3939 Rosemead Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 288-3939

I love dim sum. It’s one of the things I’m constantly craving and rarely get sick of. When I saw mmm-yoso’s posts on Sea Harbour restaurant and Elite Seafood restaurant, I was immediately drawn to the unique dim sum dishes offered at both places that are not the typical dim sum dishes found elsewhere. Both Seafood Harbour and Elite Seafood have taken the upscale dim sum route. Gone are the ladies with the carts. Instead, you order the dim sum dishes off the menu. The dim sum is a bit pricey, but there are a lot of items, many with expensive ingredients.

I finally got around to checking out one of the restaurants a few weekends ago. I had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to check out first, but I ultimately decided on Sea Harbour.

We arrived pretty late, and I was amazed that there was still such a long line of people waiting for dim sum. We waited about 20-30 minutes before grabbing a table.

Once seated, we were immediately presented with a couple of tea options.  Then we were given a menu and an ordering sheet. With over 100 items, it took us a while to decide what we wanted.

We ended up ordering a lot.  It was a bit of a special occasion and we had driven from San Diego, so why not? After we ordered, the waiter came back and asked “You know you ordered a lot right?” I hate when they ask that question.

Pork and shrimp shu mai

These were very plump, much bigger than the typical dim sum places, and topped with masago eggs.  Normally they are topped with some shavings of carrots for the color.

Scallop and shark fin dumpling.

This dish was so pretty. I wish I had my dslr on me to do it justice. This was one of my favorites as well. The bottom was filled with shrimp. The top was a scallop and then there were strands of shark fin on top and some masago eggs.

Shrimp dumpling

Again, this is an item that is usually found at dim sum. Except that these were much plumper than the ones I usually find and they were filled with shrimp. There were about three small-medium sized shrimp stuffed in each one.

Sticky rice ball with salted egg yolk. I was curious about this one. The shell was sticky and sweet, like mochi. I didn’t really taste the salted egg yolk though. Instead, the center was a creamy, yellow sweet filling. BF really liked this one.

Steamed tripe with XO sauce. I honestly didn’t taste the difference between this one and ones I’ve had previously. I couldn’t taste the XO sauce.

French style goose liver wontons. These were basically shrimp wontons with a small piece of liver in the middle.

The wontons were plump and full of shrimp and a tiny piece of liver was in the middle of each one. It was so tiny though you couldn’t really taste it.

Chestnut dumplings. Normally I’m a fan of chestnuts, but I didn’t particularly like the taste of these dumplings.

Coconut layer pudding

I loved how this dessert looked with the layering. And I really liked how the top layer has the flower petals inside. I believe the pudding is made with agar agar jelly. It wasn’t very sweet and was just right for me.

Date pudding.

I also enjoyed this agar agar jelly creation. Inside were the herbs you often find in a chinese herbal soup, but only the sweet ones like goji berries and dried longan, which are the ones I usually like so it was nice to eat it in this dessert form.

Fried fish paste balls. I was pretty disappointed with this. This was a special menu item. I could taste the fish paste, but the choice to deep fry this interfered with the taste and made it tough with a texture more like a fish ball.

Special dumpling with shark fin soup.

A small single bowl, filled with the biggest dumpling I’ve ever seen and a small piece of shark fin that is still intact, rather than broken up into strands. The dumpling was filled with seafood. The broth was very light. You could taste the shark fin, but the broth didn’t have much other flavor. I enjoyed the dumpling and the shark fin though.

Steamed shrimp paste stuffed in cucumbers

I really liked the sauce of this. It reminded me of the lobster/seafood sauce sometimes used at chinese restaurants.

Live carp fish congee.

I enjoy porridge but I’ve never had it with live carp. I’ve had live fish prepared at chinese restaurants before. If you enjoy eating fish, it’s an experience you must have. A live fish is freshly killed and cooked in a number of ways. Usually you can choose two or three methods of having the fish served. The first is almost always a fish broth made with the freshly killed fish. The taste is rich and heavenly. There is a such a difference in using a live fish and you can taste it in the broth and when eating the fish itself.  Anyhow, the live fish here gave the congee a rich fish flavor.

