Sunday, September 26, 2010

888 Seafood Restaurant- Rosemead

888 Seafood Restaurant Exterior

Some assume the color scheme of a pinkish peach with the clashing aqua turquoise color is one from years ago, and if you were guessing this was the case with 888 Seafood Restaurant, you are right! 888 Seafood Restaurant has been in existence for a long time unlike the newer wave of Chinese restaurants like Capital, Lunasia, and Elite.

888 Seafood Restaurant Interior

Although I've known of the place for a long time and have been visiting more than 10 years ago, I haven't been to 888 for the past few years until recently.  The location is just not where I often go to, but after driving around trying to find a place for dinner, we ended up at 888 thanks to one of my dining companion's suggestion. Yes, it was quite empty inside, but we sat down anyway.

Marinated Cucumber and Stewed Peanuts

After we sat down, two complimentary starters arrived. One dish had diced cucumber pickles that were marinated in peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar, which provided nice heat as well as some sweet and tart factors. The other dish had Chiu Chow marinated peanuts (aka. loh shui if you get my phonetics...), which had tender boiled peanuts immersed in a sweet soy sauce mixture commonly used for these "loh shui" applications. Both were very good and although both plates were quite big for a complimentary dish, we still asked for refills. They were after all, quite tasty.

Soup

With soup, we either like to order a thick soup like fish maw and corn, or then order a traditional style soup that has been slowly cooked for a long period of time. 888 happened to offer a "Ba Wong Fa" soup (and that phonetic means a type of flower...one of which I don't know the english translation of) soup, so we ordered it. It's not widely seen in restaurants but we use it at home as a soup ingredient.

Soup Detail

If you have not tried the flower before, it's almost like having noodles in a sense that it is stringy and long. The texture depending on the how long it has been cooked can be mushy or like a tender vegetable. 888 prepared it so that it was melty in the thinner strands and while the thicker sections still had some feel to it. As for the rest off the soup, it was nicely flavored with pork and other ingredients. Like most restaurants nowadays, the soup was cooked in a large pot, and was transferred into a small pot for serving.

 Kabocha Squash with Mountain Yam, Gingko Nuts, and Sugar Snap Peas

It also happened to be that our vegetable dish, which we ordered from the seasonal menu, came out first before the other dishes. It had kabocha squash (which in Chinese is said to be pumpkin, but restaurants usually substitute kabocha squash instead), gingko nuts, mountain yam, and sugar snap peas all combined with some cornstarch slurry and seasonings. It was definitely a light dish, and it was the ingredients straight up cooked with some seasoning. Everything was crisp except for the gingko nuts which were unusually bitter in a sense. Otherwise it was a nice dish!

Stewed Duck, Tofu, and Peanuts with Vinegar

What probably should have arrived first arrived second. Since one of my dining companions likes the soy sauce marinated items ("loh shui"), we ordered a platter of "loh shui" duck slices with fried tofu, which came along with a traditional side of vinegar as well as some more "loh shui" peanuts.

The duck was tender and had all the flavors from the marinade. On the other hand, the tofu was still crisp, and to flavor it you could dip it in the marinade or just eat it straight up. Vinegar, if you do not know yet, cuts down on the duck and provides an contrast to the marinade which is sweet and savory, while the vinegar is tart and pungent with a hint of sweetness. Excellent dish to order. We do not order this often, but when we do it is at restaurants that specialize at doing it, like 888.

Steamed Red Cod

The main event of the night, a steamed red cod, came next. This was pricier compared to Embassy Kitchen and Full House at 20+ dollars a pound, but what came back in return was much larger. It's your choice- a lower weight cost but less fish, but higher weight cost but more fish- they just adjust to their needs at the scale. 888 was definitely very generous with the scale, and this red cod had tons of fish meat to enjoy and savor. Plus, it was cooked very nicely, flaking nicely and melting in the mouth. Plenty of shaved scallions and scallions surrounded by a ring of pepper made me happy. The soy sauce and scallions were great with the rice, but the rice only came in a personal bowl and not a shared tub. No one came to ask if we wanted a refill so I am assuming there are none, as usual when the rice is served in a small bowl.

Anyway, back to the point. This was an excellent steamed fish for a great price. The price per pound is more, but they will not cheat you on the scale! You will get what you pay for, and probably some more.

Egg Tofu with Ground Pork and Preserved Vegetables

Last was a plate of egg tofu with a soy sauce based sauce topped with ground pork, preserved vegetables, and scallions. Simple but flavorful flavors and high quality ingredients always work, and in this case it definitely did. I enjoyed the eggy tofu and the sauce was great on rice.

Tapioca Mung Bean Dessert Soup

Since it was a special occasion my dining companions were wanting to order a taro dessert, but with the fish and all the other dishes we had, it was quite enough. So, we enjoyed their complimentary tapioca dessert soup instead, which also had flecks of split beans (mung bean, I am guessing).  It was definitely tasty; after all tapioca dessert soup is one of my personal favorites and most restaurants do not give this soup out for free anymore!

And some interesting events during my visit: there was a group of people who were doing a wine taste at 888 and they seemed to be sampling food with wine. There were at least 5+ bottles of wine! Later on, a group of people walked through the restaurant who were smoking. Eventually, the smell got through the entire restaurant and the restaurant started to smell like one in China- a slight smell that doesn't immediately make you think of smoke. Now I know. Slight smells like these are a meaning of someone has been smoking!

