Dim sum restaurants are usually manic houses filled to the brim with patrons, women pushing around carts of food and unfamiliar looking dishes. It’s intimidating, I get it. Though I am ethnically 1/8 Chinese, I was not raised in a strong Chinese setting. I have gotten dim sum back at home in Hawaiʻi, but this was the first time that I took the reins while eating at East Harbor Seafood Palace in Brooklyn, New York.
At the end of the meal, as I sat in my chair, looking at the white table cloth dirtied scrumptious sauces and fillings, I knew I had embarked on a much worthy food adventure. Here are some tips for you to take as you go out there and carve your own path to food consumption success, dim sum edition.
Tip 1: Do not be afraid.
One of the dishes I ordered was a black rice with sweet black sesame paste wrapped in some sort of white thing that I google searched but still can’t find the name. I’m glad I ordered it though because it was a delicious party in my mouth. Next was the mysterious photo shown below, known as lo mai gai (lotus wrapped sticky rice) which is filled with tasty savory flavors and appealing textures. Do you think something on that cart looks a little weird? It probably is and but you should probably try it. When you actually think about it, a slightly sweet, warm bread filled with savory pork meat (cha siu bao) isn’t too far fetched from the concept of the all-American corn dog.
Tip 2: Dessert is dessert. Go for the sweets.
There were two stand out sweets that were delectable, yet very different. The nuomici (sweet glutinous rice filled with sweet black sesame paste and rolled in coconut flakes) hit every stop in flavor town. The flaky coconut and chewy sweet rice outside contrasted well with the grainy sesame paste inside. The second was the deep fried mantou aka steamed buns. These crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, donut-y, pillow like morsels were served with sweetened condensed milk. Check out that drippy glaze.
Tip 3: Don’t worry about the cost.
As my friends and I watched the cashier tabulate the bill total, we were nervous to see how much we would be paying for the enormous feast we had just partaken in. We consumed a total of 26 dishes, marked by the stamps, according to size and price. For eight people the total was just $82.95. Including tip, each person only dished out $12. What. A. Deal. Especially in New York City, where food is notoriously expensive.
Tip 4: Don’t knock it ’till ya try it.
Although I was skeptical about trying dim sum in a completely new city and environment, it was absolutely amazing and I left with a satisfied stomach and still full wallet. Moral of the story here is that you should be trying new foods whenever you can. If you don’t end up liking it, well now you know.
Read more about dim sum here: