Dim Sum Express - Monterey Park
You know what’s the best kind of dim sum? The kind you don’t have to wait in line for. This place--which has been around longer than I can remember--is where I go for no-wait dim sum. For years and years, it has been serving impatient people like me har gow (shrimp dumplings), cha sui bao (steamed buns stuffed with ruddy Chinese BBQ pork), and shu mai (pork dumplings) in the time it takes for McDonald’s to give you your French fries.
It’s appropriately called Dim Sum Express and it’s quite literally a shack in the middle of the street. It has two small windows: One where you order the dim sum, another where you pick it up.
I must warn you that this is no-frills dim sum. This is dim sum where delicateness and finesse is eschewed for girth and value. The shu mai is sold by the piece at slightly less than a buck. Eat two and you’ve consumed about the equivalent of three McRibs' worth of pork. Beneath the thick (and not particularly tender) translucent skin of the har gow, you find four shrimp compacted into a tight sphere as dense as a golf ball.
The best deal is the combo plate that has two of nearly everything they have for about $10. It feeds two people and includes the baked BBQ pork tarts, egg custard tarts, egg rolls, shu mais, har gows, and the hom sui gok (deep-fried glutinous rice dumplings)--the best thing they make. They’re shaped like Nerf footballs, almost as big as one, and filled with a smidge of minced pork. And when you bite into one you meet a lacy crust that crunches like a breakfast hash brown and then the chewy interior of mochi.
You take it all home, brew a mug of tea, and enjoy it all with the knowledge that there are probably still people waiting in line to get into Ocean Star as you finish your last crumb.
Dim Sum Express
326 N Garfield Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754
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