Back on topic, this dinner was overall a great visit with good food at nice prices, so we came back again for dim sum a few days later after not deciding to go to Sea Harbour for dim sum. Dim sum at 888 goes by tiers like at Capital, so be careful of what you order or else your bill just may be a very expensive one!


Bean Curd Skin with Vegetable

We first had a steamer of vegetables or what 888 describes on their menu as "bean curd skin w/vegetable." (unless this item is a special item, which I do not know if it is). Basically, it was like your regular bean curd skin roll turned healthy since the rolls were not fried, and the rolls themselves were vegetables- napa cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, wood ear, and the like. The sauce was the same sauce as you would see on a bean curd skin roll though. Nice healthy starter.

Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Next came some BBQ Pork Buns. The char siu used in these were definitely of a higher quality, more meaty and less shreddded. It was also more flavorful, and not very red (hopefully very little or no food coloring). As for the bread, it wasn't completely fluffy and soft, but still tender with a nice bite. Also a good sign as in less baking powder!

Chiu-Chow Style Fun Gow

The Chiu-Chow Style Fun Gow was good, but the skin was a bit too sticky that day. Otherwise it was on par with Capital, which has one of the better fun-goh in my opinion. Plenty of crunch from peanuts plus other ingredients and not too much dried shrimp.

Steamed Rice Noodle with Beef

Also just as good was the steamed rice noodle with beef. The rice noodles were thin and chewy with a nice pull, and the beef was not too tinkered with into making it ultra tender unlike some places. Thus, the beef still felt meaty, and everything worked well especially with the sweet soy sauce.

Blood Cubes and Squid with Leeks

My dining companion likes pigs blood but still, we don't order all the time. But on this occasion we ordered 888's leek and pigs blood, which also had some squid pieces (tasted like it, but not sure if it is since I only know the cantonese name) in it. Overall it was quite nice with the pigs blood tasting fresh and tender, while the squid was also tender but also slightly spicy. Leeks cut into the richness of the dish.

Pork Siu Mai

To round out the meal in terms of dim sum items, we ended the dim sum course with a steamer of Pork Siu Mai. Filled with plenty of pork and not a lot of fat, this was quite tasty and the quality was there.

Fu Kien Fried Rice

This was not the end of the meal however, as we also ordered a rice and noodle course. Part one was the Fu Kien Fried Rice (15 USD). Yes, this was on the higher end of the pricing scale, but it was definitely worth the money! There was plenty of shrimp, scallop, roast duck, and char siu combined with the sauce, and the gai lan was cut extra thin so that it would be easy to eat and no too bitter. The rice was perfect, not too oily, and the eggs were wispy thin. Delicious. If you don't want your entire meal to be all dim sum or entrees, this is the dish to order!


Shredded Chicken and Mushroom with Vermicelli in Soup

We also had the Shredded Chicken and Mushroom w/ Vermicelli in Soup (11.80 USD), which is definitely a lighter dish compared to the fried rice. It had plenty of pieces of chicken along with pieces of shimeji mushroom combined with al dente vermicelli and a light broth. If you are in for vermicelli soups, this is not a bad rendition, plus the quality is better compared to other places.


Overall, I have no problem recommending 888 for dinner or dim sum. Good quality ingredients and a nice price to boot. Plus friendly service, especially during dim sum.


888 Seafood Restaurant
8450 Valley Blvd. #121
Rosemead, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 573-1888


___________________________

P.S. I do apologize for not having a post last week (this was supposedly last week's post), as it has been quite busy for me recently until this last weekend. I started writing this post eight days ago, and the photos were up a week before then! But for now things should be going a bit smoother...

Your input please: An Orange County Thai Restaurant for next week or a Korean AYCE BBQ posting? Or a Mexican restaurant in Arcadia? What do you want me to write about next? I have a Fresh and Easy Frozen Yogurt post...remember Trader Joe's Frozen Yogurt from before? They'll be coming in sooner or later unless I visit some interesting restaurants these weeks. 

Also, there have been some funny spam comments recently, all from one person who decided to scatter his spam comments over several posts this Friday. For example:

Garden Cafe- Arcadia: A Dinner Visit:

"A friend told me he visited Garden Cafe and he says it's amazing because they have a big garden into the restaurant, it sounds incredible I wanna go there."

Really? A garden! Nope. That is completely false at least for the Garden Cafe chain here in So Cal. But nice try for making it actually fit into the comment policy, but their name + website links to something unsuitable for the website and thus is SPAM.

Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza- Costa Mesa:

"I don't know how in this article says: "I would have left this restaurant off the list of places to visit" because this is the most beautiful restaurant I've visited in my life and the food extraordinary."

I stated why in the post! Mr.Spam obviously skimmed through the post and just took note of that one comment and nothing afterwards.

 Anyway, enjoy your week!

-EatTravelEat

4 comments:

foodbin said...

the name 888 Seafood Restaurant is easy to remember-would like to taste the food that you ordered.

Protocol Snow said...

Requesting Mexican restaurant in Arcadia

Sue said...

Tender boiled peanuts? Egg tofu? and complimentary tapioca dessert soup! Those are all enough to persaude me for a visit to 888, def need to hit up this place :)

And I request a Mexican restaurant in Arcadia, too~~

EatTravelEat said...

foodbin,
Most certainly! And the 8's are good when viewed from Chinese superstition. :)

Protocol Snow,
Thanks for replying...I'm quite surprised everyone likes Arcadia!

Sue,
Thanks for visiting! And you too! I'm quite astonished that this request is unanimous.