Chinese malls teeming with eateries and snack shops, Chinese grocery stores within blocks of Korean markets—Flushing, Queens is a go-to area for Asian food. A trip to Flushing wouldn't be complete without eating dim sum at a Cantonese restaurant. This past weekend took us to Ocean Jewel, a large space on 39th Avenue between College Point Boulevard and Prince Street.
Having dined at dim sum restaurants in San Francisco, Shanghai, and all across the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California, I found the craftsmanship of the dishes at Ocean Jewel to be somewhat lacking; furthermore, many dishes are at their best piping-hot, and the lukewarm temperature we received them at affected our assessment.
But there's nothing prettier than a dim sum display. Our meal in mouthwatering photos, after the jump.
Ground pork meatballs with slices of conch meat and shitake on top.
Fried glutinous rice balls with a shrimp and ground meat filling.
Steamed eggy sponge cake rolls, very dense and slightly sweet, but unpleasantly gummy.
A cellophane noodle mixture moistened with flavorful meat broth. The only dish that came to our table piping-hot.
Pea shoots and shrimp dumplings. The greens were crisp and flavorful, providing a nice contrast to the richness of the shrimp.
A Cantonese staple, char sui bao (roasted pork dumplings). This particular rendition had a doughy wrapper, with very sweet pork inside.
A mound of glutinous sticky rice. Mixed with soy sauce, stir-fried ground pork, and mushrooms.
Chicken feet. Fried, marinated, and steamed with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fermented black beans.
Pan fried pork and chive dumplings. Steamed and then browned on both sides, the wrapper is crispy and chewy at the same time.
Another dim sum staple, har gow (shrimp dumplings). The shrimp should be gently cooked, retaining some of its crispness but not becoming tough.
Fatty pork ribs steamed with fermented black beans. Steaming the ribs makes it very tender, but not at all mushy.
Fried taro balls. Bits of soft, well-cooked taro and pork on the inside.
Sesame-covered, glutinous rice balls with a red bean or lotus filling. At its best when freshly fried; the shell will be crispy on the outside with a chewy tug on each bite.
Strips of stuffed squash with a pureed pork filling.
Fresh sheets of rice noodles (chow fun), with soy sauce and sesame oil drizzled on top.
Rice sheets rolled around fried crullers (you tiao). The dish was cold and gummy, with very little textural contrast.
Egg custard tarts. Flaky, lard-based pastry with a delicate custard—very eggy and slightly sweet.
Roast pork pastries. Flaky, lard-based pastry with an egg wash and sesame seeds on the surface. Pork was similar to the filling used in char sui bao (roast pork buns.)
Poached Chinese broccoli with an oyster sauce topping.
Fresh tofu with sweet ginger syrup. Better rendition of the tofu are silky and creamy; this particular custard was grainy and bland.
Coconut mochi with black sesame filling.
Beef omasum tripe. Stewed, then steamed with thinly sliced jalapeno peppers and meat stock.
Baked milk buns with a creamy egg custard filling. A favorite at the table, the buns were pleasantly soft and pillowy.
Pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings.
13330 39th Avenue, Flushing NY 11354 (map) 718-359-8600