Lunasia is our favorite restaurant for dim sum. Unfortunately, it’s in the San Gabriel Valley and horrendously crowded on the weekend so we don’t go here as often as we’d like. If you get there at 10am on the weekend, you won’t have to wait. After they fill up all the seats, be prepared to bunker down for a half-hour to an hour wait. Sometimes there’s a jazz combo that plays outside, a nice touch to help make the waiting less excruciating.
Once your number has been called, your tea preference determined and you’ve been seated, you’ll be given a form to fill out with your dim sum choices. No carts being pushed around the crowded dining room. You’ll also be supplied with a menu with pictures to help you identify some of the more mysterious items.
My favorite of the dim sum here is the jumbo shrimp har gow. They aren’t kidding with the “jumbo” either. There are at least two, if not three, large shrimp encased in the delicate wrapper. Once you’ve tried these, you can forget about getting har gow anywhere else.
Likewise, the jumbo pork and shrimp siu mai are similarly large in size, generous with the filling. Siu mai is usually my favorite dim sum dish, but here the har gow is so phenomenal that the siu mai runs a close second.
The turnip cake is also a solid choice, a bit dense but not too gelatinous.
The shrimp rice noodles are thoughtfully cut up already so you won’t have to struggle with pulling a long strip of slippery noodles onto your plate. Lunasia uses high quality ingredients, which really shine in the simple dishes.
Lunasia makes good baked BBQ pork buns, beautiful puffs of dough with char siu inside.
The steamed Shanghai pork dumplings are decent, the filling tasty, though not so juicy. If these are your favorite, you’re better off going to Din Tai Fung. Once when we were in the waiting area here and on their display someone tweeted, “Should have gone to Din Tai Fung.”
Yes, we even had more dumplings – pan fried and wonton in spicy chili oil. The wonton was mostly filling, the wrapper not quite as large – a pity since the chili oil was so good and would have been great to have additional surface area to coat.
The roast duck is spot on and delicious. To balance out the protein-heavy meal, we ordered a plate of Chinese broccoli, just the thing to help with eating all of the meat.
For vegetarians/vegans, Lunasia has several dishes that are fantastic like the veggie bean curd rolls, vegetarian braised gluten with brown sauce and sautéed eggplant.
Alhambra has many restaurants to choose from for dim sum. For a more civilized setting (not a cavernous room with carts roaming around), Lunasia is easily one of the best.
Location: 500 West Main St., Alhambra 91801. Additional location in Pasadena.
Website – http://www.lunasiadimsumhouse.com/#about
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes