Dim Sum 101

Dim Sum is like a Chinese smorgasbord on wheels. It makes for a wonderful communal brunch or lunch. The more people you have, the more dishes you can sample. Scope out what others are choosing, if you’re unsure about the selections.

As the servers wheel the carts around, check out their offerings and, if you want some for yourself, flag the cart down. A smile and a nod of your head will communicate you want some, if they don’t speak your language. Each cart will have more than one item to select. Even if you don’t like what you’ve selected, you’ll just be out a couple of bucks per plate.

PaulGardner is always on the lookout for har gau (steamed dumplings with shrimp); shu mai (dumplingss with pork and black mushroom filling); beef meatballs; shrimp wrapped in rice noodle; sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf; steamed barbeque pork buns; and baby clams in black bean sauce. Candy says if they have chicken feet, go for them!

An important component of dim sum is tea. Jasmine is the most commonly offered, but a good place will have some choices. Ask what kind they have. Chrysanthemum tea is a nice choice.

Save the sweet items, like custards, for the end of the meal.

A handy little primer, “Dim Sum: A Pocket Guide,” by Kit Shan Li,is on sale at Amazon for $3.99.

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