that way?