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What better way to spend the Lunar New Years than with your family? This year everyone met for dim sum at Jasmine Seafood. It was a busy morning with families packed in front of the restaurant 15 minutes before opening. Dim sum is always bustling on the weekends but especially crowded celebrating the new year, plus there would be a lion dance that morning!
Since my last visit, they have this new parking structure next to the restaurant. It's owned by a separate company that charges $1 per hour. Parking around the corner on the Shanghai Saloon side is still free if you can find a spot.
We had a table for ten in the corner near the doorway. The carts did seem to take a little more time to get to us but we were able to order most of what we wanted in a reasonable amount of time. I believe this item is called Nian gao based on a quick search online and is said to bring good luck if you eat it! The restaurant only serves it during the new year. Inside the texture is sticky sweet and thick while the outside is rolled in a light coconut dust.
Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) are a little different than Din Tai Fung. Skin isn't as pliable though and could break easier. Temperature was warm so it didn't burn the mouth. They have individual "spoon" containers and were filled with a decent amount of porky broth and meat patty.
Here are the usual orders. The family is big on shrimp so there were several rounds of har gow (steamed shrimp dumpling). Dumpling skin seemed the right thickness to hold everything in but let you bite through. Dennis and I prefer the shrimp and pork shu mai dumplings, more fun chew and flavor, especially the pork. This last item reminds me of sesame balls (gummier shell) except stuffed with minced pork. The filling is mild though so I've had better.
I don't think I've ever ordered this before but it's a rice bun stuffed with pork and maybe chives? I thought the filling was flavorful and comforting so I wouldn't mind adding this to my repertoire.
I think this is also a new one for me and we enjoyed the "seafood" filling and the lightly fried coating, like an eggroll skin with crunch.
Steamed buns were soft but the pork filling was wet and sticky. Next is the typical sesame ball stuffed with sweet red bean paste. The fried scallop item were interesting but slightly too fried for my tastes. We did not try the steamed rice buns wrapped with banana leaf.
Goodness... the parents ordered chicken feet! I gave it a try but still not my thing. Too much work to nibble for these strange goodies.
For dessert, Dennis's siblings LOVE these egg custard treats. Pastry is lightly flakey and custard is slightly sweet and eggy. In case you don't know, these can be ordered at the to-go counter as well.
By the time we had almost finished, it was time for the LION DANCE! Restaurant staff provided traditional red envelopes to tables so guests could participate in the activities. As the lions danced around, they were given good luck money for the new year! You feed it to them through the mouth haha!
So many lions (I counted seven) to help celebrate the year of the pig! To the right, the lions double stack (one person on another's shoulders) to hold up these large signs wishing you happy new year. At least that's my assumption since I can't read the text!
Afterwards, the lions also dance for the next door business, Jasmine Express. Gotta get those lucky red envelopes!
Tet Festival in Mira Mesa
Afterwards we attended the Vietnamese Tet Festival in Mira Mesa Community Park. There is parking across the street at Mira Mesa high school which is super handy.
One of the first things we saw inside were the beautiful young pageant queens. Smile for the camera!
It's the year of the pig! This display was made with red and yellow roses.
And look! A REAL pig! So cute! Oink Oink.
Who is that silly sailor hiding behind the boat?
Is this a wedding at the festival? The traditional ao dai in white sure is pretty!
Last but not least, swag from Barona Casino. Spin the wheel and have a chance to win $10 or $25 in free play or even a tshirt! You could also sign up for their email list and choose an extra gift like the hat or chopsticks.
Dennis and I enjoyed our Lunar New Year weekend and look forward to a happy and fulfilling year in 2019! Have you celebrated Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) before?
Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
4609 Convoy St A
San Diego CA 92111