Pan fried spinach and pork bun.

I got these mainly because of the pretty green color. The bottom was pan fried, but you couldn’t tell because the bun was soft all over. If it weren’t for the brown golden edges at the bottom I would have thought the whole thing was just steamed. These were a lot oiler than I expected, and not my favorite.

Overall, it was a pretty good experience. We’ll have to go back again to try some more dishes. The service was very good. We were never more than a minute without a server nearby. The decor of the restaurant is somewhat rundown, which I found surprising given that it has taken an upscale route. I liked all the different dim sum choices and the ability to try things with expensive ingredients like shark fin, foie gras, live fish, etc.
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I’ve seen several recipes for steamed chocolate cake and have been curious as to how the texture and taste would be for a cake that is steamed rather than baked. I bookmarked a recipe a long time ago that I found on The Little Teochew, but I was always too lazy to try out the recipe until now.

Once I got around to doing it, it wasn’t too hard to put together. The biggest problem I had was the steaming though. First, I had some trouble finding a pot big enough to hold a 9 inch round baking pan. And then I had trouble finding a proper steamer. Usually I use a bamboo steamer, but my mini one was too small. Another problem I had is that you are supposed to line the entire baking pan with parchment paper. My parchment paper is in sheets and so it’s quite difficult trying to line the sides of a round pan. My parchment paper had a lot of folds, which of course affected how the cake looked, since it ended up having many grooves from the parchment paper.

As I steamed the cake, I knew this cake would come out moist, since it was being cooked with so much moisture surrounding it.

Once the cake was done, I let it cool and then it was ready to be tasted. The most noticeable difference right off the bat is the exterior of the cake. Because it is baked with so much moisture, the surface of the cake is quite dark, almost as if a thin layer of chocolate ganache had been put on.

The cake was moist and a little dense. I was surprised. I’ve had steamed asian cakes before like the ones served at dim sum and they’ve always been really soft and spongy so I had expected a similar texture. However, this cake texture was very similar to a baked chocolate cake, just slightly more moist.

The cake was good and had a deep chocolate flavor. It didn’t completely wow me so I’m not sure if I’ll make it again. I think this method of making cake almost guarantees a moist cake, but steaming in a 9 inch round baking pan is a bit of a pain if you don’t have all the right equipment.

Steamed Chocolate Cake (recipe found on The Little Teochew)

Ingredients

- 188g unsalted butter
- 225g castor sugar
- 1/2 can evaporated milk (about 200ml)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Line and grease a 9-inch pan.
2. Combine castor sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract and butter in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Once all ingredients are melted, turn off the heat and leave it on the stove to cool.
3. In a bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
4. Once the liquid mixture is cooled, add the beaten eggs in and mix thoroughly. Finally, pour the mixture into the flour and stir till well combined. The final batter should be runny.
5. Pour the batter into prepared pan and place it in the steamer. Cover the top of the pan loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil.
6. Steam over medium heat for 45 mins or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
7. Turn off steamer and let cake cool completely.

The Nordstrom in downtown San Diego has a cafe on the top floor. It sells mainly sandwiches and salads, but with a more upscale setting.

You line up and place your order and find an empty table. After that, a server will come over and bring your drink, your order, and service you throughout your meal.

The sandwiches here are pretty tasty. The sandwiches are panini sandwiches, served hot and toasted. BF and I had lunch there the other day.

We shared a salad and a sandwich. The salad was a shrimp louis salad. It was served with a hot sour dough bread.

We also ordered a chicken club sandwich. The sandwiches come with salad or chips.

At the end of your meal, they give you some chocolate mints.

It’s a nice spot to come for lunch if you work nearby or if you need a shopping break. I’ve always had attentive service here.

Nordstrom Cafe
324 Horton Plz
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-1700
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