The last time I went to a dim sum place with a bunch of friends, I found out that the vegetarians had a hard time picking what they wanted. But trust me on this: Dim sum is so much more than BBQ pork buns. After becoming a vegetarian, I explored the no-meat options myself. On a side note, the go-to place for dim sum in Chicago is definitely MingHin Cuisine.
1. MingHin's Signature Bun: Baked Creamy Egg Yolk Buns
This bun is the must-get bun at MingHin. The crispy crust is made of egg custard, and it has a sandy-like texture. The inside is steaming hot and oozing egg yolk. It sounds funky, but the salty and creamy flavors combine to have a very unique quality. Eat it when it's super hot!
2. Rice Crepes With Deep-Fried Chinese Donut
The crepe and the Chinese donut themselves don't really have any taste, so dip it in soy sauce. Then you will get both the lightness of the rice crepe and the saltiness and greasiness of the donut; it's a perfect combination.
3. Deep-Fried Sesame Balls
These deep-fried balls are made with glutinous or sticky rice. The inside is stuffed with red bean, mung bean, or lotus paste. They are a must-get whether or not you have a sweet tooth. The bean paste stuffing might sound weird to some people, but it's a common flavor for desserts in dim sum.
4. Vegetable Stir-Fried Flat Rice Noodles
If dim sum is not enough for you for a solid meal, this dish is highly recommended because the noodles fill you up and the way that it's cooked makes the noodles on-point soft.
If you're a pescatarian, you'll enjoy the Shrimp Dumplings and Shrimp Shumai. If you're a sweets person, go for Egg Custard Tarts, Red Bean Pudding, and Steamed Lotus Paste Bun. The Vegetable Egg Roll is a classic, too.
Now you see that dim sum is not all about the classic Char Siu Bun; you're not missing out! There're lots of great options for vegetarians as well, though I personally do miss chicken feet a lot after becoming a vegetarian.