Wednesday, October 12, 2011

dim sum do's and don't

[Street decoration in Oakland's Chinatown]

As I've said before, I'm not much of a breakfast person (unless it is in art form.) Sure, I like hashbrowns since they are made of potatoes and I never say no to bacon, but eggs just don't do anything for me. If I'm headed out for my first meal of the day, I'm already thinking of lunch foods. It is no surprise then that I love dim sum brunches.

Partner-in-Crime and I have gone several times recently and this weekend I took a few pictures to share and thought I'd share the do's and don'ts of dim sum as I have learned them.

Do: Go with a group
Dim sum is a social meal and most of the tables are large round ones. Go with a group of four to eight is a great size.

Don't: Order individually 
This is why you want a crowd. Dim sum is meant to be eaten family style. Order dishes for the table. Each dish often has 3-6 small treats, such as dumplings. The server often snips larger items in half with scissors for sharing. Order 1-3 dishes from one cart and then see what the next cart brings. Even without a central ordering plan, if you order slowly you won't get too much on the table and you'll be able to sample many dishes.

[The sticky rice to the left is a favorite of mine.]

Do: Enjoy yourself slowly
Dim sum is the best kind of slow meal. As soon as you are seated, you can start ordering and your food is on the table immediately. But you also get to order slowly and can always decide to get more. We're often at dim sum between 1-2 hours.

[Basically Chinese doughnuts]
Don't: Be scared to try new things
Growing up I was a bit of a picky eater. I've found the best way to start liking foods you thought you didn't was to try them prepared a completely new way. I was leery of these coconut desserts because I'm not a fan of coconut pie, but instead they reminded me a sweet coconut milk and had a very milk taste. Delicious!

[So glad I tried these]

Do: Tip
You'll have a waiter (often in a vest) who brings you more tea, water (if you request it), and who will clear plates that are empty. Do tip. 

During your meal, you'll have a ticket like this one on your table. The servers will stamp a code for the dishes you bought (and that they sold it) so it's hard to keep track of how much exactly you are spending. Luckily, it's typically very reasonable. Our bill this weekend was just $12 each with tip. 

Do: Take some home!
After our meal, we went to stores in Chinatown that sell dim sum and barbecue to go and purchased our dinner. 

1 comment:

Lara said...

I am soooo jealous of your Dim Sum options. Richmond needs a place STAT! And I'm just gonna say, isn't having an Asian bf the tits? I've tried so many wonderful things I would've never known about!!