Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lunasia - 11/11/2012

500 West Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 308-3222

After hearing so much about Lunasia I finally decided to brave the long lines to see what all the hubbub was about. Despite arriving just before 11:00, there was already a crowd in the waiting area and we had to wait over an hour for a table to open up.

Spareribs Black Bean Sauce
The meat was fairly tender but there was a fair amount of fat which meant that despite despite being a bit light on the black beans the ribs bore a pretty good flavor nonetheless.

BBQ Pork Buns
Lunasia really excelled with their baked pork buns. The freshly baked bread was thin and delicate with a golden glaze and the cavity inside is completely stuffed with sweet BBQ pork.

Pork Dumpling
Like the preceeding buns these dumplings came stuffed full of seasoned pork. The skin was a touch too sweet but the fried glutinous rice had both a crisp exterior and dense toothsome interior.

Macao Egg Custard
High end dim-sum restaurants tend to eschew push carts in favor of ordering from a menu which wouldn't bother me but for their consistent inability to save the sweets for the end of the meal. The Macao egg custard wasn't the richest that I'd had but it was freshly baked with delightfully flaky crust.

Twin Sesame Balls
Another dessert staple, these dense sticky balls are filled with a sandy sweet lotus paste.

BBQ Pork Rice Noodle
For me this dish is all about balance. Many preparations, Lunasia's included, feature too much glutinous rice noodle which makes the dish taste bland despite the porcine filling and pool of soy sauce.

Steamed Chicken Feet
Despite having one of the more labor intensive and intricate preparations, the chicken feet tends to be one of the more consistent varieties of dim sum across various restaurants. The skin on the feet is fried, steamed, and stewed to a fleshy tenderness then drenched in a dark savory sweet sauce.

Beef Chow Fun Dry Style
Though Lunasia is known for its dim sum, we wanted to try some of their regular dishes as well. Though the beef was a touch gristly, the noodles were nicely cooked their chewy supple texture was augmented with a weighty wok-fired char.

Jumbo Shrimp Har Gow
Har Gow is often used as the yardstick to measure a chef's skill. Ideally the skin is thin and translucent but strong enough to hold the filling without breaking or sticking. Unfortunately Lunasia's fell short on this account though the texture of the shrimp was spot on.

Supreme Beef Balls
Vaguely disturbing name aside these were actually pretty tasty. The meat has a spongy texture and is studded with bits of onion and cilantro giving the meat a herby twang.

Though there were some nitpicks, I came away very impressed with Lunasia's dim sum service which certainly deserves its place among the SGV's elite.


Darin said...

It is pretty unfortunate that the sweet items always seem to come out towards the beginning when ordering off the menu. I try to refrain from ordering them in the first wave, saving them for later...but sometimes I get too full and miss out.

Epicuryan said...

Ah... first world problems my friend. Im kind of sad I missed out on the Foie Gras dumplings.

BTW I'm thankful you came back for the holidays. Seeing pictures from all your awesome meals in Japan was making me so damn jealous

NicoleM said...

I love sticky balls.

Epicuryan said...

That sounds like a gender specific taste.