Friday, January 30, 2009

If Only These Walls Can Talk @ Dean Sin World (Monterey Park)


They just took off the bakery sign and hastily put up a banner

Before you take a bite of that dumpling you just ordered in a tea house or a local Shanghai eatery, ask yourself this one question: Are these dumplings made by Dean Sin World? Chances are, it might be.

Dean Sin World comes to us at a time when dumpling houses are exploding everywhere in SGV as it seems. Dumplings were the rage in 2006 as the must get comfort food and was one of the most popular take out items that can rival a Taco Bell chalupa. Little did we know, Dean Sin World actually was here in the old days (as in a few years ago), but we just didn't know it.

Before starting up this restaurant, two sisters decided to go into wholesale business selling dumplings and other small snacks to supermarkets, bakeries, and other snack eateries places. Chances are, you might see some small items like their sesame cake being repackaged with labels of the proprietor's own brand. These two sisters also make their signature dumplings in huge packs for restaurants across SGV.

Think about it for a moment, it's not the boiling of these dumplings that are hard, it's the wrapping of each and every single one of these dumplings that will take so much time. Not too many places would take that much effort and energy into make dumplings from scratch.

The hard work effort finally paid off for them to open up a small place on Garvey Avenue on the same plaza as Giang Nan. The place is still going through *cough* renovations *cough*, but it's a work in progress to get the places more ready for a mini cafe experience.


Chinese menu on the wall

Barebone with almost non-existent decor and no ambiance of any kind to speak of, at least we were thrilled that most of the dumplings and four choices of noodle cost less than $5. We knew that we can eat a lot for cheap and that's how exactly what me and my pal Danny did that night.

To start off, we ordered a lotus sesame cake that only dinged us for a dollar each. Lao Bang Nian (English translation: old boss lady) gave us each a cup of complimentary soy bean milk to go along with this delicious starter.


Sesame Lotus cake ($1 each) with Hot Soy Bean Milk

The signature items were the juicy pork dumplings and their home made boiled dumplings are the specialty, we decided to divide and conquered to ordered one boiled pork dumpling with leaks to start off, then getting a bowl of noodle for a main course with the juicy soup dumplings to cap our night.

The boiled pork dumplings with leaks are very delicious when you dipped it in a chili sauce. I don't think dumplings have any kind of stink like some of these pork with leaks at other places would exhibit. They pretty much keep ingredients simple and fresh so that your taste buds won't get ruined by that weird after taste.


Boiled Pork Dumplings with Leaks ($4.25)

The Xiao Long Bao (Juicy Soup pork dumpling) were wrapped very well without breaking apart or having the soup leaked through before you picked it up with the chopsticks. I also enjoyed the fact there were plenty of soup inside the bao when it was piping hot. Give them credit for making it hot and fresh without being over cook which would lead to dryness on both the skin and lack of soup.


Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Juicy Pork Soup Dumplings) - $4.85

Before the noodle came out, we also ordered a pan fried baos. Regretfully they ran out of this item as it was sold out right before we came in. They gave us an option of replacing it with goyza (pan fried dumplings aka potstickers), but we politely declined. To make it up to us for the oversight, Lao Bang Nian gave me and friend Danny a bowl of Wine Blew. It's a bowl of sesame and rice bowl in a wine soup. You have to get a taste of this because it has a small hint of wine aroma, but when you take a sip of the soup, I thought for a moment I was getting a rice ball in a sake. It has a sour flavor mixed in with a bit of sugar in the soup.

The rice was fermented for a brief time and it extract the smell of wine. Think of stinky tofu from soy and you get the same idea for wine brew. You are not going to get a sake because ti's still need to be distilled, but this obviously will get still get a texture taste of wine in this fermented rice in this soup. Very offbeat and very cleansing right before our noodle soup.


Wine Brew ($2.75)

To end the night, our shredded pork egg noodle with mustard green was not bad at all. I think our original thought of sticking with the dumplings at this place should have been follow through. Since the dumplings were the specialty of this place, it would been wiser to order a different type of dumplings, but I guess we just wanted to see if the noodle was any good here. Next time, we can figure that out.


Shredded Pork Egg Noodle with Mustard Green ($4.50)

Overall, we did have a very good meal where everything came out to be less than $17 (before tips). It was probably the bargain of the century for two people that were ready to pig out. The service was very good and we even get to share some stories of our foodie adventure with a couple that was sitting next to us.

We were talking about places that we have visited in SGV and compared notes on where else to go for certain cuisines. Good ol' Lao Bang Nian shared us some of her stories as well and told us about the deeds regarding the businesses in all parts of SGV. Right before we left, we all complimented on how we love her dumplings and have made comparisons to others. She then let us know on a little bombshell: some of those places served her dumplings.

The sisters are still in the wholesale business of selling dumplings to restaurants. When some of the names of popular tea house chains and a few of the well known Shanghai restaurants have all served her dumplings, that's when my jaw had dropped. It's one thing to have your innocence shattered, it's another to have been told there was no Santa Claus. One of those place she mentioned of serving her dumplings was a well known place I have frequented before.

So before you take that bite of the dumpling you have just ordered, ask yourself that one question: did you just ordered a Dean Sin World dumpling? If so, why not come here and ordered here?

Dean Sin World
306 N Garfield Ave #2
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 571-0636

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Dean Sin World on Urbanspoon

Dean Sin World in Los Angeles

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