Dim Sum, for all intents and purposes is a fancy name for brunch. Knowing that I’m not a “brunch” person, my Seattle settled daughter and her boy friend, insisted that we go out for dim sum right at the beginning of our vacation.
For the unfamiliar, dim sum is a Cantonese feast of bite sized small plates. The plates might have 3 or 4 pieces of pork bao, har gow, or taro dumplings. Steamer baskets filled with shumai, either pork or prawn filled dumplings that are rolled around the dining room on multi-level tea carts. Noodle dishes, when requested, are cut up with sharp scissors to facilitate easy slurping, while small bowls of dipping sauce are laid out with the appropriate dumplings. A tab sheet is marked with each dish chosen and added up at the end of your meal.
Since this was my first dive into the pool of dim sum, I needed to taste as many of these tiny delicacies as humanly possible. My enthusiastic brunch conspirators held nothing back. They ordered almost everything. With prods of here taste this one, and you have to try this too, it all became a little confusing. Feeling very much like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and yes, tea is a big part of this meal, the beautiful appearance, delicate flavor and surprising variety of textures had my head swimming.
Armed, after a few days of processing this delicious concept of a meal, with knowledge and experience, I made a request to return to the riotous scene of Asian delights. This time we took our time. I requested only the dishes that I knew I would like. We had a wonderful tea party of a time, luxuriating over salty, slick rice noodles and brightly colored custard tarts. The flaky crusted barbecue pork roll will haunt my dreams in the best way for weeks to come. I am looking forward to having brunch like this again.
Seattle and it’s environs is in many ways different from the Jersey Shore. Trying a new-to-me style of meal was more than interesting. When you have the opportunity to sit with people you love, sip some tea, have good conversation, and share a delectable meal, well, this is the height of civility. My daughter knew I would love this ritual. She was right, I loved it.