A week ago Monday and Tuesday I had the privilege of choosing the restaurant with two different people, so I was able to angle my way into a back to back dim sum experiences. I had been to Jade Asian and Ocean Jewels on numerous occasions but never during the same trip, so I really wanted to get them close in time so that I could make comparisons.
They both fared pretty well. Both of them had excellent variations on the bbq pork goodies theme. The baked Cha Xiao Bao (baked BBQ pork buns), steamed Cha Xiao Bao (steamed BBQ pork buns), and Cha Xiao Su (BBQ pork pastries) all had an excellent outside to filling ratio. Moreover, their outsides were done well, with soft buns and flaky pastries and the insides had a nice flavor. Ocean Jewels had a version that Jade Asian did not, however, and it was fantastic - it was basically a Cha Xiao Bao (BBQ pork bun) with a custard like coating, and the combination of savory and sweet was amazing.
Jade Asian had Ocean Jewels easily beat on the chicken feet and spare ribs. While Jade Asian's offerings were tender and flavorful, Ocean Jewels needed to steam a little longer and lacked the necessary sauciness.
In my favorite category, Xian Shui Jao (Glutinous Rice Dumplings), neither quite made it. They both had the best outsides I've ever found, but they were stingy on the filling - having about 2/3's of the filling one finds at my favorite Dim Sum place in the San Gabriel Valley. The bitter melon glutinous rice balls were both quite good though. Jade Asian edges out Ocean Jewels just a tad. If you have never had these, they are worth seeking out.
Over all, the two restaurants were pretty even. I really had expected one to totally trounce the other.
I staged a cage match between the two on our site. It has full reviews and pictures, if you are interested. It is posted as back to back entries on June 10th:
CA Scotch Chick