Location: 500 West Main Street Suite A, Alhambra, CA 91801. (626) 308-3222
Date: February 23, 2023
Cuisine: Cantonese Dim Sum
The DimSumQuest group continues to scour San Gabriel Valley dim sum restaurants. I’ve actually been to Lunasia many times before, but this is my first trip here for dim sum in a long time, so I figured that instead of updating the old post (it’s almost a decade old) I’d do an entirely new report.
House Special Stir Cucumber. The cucumbers themselves were fine, but they dumped packaged sweet and spicy dipping sauce on them. Kind of meh.
Seaweed Salad. This “seaweed” salad seemed like Jellyfish Salad. It was chewy, which was okay, but with a grainy mustardy dressing that lacked acidity — so not very pleasant.
Hangry brought some Beijing Lamb Buns from next door.
Steamed Chicken Feet. Bland.
Spare Ribs w/ Black Bean Sauce. Pretty good actually with lots of meat. Not much “black bean” but one of the better versions of this we have had — not the best but pretty good.
Jumbo Shrimp & Pork Siu-Mai. Huge but delicious with tons of pork meat and whole shrimp suspended inside.
Truffle Siu-Mai. The truffle version was identical but with canned truffle on top. Actually quite good but perhaps not legions better than the basic version.
Jumbo Shrimp Har-Gow. Great version, with fabulous shrimp inside and a good shell. Not the thinest shell ever but with first rate texture. After a few minutes the shell got a little sticky but that always happens.
Scallop Dumpling w/ Squid Ink. Sometimes the scallop dumpling falls a little short but not this one. The squid ink wrapper was nice and there was a lot of scallop inside, almost like a cooked “battleship” scallop sushi.
Spinach Shrimp Dumpling. Unusual, usually this is chive. It had both a green “spinach” wrapper and spinach inside with the shrimp — which surprisingly worked well.
XLB. Solid dim sum version. Not amazing or anything but better than many.
Pork Bean Curd Wrap w/ Broth. Really quite nice. This is the broth version, as opposed to the “flavor corn starch sauce” version, but the broth was pleasant and the rolls excellent.
Steamed BBQ Pork Char Siu Bao. There was plenty of filling but it was overly sweet and the bun itself was soggy and over-steamed. Not terrible but fairly meh.
Baked BBQ Pork Char Siu Bao. The baked version had the same overly sweet pork. The bun was oddly small and just okay.
Pan-Fried Pork Bun w/ Crab Meat. The buns seemed a bit soggy but the “crab” filling was interesting.
Stick Rice Wrap. This classic was great, probably second only to the 1968 version. Lots of stuff inside the rice and a great rice flavor. Excellent.
Supreme Beef Ball. I’m the only one who liked these chewy beef balls.
Shrimp Egg Roll. Nice and crispy with a lot of shrimp inside. Quite good.
Deep Fried Taro Cake? Not sure exactly what this was but the texture was fabulously crispy. Quite lovely.
Mixed Puff with Pork. Just okay version. Not crispy enough and not enough flavor in the filling.
Live Lobster Chow-Fun. I’ve never had lobster chow fun, but now I have and this was awesome. One of the best regular chow fun I’ve had. The sauce cold have been a little strong/sweeter but the texture was very nice and there were lots of nice lobster chunks.
Crispy Seafood Noodle. Just fair version of this generally excellent dish. Seafood itself was pretty good but the MSG factor was very high.
Pan-Fried String-Beans. Woah — MSG string beans. Nicely crispy but they were also stir-fried with the same sweet chili sauce that were used on the cucumbers. Weird.
Assorted BBQ Combination Quartet with Hong Kong Roasted Duck, Lunasia Boiled Chicken, Macao Style Roasted Pork Belly, and BBQ Pork (char siu). Kinda excellent, particularly the char siu. But the duck and Macao pork were also great. Some great sauces for them too.
BBQ meat sauces.
Pineapple Bun and Macao Style Egg Custard. The Pineapple Bun was small but very good with a nice flavored custard and good texture. The egg tart was quite good, although still not in the same league as the Montery Palace one. Macao (caramelized) egg tarts are almost always better than the regular ones.
Pure and Concentrated Evil — Kentucky Mud Pie Gelato — Expresso Knob Creek Bourbon Custard Gelato base with layers of house-made Crushed Oreo Valrhona Fudge Ganache, and house-made Vanilla Coconut Cream Cheese Icing — The Plaid Mode of Gelati and includes a hefty Caffeine kick — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #coconut #valrhona #chocolate #ganache #expresso #bourbon #custard #oreos #icing
Overall Lunasia was much better than I expected. It’s always been quite good for dim sum, and there is some uneveness to the kitchen, but the steamed items were in general excellent, in the A tier. Fried items were good too. But baked savory items a bit meh, and some duds like the cucumbers and jellyfish. Desserts were excellent. The non dim sum dishes here generally aren’t great, but the BBQ was very solid. So overall maybe A-, slightly under 1968 and Tonys, but very close.