NBC Seafood - Monterey Park
While every other restaurant these days purport to do "small plates" that are "perfect for sharing", I would argue that there isn't a better place for friendly get togethers than a dim sum restaurant.
Think of it. You don't have to fuss with a menu. You just point and BAM, within minutes your table is crowded with plates of bite-sized morsels that are, yes, "perfect for sharing". And then there's the tea, which, in my opinion, is the best beverage for social gatherings. You pour it for each other. It aids digestion. It keeps you awake and alert.
So when a group of old college friends and I decided to reunite recently, it was a no brainer: it had to be dim sum.
We agreed on NBC Seafood, but had a good laugh when one of my friends didn't check the e-mail before leaving home and ended up at ABC Seafood.
"It IS confusing," I told him when he finally made it. "There are dim sum restaurants called CBS, ABC, and NBC. Let's just be glad there isn't one called FOX!"
We ordered all the favorites: tripe in silky ginger gravy, chicken feet, translucent har gow, and meaty shu mai.
NBC's cheongfun, rice noodle rolls filled with minced beef, could've been a little more delicate; but the zongzi, wrapped leafy parcels of glutinous rice and meat, were aromatic and filling.
I could say that the best part of this dim sum lunch was the impeccably fresh and crisp haam sui gau (fried glutinous rice dumplings) and the wu gok (fried taro puffs), but really it was the chance to catch up with friends with whom I spent the better part of my twenties.
We drank cup after cup of the tea, talked about our families, our jobs, that post-graduation cross-country road trip we took to Florida, and the fact that two decades went by in a blink.
404 S Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
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