With China Islamic jammed with starved Ramadan observers chomping at the bit to break their fast, my better judgement and my car led us to Tung Lai Shun in the impressive San Gabriel Square. This touted establishment did not disappoint. The rundown:
Dabing -- the much hyped sesame coated pan bread lived up in fine style, like the best Chicago pizza dough, crusty on the outside/ chewy on the inside, to the tenth degree. Filling and the scallions were a delicious touch.
Boiled beef dumplings -- the chewy wrapper a bit thick for my taste, but the filling of beef and aromatics had just the right bite without any overpowering tastes or aromas. Good standard comfort dumplings.
Beef with leeks -- excellent, redolent with that mild onion flavor. a brothy sauce augmented with soy and ginger went perfect with the tender, non-oily beef.
Lamb with pickled cabbage -- the ubiquitous napa cabbage, pickled here, makes a strong and well-balanced counterpoint to the surprisingly ungamy lamb strips. Delicious simplicity. Also light.
Cold chicken with sesame noodles -- sparse shredded chicken in a very mild sesame sauce with chewy, thick noodles. Texture of the noodles was great but the paucity of chicken was not. Dish had too many mellow low notes but a little vinegar, chile sauce awakened it. Overall, decent.
Tea smoked duck -- crispiness to satisfy a crispy fetishist. Good skin to flesh ratio with a smokey goodness that penetrates to the bone and seasons in a completely satisfying way like good bbq. Highly recommended.
Overall, this was a fantastic chow experience with particular points scored for the lightness of the prepared dishes (exluding the bread). A wake up call for anyone too attached at the hip to almond chicken. On the way out, I spotted someone ordering the hotpot which was accompanied by a whole tray of condiments -- am I the only one out there who is infatuated with prepared sauces? Anyway,
Thanks for all past recommendations pointing to Islamic Chinese cuisine.