Monday, March 16, 2009

VIP Harbor Seafood Restaurant

I had thought dimsum on the westside was almost completely nonexistent, but then I was taken to VIP Harbor Seafood by my coworker Kevin a few years back. I was pleasantly surprised - cart service, Cantonese speakers and lots and lots of shrimp...and it took me this long to go back and do a proper review of the place! A dimsum craving hit both me and Daphne, and we headed there to use a restaurant.com coupon. Here's some of the stuff we got:
VIP Harbor Seafood
My best guess was that these were supposed to be Xiao long baos, but these dumplings pretty much had no soup in them, so I'm just going to say these were pork dumplings. They were alright, but everything was pretty soggy. The filling wasn't horribly memorable but filled a dumpling craving.
VIP Harbor Seafood
Next up, Pork siu mai, one of my "must haves" when I have dim sum. These were not too shabby at all. Good sized, lots of meaty filling, these fared much better than the fake xiao long baos.
VIP Harbor Seafood
The other must have in my dimsum meal, Shrimp dumplings - har gao. These were good! The translucent wrapper was not too thick, which, I was told by my grandpa, is an indication of a "skilled dumpling maker". A dunk in some chinese hot mustard, a bit of soy sauce, and I'm tasting a bit of my childhood.
VIP Harbor Seafood
And what's dimsum without a bit of fried stuff? On one of the carts, there was a plate of Wu gok- fried taro crispy dumplings. I love how the fried outside is wafer thin crispy, nestling the bit of taro meat filling on the inside. This fried dumpling is all about the fried texture...how do they fry these? What are they made of? I have no idea but I'm happy to eat them.
VIP Harbor Seafood
This is my dessert of choice, Dan Taat-Egg tarts, but we got these before the end of our meal anyway. These could have been better - a bit overcooked, I like the eggy part to be almost a bit underdone, so when I bite into the delicate tart part, the insides spill out...this was definitely not the case here. It filled a craving but I've definitely had better.
VIP Harbor Seafood
Turnip pancakes were next. I think these are quite filling (the turnip paste is heavy!), but Daphne was curious about them. They weren't bad, but I like these to be really hot and crisp, which these were not. A lot of other dimsum places I've been to serve this dish from a specialized cart, that fries them to hot crispy perfection, tableside. Not the case here, they just came on a plate, amongst other choices on a cart. Eh.
VIP Harbor Seafood
Sticky rice in lotus leaf. I think Daphne and I were really gunning for these, and were really glad to find they had them. Really comforting dimsum food, the sticky rice encases a meaty mushroomy filling, with one duck egg yolk inside. So very good.
VIP Harbor Seafood
Another favorite - Rice noodle, with shrimp. The sweet soy mixture that they pour over the rolled noodles is what really makes this dish, although the slippery thin rice noodle is just a joy to eat. More shrimp, which I was a fan of. I'd get this over and over again.

We ordered a few more things that weren't pictured, to go - I got some sesame balls for Owen, which one of the cart ladies was nice enough to go to the kitchen to get for me, when I asked her if they had any. Nice and freshly fried, the insides were filled with sweet white bean paste that Owen was happy to eat later.

The service was actually very good, parking was forced valet but the lot was small so I was glad to not have to fight for a spot. A great option for dimsum on the westside, which is so very lacking in good Chinese food.



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