Lunasia | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Lunasia

photo by Clarissa Wei

Dim sum in the SGV: It’s not just brunch, it’s a lifestyle — one that involves spending Sundays braving overcrowded lobbies, aggressive elderly women and elbow-banging steamer carts. At Lunasia, the modernized Alhambra banquet hall with an interminably long waiting list and a thick tome filled with dishes, you’ll at least be able to skip that last hurdle (orders are marked on a sheet of paper by diners, rather than pulled from carts). The most iconic item here is probably the jumbo shiu mai, a roe-crowned dumpling the size of a child’s fist, which requires two bites minimum, though it’s hard to imagine sipping your chrysanthemum tea without at least one order of everything else: slippery shrimp-stuffed har gow, flaky yellow egg tarts or the stellar pan-fried turnip cakes, which achieve a level of crispiness rivaled only by diner hashbrowns. If geographically inclined, you can even visit Lunasia in its splashy new Pasadena location — though don’t be shocked when the famed braised chicken feet are conspicuously absent from the menu.— Garrett Snyder