點心 – ‘so so’ dim sum in Aberdeen Cafe

I’m probably the biggest dim sum fan you will ever meet in your life. Since I ate it for the first time I keep on finding better and better ones. Already tried dim sums in many places in Hong Kong, south China and now we’re driving around East Bay with chopsticks in our pockets.IMG-20131022-WA0002 I just really, really hate those big plastic chopsticks people use in restaurants, whenever I use them I feel like bringing shame to my husband and I can kill someone trying to get closer to us in a chopstick accident.

Recently every weekend in the morning we go out to try a new dim sum place – in some time you will get a review of places like Asian Pearl Seafood Restaurant in Richmond or Kay Cheung Restaurant in SF, Chinatown but I will start from my biggest dim sum disappointment of last half a year. Or maybe my expectations about this place were bigger than the reality.

Aberdeen Cafe – 46831 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont

We bought new Sing Tao Daily and headed up to a place my husband calls ‘the most crowded place in Fremont duringIMG-20131022-WA0003overtime at work’. So many people cannot be wrong, can they?

It’s located in Little Taipei shopping mall along with 99 Ranch (Chinese chain shop), some milk tea places… give me a mahjong table and I could stay there.

Aberdeen Cafe is not a typical dim sum place, they serve mostly Hong Kong/Cantonese style food, but ‘dim sum menu’ is very limited. Every item on the menu dim sum menu is really cheap, only 2.38 USD, some additional items like lotus rice dumpling, congee etc. can also be found at the other part of the menu, but it’s more expensive than ‘Big’ and ‘Medium’ items in most of dim sum restaurants. You think you save money? Not really.

After a debate about shangainese-dumplings we made our order:

  • preserved egg & pork congee
  • shangainese steamed soup-dumplings
  • chicken feet
  • shu maiIMG-20131022-WA0004
  • shrimp steamed rice dumplings
  • barbecue buns

Since it’s not mainly dim sum restaurant all the items are made for order and we had to wait around 20 minutes to get our food, but that’s

OK. Dim sum is not a place to rush. We drinked our tea when whole place suddenly started to get busy and loud. For me – even better. At that time our ‘pork century egg’ congee was served. I never been really a fan of congee but that one stole my heart. Even thought it was made with chicken, not pork but that’s even better. It’s probably first congee I ever liked – it was salty, had a lot of century egg and chicken. Rice in congee had really a proper texture, not too soft not like ‘rice soup’.

Second dish that appeared on our table were shanghainese dumplings. We had a discussion about them for like 10 minutes
Are those with soup? Can you ask?
No, you ask, I’m Chinese.
So what?
I should know that Cantonese people in Cantonese restaurant won’t make you a proper Shanghainese dumplings. If you want you can ask, I will lose my face.

I can see my husband suicide after that dumpling-shame and dishonor he brought toIMG-20131022-WA0007us, our children, our grandchildren, greatgrandchildren… Back to the dumplings – yes, they had a soup inside, but very little and they were just warm. What I’ve been told is that soup should be so hot that it burns, then bite skin a little and suck up the soup slurping and hoping I will still be able to taste things. Taste was OK, nothing special – of course I didn’t believe they can be as good as the one I had in Shanghai but it didn’t blow my mind. Believe me, if they did my husband wouldn’t get a bite. 

Finally all the rest items arrived. Comparing to shangainese dumplings all of them were very, very hot. I’m not a fan of chicken feet especially served in a spicy sauce so my husband is the one responsible to vote for them. His verdict: very good sauce, chicken feet by itself tastes as usual. I guess that’s hubby approved.

IMG-20131022-WA0008Barbecue buns were little bit smaller than usual, the filling inside had a nice sweet, barbecue taste but I had a filling it’s too dry. I like it when the meat is little bit soggy so I can feel the sauce it’s been in. Too bad. I mean, they weren’t bad but just didn’t match the way I like them to be served. Shu mai and shrimp dumplings were OK, but the skin of shu mai was too soft, even thought we tried it right after serving us. On the other hand shrimp dumplings were actually the first one in 3 weeks that skin didn’t stick t another dumpling and just collapsed – we had that problems in few other places with white carrot dumplings.

For everything with the tips we paid 29 USD for 2 people. It’s an average price we pay in other places with the tips but for 7, not 6 items. As I said at the beginning – even thought dim sum special items are cheaper than in other places if you want to order other things that are also served as usual in dim sum restaurants you need to pay more.

