Last weekend we decided to check out Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant’s 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 haven’t ever eaten the sticky rice with chicken wrapped in lotus leaves (Lo mai gai), then this is what it looks like.
Tip for beginners: don’t eat the leaf.
Unwrapped, this is what it looks like – sticky rice steamed with bits of chicken and sometimes Chinese sausage, pork, or beef, and in this instance an egg yolk too.
It’s pretty much a meal in itself. I like to order this every time I get dim sum, though it’s pretty filling. The sticky rice had enough flavor from being steamed with the meat, though it could’ve had more. I would’ve liked it if they included Chinese sausage along with bits of chicken, or at least bits of fatty pork. That would’ve given the extra bit of richness the dish was slightly lacking. I’d give this dish a 6 out of 10.
Next came what looked like a deconstructed Siu Mai. It didn’t 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). I’d give this dish a 7/10.
Since we didn’t see any Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) 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. :P
I’d 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. It’s happened to you before, hasn’t 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, we’re pleasantly surprised. Other times, we just don’t feel satisfied after a meal.
I’m sorry that I can’t 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, I’d appreciate it. :) I can’t rate it either, since it wouldn’t be fair.
We saw mango pudding in the dessert cart and ordered it right away. Even though we weren’t done with ordering other items. I guess we were afraid the dessert cart wouldn’t swing around again. I have a weakness for mango-anything. Even if I’m 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 I’ve eaten at, so I’d give it an 8/10.
It finally came!!! The har gow finally made it’s way around to our table!!! Of course we’re 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 before…
They came out just steamed, juicy, plump, and sweet in a delicately thin rice wrapper that wasn’t 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 I’m not thinking straight, since I had to wait for them so long. But I’d give this an 8.5/10.
Because I’m 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. I’d give it a 7/10.
In conclusion, Emerald is a good place for your dim sum fix if you’re in the San Diego area. Personally, I wish it didn’t take so long for the carts to get around to us, but that’s 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 it’s 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