It’s Sunday! Now that school is out for our house, Sunday doesn’t bring the same feeling of despair about the weekend coming to a close as it did last week, but we are extra happy because Sunday usually means Dim Sum Day for us! The best way to describe dim sum is kind of like Cantonese tapas served for weekend breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea with the family: small, individually-sized bites that are (sometimes) pre-prepared and meant to be shared family-style, accompanied by a big pot of oolong or jasmine tea. The most common are dumplings and buns and noodles, served steamed or fried, and egg tarts, mango pudding, or sweet buns for dessert. We especially love dumplings; some might even call us dumpling fiends!
Before I continue, I have to acknowledge my paternal grandfather, Grandpa Marfori. He came from the Philippines with essentiallynothing, and worked his way up to become a colonel in the US Army. He was small but intense, almost always super serious, and was a “foodie” before the term was even a twinkle in former New York magazine food critic Gael Greene’s eye. Because his job required him to travel all over the world, my grandpa acquainted himself with the best of what a country’s cuisine had to offer: torrone, chorizo, and jamón ibérico from Spain, shrimp paste from the Philippines to smear on mangos (I know – icky, but he liked it), Chinese sausage.. And he had to have these specific sourdough rolls every night with his dinner from the old Pioneer Bakery down on Rose Ave back when you did not want to get out of your car to pick up dinner rolls on Rose Ave. He was the one who would organize family celebrations at VIP Seafood (now The Palace Seafood & Dim Sum) and once everybody sat down, the food would just start coming because he had already pre-ordered the whole thing. Grandpa Marfori was a huge influence in my love of food, and for that I will always be grateful.
Now, enter Bao Dim Sum House. What makes Bao a little different is that it is made-to-order instead of being served from a heated trolley. You notice this in dishes like their siu mai – you can really taste the shrimp flavor (which can sometimes get lost with all the pork), and their cha siu bao has plenty of sauce mixed in with the honey bbq pork. While they are by no means the only restaurant in the LA area to serve dim sum this way, Bao is relatively close compared to the stars of the San Gabriel Valley. One of our only criticisms is the price points – the cost is significantly more expensive than your typical dim sum spot, but the trade-off is that they are close, have xiao long bao (we call it soupy dumplings), and have milk buns. As MC Hammer once said, “don’t want none unless you got buns, hon” – although, I’m not sure he was talking about the same thing as we are today…..
So, if you don’t want to drive out to SGV on a Sunday morning only to wait two hours to be seated, this is your place!