Last weekend we decided to check out Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurantâs dim sum selection. I really should start making a rating system. Out of a 10 I would have to rate this as a 7.
If you havenât ever eaten the sticky rice with chicken wrapped in lotus leaves (Lo mai gai), then this is what it looks like.
Tip for beginners: donât eat the leaf.
Unwrapped, this is what it looks like â sticky rice steamed with bits of chicken and sometimes Chinese sausage, pork, or beef, and in this instance an egg yolk too.
Itâs pretty much a meal in itself. I like to order this every time I get dim sum, though itâs pretty filling. The sticky rice had enough flavor from being steamed with the meat, though it couldâve had more. I wouldâve liked it if they included Chinese sausage along with bits of chicken, or at least bits of fatty pork. That wouldâve given the extra bit of richness the dish was slightly lacking.Â Iâd give this dish a 6 out of 10.
Next came what looked like a deconstructed Siu Mai. It didnât come with a wrapper around it! Interesting to say the least. This was what they called shrimp siu mai, with a giant shrimp steamed on top of a mixture of ground pork and mushrooms. I noticed the regular pork siu mai had a wrapper, but I guess they go sans wrapper for the shrimp variation here. Aside from all that, it was pretty good. I was a little disappointed that there were only two served per plate, and priced as one of the medium sized dishes (because of the shrimp I suppose). Iâd give this dish a 7/10.
Since we didnât see any Har Gow (shrimp dumplings)Â in the steamed carts that came rolling by, we broke down and ordered something that looked very similar to Har Gow. This tasted almost exactly the same as a Har Gow but wrapped differently, with a thicker doughy texture. It satisfied my urge for Har Gow, but then again, no Dim Sum is complete without Har Gow. 😛
Iâd give this Har Gow look-a-like a 7/10.
Next came the spring rolls. To all the authentic dim sum eaters: since this restaurant was very big, the steamed carts only came around to our table once in awhile, while the fried/baked carts came by every 2 seconds. We were hungry. Itâs happened to you before, hasnât it? And you get so impatient you give in and order all the fried stuff. Right? RIGHT??
The spring rolls were fried to a light golden flaky crispiness (though a bit greasy) with a filling of pork and bamboo shoots, and came with a sweet/sour dipping sauce. What can I say? Spring rolls are fried, and fried food is always tasty. At least they came out fresh and hot, as opposed to sitting on the cart for a long time. I give this an 7/10.
Chris ordered this because he thought it was turnip cake with a yellowish hue. Boy was he wrong. Boys and Girls: this is what happens when we get impatient. We start ordering things that look like other things. Sometimes, weâre pleasantly surprised. Other times, we just donât feel satisfied after a meal.
Iâm sorry that I canât give you a name for this dish. I have no clue what it is. It had a lightly sweet flavor, a gelatinous texture with bits of something crunchy in it, and I think it was pan fried. If someone can let me know what we ate, Iâd appreciate it. 🙂 I canât rate it either, since it wouldnât be fair.
We saw mango pudding in the dessert cart and ordered it right away. Even though we werenât done with ordering other items. I guess we were afraid the dessert cart wouldnât swing around again. I have a weakness for mango-anything. Even if Iâm stuffed full, I still manage to squeeze in mango pudding. This dish comes with an option of evaporated milk poured on top, which makes it extra creamy. The dish is pretty much the same in every dim sum restaurant Iâve eaten at, so Iâd give it an 8/10.
It finally came!!! The har gow finally made itâs way around to our table!!! Of course weâre too full to eat it, but we will anyway!! When we pointed at the wonderful, plump, juicy sweet shrimp dumplings the cart lady asked us how many dishes we wanted. I wish we had room to say 2. We only ordered one. If only it were 10, 15 minutes beforeâ¦
They came out just steamed, juicy, plump, and sweet in a delicately thin rice wrapper that wasnât too chewy. The shrimp was fresh, it was crunchy rather than mealy/gritty/pasty as you bit into it. They were also huge. Look at the size of them here. Maybe Iâm not thinking straight, since I had to wait for them so long. But Iâd give this an 8.5/10.
Because Iâm greedy, I also chose this item on the cart. I was told it was a Deep Fried Scallop Gow. Basically a dumpling with a mixture of shrimp, scallops in a won ton wrapper and deep fried. Nothing special. Just a quick fix for seafood. 6/10.
Lastly we ordered the turnip cake, probably out of spite because we ordered the unknown cake thing before. Turnip cake is mashed daikon radish mixture with bits of Chinese sausage and dried shrimp, steamed then pan fried. It was very good, as the pan frying brought out all the flavors. I wish it had a bit more Chinese sausage though. Iâd give it a 7/10.
In conclusion, Emerald is a good place for your dim sum fix if youâre in the San Diego area. Personally, I wish it didnât take so long for the carts to get around to us, but thatâs probably because the restaurant was so big, or because we were sitting in an unlucky spot. And it took over 30 minutes for Har Gow to make itâs way to us. Aside from that, the food is pretty good and I would come here again.
Pacific Gateway Plaza
3709 Convoy Street, Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92111