So soon after my last visit? Yes! I love dim sum.
This time it was with my family, as a new year’s weekend brunch. We got there just as yum cha service was starting, and the first thing I noticed was that its first devoted customers were all Chinese families. That’s a good thing.
BBQ pork buns, pan fried beef and scallion pies, shrimp dumplings.
Shanghai soup dumplings, shrimp and chive dumplings, and mystery dumplings!
We also had baked egg custard tarts, but I guess I forgot to take a photo.
This large yum cha session was very filling, with leftovers, and cost about $15/person before tax and tip.
I didn’t think I had it in me to go out in this rainy weather, but some friends pinged to suggest dim sum at China Pavilion. Immediately, I realized this was the perfect weather for it. Because this weather makes me want to drink tea, and the dining experience that most English speakers mistakenly call dim sum is actually yum cha. Literally translated: drink tea.
The real intent of this Chinese brunch experience is to drink tea, as the dim sum is just the small plates of food that is supposed to accompany the tea, not the other way around. There are some minor protocols to observe for yum cha, all related to being gracious at the table, rather than greedy. The first, you must drink some tea before eating any food. Second, serve tea to others before yourself, always. Third, if tea is served to you, thank this person by tapping the table while your tea is being poured, using anywhere from one to three fingers, depending on the level of respect given to the server. Three fingers is the highest respect, as it symbolizes a head and shoulders of a kowtow, or bow.
Tea protocols addressed, it’s time to dig in! China Pavilion has an admirable selection of dim sum, much more than I was expecting. Fifty-one items, according to the menu. Honestly, I have avoided dim sum in this area, because I would reserve this treat for trips to the LA area or Bay area, which have large Asian communities to support a diverse range of wonderfully fresh dim sum in vast dining halls.
While people claim that “real” dim sum is served from roaming carts, it’s not uncommon in many restaurants for it to be ordered from a menu at the table and delivered by the wait staff. This is how China Pavilion does it, and the menu has photos and a simple description of everything they offer.
I was part of a group of four, we sampled about 10 items over two pots of tea, and this worked out to be about $15 a person, after tax and tip.
Below: Shanghai Steamed Dumpling, $4.25. These have a little soup on them, watch out, they’re hot.
Steamed BBQ Pork Bun, $3.50, an all time favorite.
Not pictured, due to them being massacred before I could get a photo:
My longtime favorites are the steamed bbq pork buns, the fried daikon and the lotus wrapped sticky rice, and China Pavilion did not disappoint.
Yum cha with dim sum service is weekends only, 11 am – 2 pm.
Gather up your foreign devil friends and family and come on down for yum cha and dim sum in Rosemead!
Gah, they had something like 50 different items available for dim sum on a Saturday, we were overwhelmed in that good sort of way.
Four people, sharing 15-18 dishes of mostly seafood dumplings, and it came to about $12/head. For reals! And the majority of us at the table were gweilo!
I cannot name all the items by their proper titles, but the dim sum involved a lot of seafood, pork, taro, and other vegetables.
We got lucky with the parking and zipped right into a spot.
The main difference we noticed here, compared to the dim sum eaten in, say, Hong Kong, is that the dim sum ladies weren’t yelling out their wares. And I am completely okay with that.
888 Seafood Restaurant