Dean Sin World
306 N. Garfield Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754
With a three day weekend coming up, I have been making plans to go to LA to visit old favorites and try out new places. Then I read Kirk of mmm-yoso's post on Dean Sin World, which can be found here, and I knew I had to make an emergency extra trip to LA. I simply could not wait another week. (When it comes to food, I have no self-restraint.)
I had first read about Dean Sin World from Cathy the gastronomer, which you can read about here. Dumplings, Lion's Head Meatball Soup, Beef Noodle Soup, Wine brew. These are some of my favorite foods and her post had me salivating. Dean Sin World was on my list of places to visit after seeing her post.
When we arrived, Boyfriend kept asking me if we were at the right place. I told him we were. He kept pointing to the "bakery" written on the sign. I was surprised about how small Dean Sin World was. While Kirk and Cathy had both mentioned that it was small, from their pictures, it didn't look that tiny. But it is. It's more like a dumpling stand that has managed to squeeze in some tiny tables in it's spare space. The restaurant is run by a few women.
I forgot to take a picture of the menu, but you can find it through mmm-yoso's and gastronomy's posts. In Kirk's post, I had seen pictures of a handwritten chinese menu, containing some of the foods I was really interested in trying like the beef noodle soup. The whiteboard was blank when I was there. I was slightly panicked, but luckily they still had all the dishes I wanted to try.
After placing our order, the lady taking our order asked if we wanted tea or water. I translated for Boyfriend and asked him if he wanted tea or water. Boyfriend then replied with "cha" (the chinese word for tea). The woman was surprised, commenting that Boyfriend could speak chinese. No one was more surprised than me though. I've taught him a few words over the years. But this was the first time I'd heard him utter a word I didn't teach him. I guess he has been paying attention when we dine out!
Our hot teas were served in styrofoam cups. We also used wooden take-out type chopsticks and plastic spoons. This was definitely a bare basics type of spot.
We were give some complimentary peanuts seasoned with seaweed. I liked them, but Boyfriend doesn't like the seaweed taste. There was a good amount of seaweed taste and they weren't too salty.
First to arrive was our beef noodle soup.
The sun was shining into our food, so I wasn't able to get a great picture. The broth was a deep reddish brown (though it looks lighter in the picture). I thought it was very flavorful. I think the beef taste in the broth could have been slightly stronger, but it was still a really tasty broth. There were some sprinkling of pickled vegetables, but it didn't cause the broth to be sour, which I liked. I also liked that the beef was lean and didn't have too much fat and tendons on it, and it was still very tender. The one criticism of the dish for me were the noodles. I like chewy noodles, and the ones here were your standard non-chewy noodles.
Overall, Boyfriend and I really enjoyed the beef noodle soup and would definitely order it again.
Next came our leek and pork dumplings.
The dumpling skin had a slightly thick and chewy texture, evident of a good handmade skin. The inside had a good amount of chives/leeks, which I was happy to see. There was also a lot of of juice inside each dumpling. I was a bit disappointed with the meat though. I personally like a bigger chunk of meat in my dumplings. I also like my meat to have lots of different ingredients. When I make dumplings, I put water chestnuts, garlic, various sauces, shrimp, vegetables, etc. I would have liked to put my filling into the Dean Sin World's dumpling skins.
Next came our Sheng Jien Bao.
It was Kirk's pictures of his glistening white Sheng Jian Bao that pushed me over the edge about visiting Dean Sin World right away. On Kirk and Cathy's visits, their Sheng Jian Bao came out glistening white with black sesame seeds on top. Ours were glistening as well, but there weren't many sesame seeds. Sheng Jian Bao have a thick doughy texture. The inside has some pork filling. The bottom was pan fried and crispy. I enjoyed them, but I don't know much about how they are supposed to taste because I don't have much experience with them.
We ended our meal with the wine brew.
The wine brew was served with small glutinous rice balls filled with sweet black sesame filling. I liked the rice balls, but the wine brew needed a lot more sugar. I don't like my wine brew to be super sweet, but Dean Sin World's wasn't sweet at all.
I really wanted to try the Lion's Head Soup. Lion's Head is the name given to large, pork meatballs. Since there were only two of us, we simply didn't have room. I'll have to try it next time. There is a board with pictures of some of their specials not on the menu, which include pictures of the beef noodle soup and Lion's Head soup. They also have a menu of their frozen dumplings.
We decided to get a bag of cabbage and pork dumplings and a bag of frozen Lion's Head meatballs to take back.
Dean Sin World has really cheap prices and the ladies running the place are pretty friendly. We'll probably be back to pick up some frozen dumplings, try their Lion's Head soup, and get their beef noodle soup again.
One other note. When I left Kirk a comment that I was planning on visiting Dean Sin World, he replied with this: "A word
about maximizing your trip in the area – Yungui Garden, Dean Sin World,
Giang Nan, Qing Dao Bread Food, and Mama's Lu are all within a block.
And I know I've missed a few… like Ding's…" This comment had me laughing. Because if it were up to me, a trip to LA would mean starting early in the morning and making several stops for many mini meals, before heading back to SD. But unfortunately (or fortunately?), Boyfriend and the rest of my family isn't as crazy about eating as me. When I talk about food or food trips, they often give me looks that I'm crazy. Kirk's comment was justification that there are others that eat like me. =)
I wasn't able to visit all the other places nearby on this trip, though they are definitely on my list. I was able to get Boyfriend to make a few more stops in Arcadia and Little Tokyo though.