On a recent trip to Los Angeles, we stopped by East Gourmet Seafood Restaurant for their dim sum. There are many options for dim sum in the area, but the reason we chose this place was because of their lobster special.

With a minimum order of $15, you can order a whole lobster with noodles for only $4.99. That’s cheaper than buying your own lobster and cooking the dish yourself. The deal is only between 11am to 3 pm and is advertised on a banner in the front. It’s not clear how long the deal runs until but I believe they’ve done variations of this deal for a while now.

The restaurant is quite spacious, with lots of chandeliers and a stage for banquets. We heard that the wait gets pretty long after 11am, so we got there early to beat the crowd. Of course once we finished, we then had to wait around for the lobster deal. We asked the waiter about it and he reinforced the 11am rule. Right before 11, he started marking off people’s tabs. I was really impressed with his memory. Then about 5 minutes after 11am, plates and plates of lobster began arriving. I think just about every table in the restaurant ordered it.

The dim sum was actually served old school, with ladies pushing around carts. That’s quite rare now in LA, with most restaurants using the ordering off of a menu system instead. The dishes were pretty cheap, around $2 a plate.

Scallop Dumplings

Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow)

Egg Tarts

These arrived piping hot, which made them quite tasty. They were very popular and whenever a new batch came out, they were gone before the server had a chance to circle the restaurant.

I saw this photo of a bowl of macaroni and cheese that looked so perfectly smooth and glossy. It looked like it came out of a magazine. You know, like how you picture macaroni and cheese to look but yours never quite looks so nice.

So I immediately bookmarked the recipe, which uses a secret ingredient to get the smooth and glossy look. Can you guess what it is?

Noodle J-I

Finally, there is a spot in San Diego that serves some really good jajangmyeon (black bean sauce noodle). Located in the Zion market food court, Noodle J-I has been extremely popular since opening a few weeks ago.

They are most famous for their jajangmyeon and jjampong (spicy seafood noodle soup). Most of the versions of jajangmyeon I’ve had in San Diego have been watery disappointments. Not only is Noodle J-I’s version flavorful and concentrated, but they use fresh made noodles (you can sort of see the enormous mixer in the back of the restaurant making the noodles), and the price isn’t bad either at $5.99 for a large bowl. The only downside? The wait.

Since its opening, there is a constant line on weekends. It doesn’t matter if you go early or late. They open at 11am. A little before 3pm, they cut off the ordering line. And they take a break between 3pm and 5pm (even though there sign says they are open 11 to 8). They then reopen for dinner where another line goes until close. They are quite slow at taking orders, which I think is done deliberately because of the sheer volume of orders they are getting. We came by a few times after it opened but were always unwilling to wait in line. Finally, we bit the bullet and got in line one Sunday.

It took about 20 minutes of waiting before it was our turn to order. Once we ordered, we were told the wait would be another 30 minutes for the food. So we took our number (which is then displayed electronically when your food is ready) and went to do some grocery shopping.

But I have to say, it was worth the wait. One bite in and I was scarfing down the noodles as fast as I could. It was not a pretty sight.