Well, maybe I overreacted and I just had too high expectations after all the reviews and ammount of people waiting to be seated but I wouldn’t go there again for a dim sum and I would recommend you to go somewhere else. Price doesn’t match the quality. Unless you want to order just a congee, for the rest of the items I wouldn’t pay to eat again.

Have you ever been disappointed with your dim sum? Why? Where was that? Share your experience (so I can feel better I’m not the only one!)

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23 thoughts on “點心 – ‘so so’ dim sum in Aberdeen Cafe

  1. Haven’t eaten Dim Sum for quite a while, I love Dim Sum too! I definitely have to go sometime soon. It sounds like the Dim Sum you had weren’t very fresh, which is weird since there seem to have been a lot of other people at that place at the same time.

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  2. I am almost always disappointed by dim sum places in America (much to my regret) though I have had some really good ones further north in Vancouver. I remember almost a decade ago, I ate at Koi Palace in the SF area and loved it. However, recent reviews indicate it’s not as good as it used to be (though I haven’t tried it). My favorite dim sum places are still in Hong Kong! =)

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  3. My brother and I took my mom to the Hong Kong Lounge, SF for her birthday, and waited in line for more than a hour. He told us the dim sum was Ok, but they serve good tea. My brother works and live in San Francisco for 5 years. He knows almost every Western and Chinese Restaurants. In the end, we decided to take her for some Taiwanese food. That was good, but too much MSG. The last time I have good Dim Sum was in Hong Kong (2008). My Great Great Uncle took us to one of his favorite restaurant, but I don’t remember the name.

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  4. I like dim sum with the whole family so we can have lots of variety. I love the Shangainese dumplings. My only trouble is, I don’t like taking big bites, and then I lose part of the soup.

    The first time I met my father-in-law was in 1971. I think it was in a restaurant on the top of the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. My 3-year-old daughter made a good impression by finishing off two orders of shrimp dumpling.

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  5. I had really bad dumplings/dim sum in Shanghai. My favourite dim sum places tend to be in Taiwan. I also had good dim sum in Hong kong. Then again, I don’t eat pork so dim sum can be limited for me. I do like the pineapple buns with a stick of butter.

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  6. Its still better than I have experienced so far in Finland and Germany. The Dim Sum places all failed so far, most food cold or without real taste…sometimes I had the feeling it was all the same stuff, just in different forms and colors due to the taste.
    I really need to get to some good place again 🙂

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  7. I used to love dim sum, then I went to a Chinese restaurant in Little Saigon down here in Southern CA and got the worst case of food poisoning ever! I knew those pork shu mai tasted a little funny, it must have been undercooked or something. I was scared to eat dim sum again until I went to Hong Kong last month. After my trip to Tim Ho Wan I’m ready to give dim sum another chance!

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  8. In Indonesia, dim sum has pretty unique images.
    For most native Indonesians, dim sum is a medium-up level food. It means that it is not affordable by all people (unlike fried rice, satay, etc).
    In the other side, Indonesian Chinese folks think that most dim sum restaurants in Indonesia are “hypocrite” and “boring”. In order to bring in Muslim customers, dim sum restaurant do not have any pork menu.. at all!
    😀

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  9. I live in HK so it’s not too hard to find a nice dim sum place that’s economical. I remember when I lived in Los Angeles and I would go to dim sum places in Alhambra, and the dim sum dishes would be bigger but not as tasty 🙂

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  10. Well, seriously dim sum in Vancouver area, British Columbia probably gives one the widest range and more quality levels than other areas in Canada or U.S. (except maybe 1-2 areas in California).

    Now here in Calgary, I had my last dim sum meal about 6 months ago. It shocked me…very large dim sum for a price that was 30% lower than Vancouver’s. But the quality was mediocre. I was also abit disappointed by the amount of deep fried versions. I’m not fond of this type of cooking technique.

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  11. I should I also lived in Toronto for many years in addition to Vancouver, so I do seriously think my opinion isn’t slapdash North America. These 2 cities have the highest population % of Chinese ancestry citizens.

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  12. A really good Dim Sum place I can recommend: ShangriLa in LoWu (after you crossed the border just walk straight). It’s an “all-you-can-eat” deal. If you’re really, really early (8am) you can eat for two hours for just RMB 78 (+10% service charge) per person. The quality is outstanding. And the 小笼包 are certainly made in the Shanghainese place next door….

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  13. I know it is a dimsum shame to admit, but I am a huge fan of BBQ pork buns. At my favorite dimsum place in Guangzhou, they would bring me a plate the moment they saw me enter the restaurant.

    Still trying to find decent dimsum in Las Vegas. I heard it exists, but I haven’t found it yet.

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