BELMONT, Calif.
I thought I’d heard about all the good dim sum spots in the Bay Area, so I was surprised to hear friends suggest China Village in the tiny town of Belmont.

The Peninsula has some of the more popular dim sum spots, but China Village Seafood Restaurant was never on my radar. So I decided to check it out recently with my friends Tat and Jeanne.

Just right off the Ralston Avenue exit on Highway 101, this place looks almost like a hole-in-a-wall from the outside. Ample parking in the back, the dining room is your typical Hong Kong-style restaurant but a bit smaller than I expected. Since we got there early, we didn’t have an issue getting a table – compared to the waits that can happen at other popular dim sum tea houses.

Rustic Look
The dim sum comes out in traditional carts and trays, and on the side there was a cooking station that I’d never seen at a dim sum house. It was a bit confusing because the dishes didn’t seem like they were being made from scratch, so it was more for show, warming up dishes like pickled ginger eggs.

My first impression of the dim sum was that they all had flavor, so each bite was tasty like the siu mai (one of my standards) and the steamed lo mai gai (sticky rice chicken). But the preparations were a bit rustic and not as refined as other dim sum places. This means shapes weren’t as perfect or skins weren’t paper thin, but you still wanted to pop them in your mouth.

An unusual cooking station made for great show, but I wasn't tempted by any of the dishes, which were more like entrees for dinner

An unusual cooking station made for great show, but I wasn’t tempted by any of the dishes, which were more like entrees for dinner

One of the things I like about getting dim sum is the variety of choices coming from the steamers or plates. But China Village didn’t seem to have much to offer. Although it had some of the popular standards, there seemed to be a lot of deep-fried offerings and what looked like dinner entrees (probably to appeal to non-Asian palates).

The carts going around seemed to repeat themselves. Still, there were some interesting finds, like Tat’s favorite of fried milk with almond crust (I know, it’s fried, but I just tried one bite).

There were a few missteps, such as a dough-to-filling ratio problem in a lot of the baked items, like my dim sum favorite egg custard baked buns. While the filling was nice and sweet, there was way too much bun. Same with the baked roasted char siu pork, which had too much of the flakey pie crust (that was overly sugary in the coating). And my other all-time favorite, xiao lung bao (or steamed Shanghai soup dumplings) were poorly executed with a funky smell to the pork filling.

The Last Bite
Despite the few missteps in certain dishes, China Village was still a fun dim sum dining experience because of the overall good flavor in most dishes. While it’s not refined and don’t offer as many dishes, the relatively low price and absence of massive crowds make this a little family favorite for those who live in the area and a nice respite from the hectic dim sum scene elsewhere.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps

2.5snaps

 

 

China Village Seafood Restaurant, 600 Ralston Ave., Belmont, Calif. PH: 650.593.1831. Open weekdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; weekends, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.chinavillagebelmont.com

China Village Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tasty dish of ingredients wrapped in tofu skin

Tasty dish of ingredients wrapped in tofu skin

Nicely cooked steaming lo mai gai, or sticky rice chicken

Nicely cooked steaming lo mai gai, or sticky rice chicken

Flat noodles stuffed with shrimp

Flat rice noodles stuffed with shrimp

Har gow is shrimp dumplings in a translucent rice skin wrapper, which was tasty but the skin was thick

Har gow is shrimp dumplings in a translucent rice skin wrapper, which was tasty but the skin was thick

Dim sum choices from the hot steamer baskets
Dim sum choices from the hot steamer baskets

Baked char siu pastries were good but had too much pastry to filling ratio.

Baked char siu pastries were good but had too much pastry to filling ratio.

One of my all-time favorites are egg custard baked buns, and these had a good custard filling, but again, too much bread to filling ratio

One of my all-time favorites are egg custard baked buns, and these had a good custard filling, but again, too much bread to filling ratio

Xiao lung bao or Shanghai soup dumplings weren't as successful.

Xiao lung bao or Shanghai soup dumplings weren’t as successful.

Unusual dessert of deep-fried milk with almond crust.

Unusual dessert of deep-fried milk with almond crust.

Simple dining room of China Village is smaller than expected but still can draw the families for its reasonably priced food

Simple dining room of China Village is smaller than expected but still can draw the families for its reasonably priced food

 

3 Responses to Review of Dim Sum at China Village Seafood Restaurant in Belmont

  1. sandy says:

    Looks like a nice spot! Easy parking is always a good thing, but now I’m craving dim sum!

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    The deep-fried milk with almond crust is a new one on me. Never seen that at a dim sum place before. I love anything with almonds, so this is definitely going to be on my radar from now on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.