Southern California has a huge Asian demographic, and if I remember correctly, in my premed program at UC Irvine, we actually outnumbered whites by 3:1. So it's no surprise that not only can you find grub of every ethnicity there but it's almost always sensationally prepared. And I'm not talking Disneyfied PF Chang or anything with higher than a B health code rating, but grimy little grub towns like Little Saigon or Thai Town, where the more health code violations served up, the tastier your dish is likely to be. (Just kidding, sort of.)
So here's my favorite dim sum place in Orange County. My family's been coming here for more than 20 years now, and I've watched myself age right along with the little old lady cartpushers. The place's not as feverishly patronized as those in Monterey Park. In fact, a name search on Chowhound.com turned up nothing, which pleases me to no end as it's horrific enough to wait 40 minutes for a table on the weekends. But man, is it worth it. The dim sum here has an appealing Chinese-Cambodian fusion, which basically means more heapings of fried garlic in everything. It's a good way to mix up the LA organic sprouted food living in which I indulge occasionally (although admittedly not enough). Ying and yang. Crash and burn. My m.o. in a salty/sweet nutshell.
Here are just some of what we sampled during our last visit. And fuck you blogger for screwing up my captions again! (They tried to make me go to html tables and I said, no, no, no!)
shu mai: plump shrimp in translucent rice paper
some kinda shrimp/pork dumpling, in stew
pork with water chestnuts
battered, deep fried (some kinda) fish with roe. sounds nasty but tasty to bite into into a belly full of eggs.
soft tofu stuffed with shrimp paste
my fave: taro balls with meat filling in a crunchy potato flake? shell
sticky rice with Chinese sausage with bits of scallion
fried turnip cake with chives, incredible texture and taste
the only dim sum dessert I like: sesame balls with red bean filling
a typical overburdened cart
chili paste: the sine qua non of any dim sum experience