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If ever I cannot decide whether I should go for some good Chinese lunch specials, or whether I should have some dim sum; or perhaps if I want both, then I know that the perfect place for me would be Szechwan. To me, it is the best of both worlds, at least in the South Bay area.

The restaurant is actually quite large, however, because it is divide in sections, and depending on which section one is seated in, the feeling can be cozy and intimate. I usually get to sit in one of their spacious and comfortable light greenish color booths. The tables are always lined with table cloths, whether it is lunch or dinner, which feels rather classy and clean.

There are the nice ladies that push around the dim sum carts with the standard offerings such as har gao (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork dumping), char siu bao (barbeque pork bun), Chinese broccoli, chicken feet, etc. My son’s favorite is the cheong fun (shrimp rice noodle roll), so that is a must whenever he goes there with me. I personally enjoy the lotus buns which is a sweet steamed bun with lotus paste inside.

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Personally, I feel that the lunch specials here are better than the dim sum, I would usually order the Fish Fillet with Seasonal Green, and the Ma-Po Tofu. The dishes are often excellent. I remember one time that the fish and vegetables were just so perfect in freshness and taste that I was beyond impressed and amazement that I had to relate that to the lady owner, and of course she agreed wholeheartedly. While the sauce in the Ma-po tofu dish is not incredibly spicy, it is exceptionally flavorful, and along with the silky texture of the tofu, the dish is particularly enticing and gratifying.

The dinner menu is more extensive, with the prices being higher. I tried the Mu-Shu Pork served with thin pancakes. I preferred the mu-shu without the eggs, so I usually asked them to leave out the eggs. The Eggplant with garlic sauce is another favorite, the eggplant is soft but not mushy, with a good balance of sweet and piquant flavor.

There usually is not a whole lot of focus on desserts in most Chinese restaurants, but here, the two desserts I have tried so far are fantastic! My favorites are the Sweet Sticky Rice Pudding (need to order one hour in advance), and the Fried Sesame Balls. I was so shocked the first time the sticky rice pudding arrived at the table – it was huge! The steamed rice pudding was served on a large round platter that would be sufficient for at least 8 people. There were various dried fruits and a sweet red bean paste amidst the massive mound of sticky goodness – so fabulously rich and gooey. The sesame balls are deep fried to golden perfection with the hot sesame paste oozing out when bitten into. I will make an exception to eat this dessert despite the fact that I rarely eat any fried foods.

Everyone who works here seem genuinely nice, maybe because the lady owner is always pleasant and smiling. The push-cart ladies always remember what I like, and would ask me if they could bring me those favorite dim sum items. There are two waiters here who are avid badminton players like me, so now and then, we would strike up a conversation about the sport.

Szechwan Restaurant:  2107 Pacific Coast Highway, CA 90717  Phone: 310-534-2280

 

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