Enlighten Bistro 168 Has The Best Dim Sum In The San Gabriel Valley

I’m sure many of you are scratching your heads since few of you have heard of Enlighten Bistro 168. It’s currently in soft opening in the old Marie Callender’s at 820 S. Baldwin in Arcadia, four blocks up from Chef Tony. I will caveat that it’s in soft opening, having been open only a couple of weeks, with what might be an abbreviated menu, and I only had a chance to try six dishes, but I would be surprised that when the smoke clears this isn’t the best dim sum in town. As big of a cheerleader as I am for Los Angeles having the best Chinese food in the country, the one area where we fall short is dim sum, where there are several dim sum operations there which I prefer to anything here in Los Angeles. In this regard, Enlighten Bistro is much more reminiscent to me of Bay Area dim sum rather than San Gabriel Valley.

This is their golden har gow, their equivalent to the squid ink shrimp dumpling with gold leaf, and which conservatively is as good as, if not better than Chef Tony’s.

Snow cap bbq pork bun a.k.a. crispy baked bbq pork bun, also known as Tim Ho Wan buns. My absolute favorite Chinese dish right now, and the best version in Los Angeles.

Strangely the morel stuffed mushrooms have the mushroom on top, rather than on the bottom. Stuffing seems to be a combination of fish and fish paste.

You may be familiar with crispy shrimp rolls. Enlighten Bistro goes one further with crispy lobster rolls.

This may look like an ordinary beef rice noodle roll, except that the beef is ground instead of being minced. Oh, and it’s made wagyu beef. Pricey though at $12.

Finally, the pumpkin sesame ball may not look like anything, but it’s excellent.

Even though it’s just in soft opening, Enlighten Bistro is running a full house. It’s not as big as the other dim sum palaces so I can see this becoming a tough ticket very quickly at lunchtime.


Comparable to Dragon Beaux? Any idea where the chef is from?

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Well not like Dragon Beaux or Palatte yet due to the shorter menu. We’ll have to see how this plays out in the upcoming months.


Thanks for the heads up! Need to get mi self here asap before the crowds.

I know this is the wrong thread for this but since everyone is here - any specialties or anything particularly noteworthy at Dragon Beaux? I’m gonna be in the area soon.

Dragon Beaux offers more variety but not necessarily better execution across the board than SGV dim sum restaursants IMO.

On another note, I’m gonna try to hit up Enlighten Bistro 168 tomorrow to see what the fuss is about! Yelp pictures look decent.


Paging @J_L . He hinted at a write up last week and was the first to mention Enlighten Bistro. He said it was much better than Chef Tony for what it’s worth. Sounds like a promising new entrant into the dim sum game.


roasted pork belly
abalone tart

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Interestingly the menu sheet at Enlighten Bistro has the abalone tart, too, but it was manually crossed out.

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Perhaps they were out that day? I see pictures of the abalone tart on Yelp.

Agree with @chandavkl - Dim sum made with execution and delicacy.


on a ten-point scale a la olympic gymnastics, what would Enlighten score?
(and for comparison, what would Sea Harbour and Koi Palace score?)

Any outdoor seating?

Will be back in town next week and staying 2 weeks. When I booked my trip, I had high hopes of dining comfortably in LA. With omicron blowing up, I’m not so keen with dining indoors.


Very little outdoor dining at Chinese restaurants in the SGV these days. Not enough manpower to work both inside and outside.


I would switch the scale so 10 would be the best dim sum in the US. Otherwise the scale would be meaningless because Hong Kong dim sum is so much better. That would give 10 to Dragon Beaux and Palatte, 9 to HL Peninsula, projecting 8 to Enlighten and 7 to Sea Harbour, Lunasia and Chef Tony Arcadia.


the good

the bad


Tried out 17 items today. It was a hit and miss experience for me and not quite on the same level as other hard hitters in SGV when it comes to execution. Overall, it’ll a good addition to that part of town.


Looks badly oversteamed. They also lacked chopped bamboo shoots that are in traditional har gow but not a single dim sum restaurant I’ve tried in the states have it anyway.


The Ugli:



Food critic Kristie Hang is also impressed with Enlighten Bistro 168. https://twitter.com/KristieHang/status/1473404960779825152. https://twitter.com/KristieHang/status/1473404960779825152

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