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Boston Area Dim Sum

Dim Sum at Pacific Garden, Chinatown, Boston

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Dim Sum at Pacific Garden, Chinatown, Boston

Limster | Nov 9, 2003 12:54 PM

Significantly better dim sum than China Pearl and Chau Chow City. Dumpling wrappings aren't pasty, are delicate and pliant; fillings show refined smoothness and nuanced flavouring; there's intricate presentation in some plates, like the spikes on the crispy hedgehog-looking buns filled with a delicious sweet chestnut paste.

The selection is limited -- only about 30-40 items excluding noodles, with some basics missing, like fried spring rolls or egg tarts. Instead, there's a number of "fancier" morsels, like the superlative (our favourite today) fried sesame shrimp rolls filled with sharp light waterchestnut crunches that make a meaningful textural complement to the smooth chunks of shrimp. What they do make they make well.

One orders off a menu, no carts. Dim sum seems to be made-to-order as a result.

The light airy fragrance of celery filling the steamed shrimp dumpling was impressive. The kitchen seems to appreciate subtley.

Chewy rolls of rice sheets (they're called rice fajitas on the menu) get a good wok-king with a savoury XO sauce. A steamed turnip cake quivers a little under a soy sauce and chinese parsley/cilantro topping. Stuffed mushrooms are filled with the mild orange-pink of minced shrimp and possibly egg-whites, ripping on the teeth.

Roast pork buns are nice and small, freshly steamed, a dense spongy bun with a competent dark red filling. Short slippery lengths of chives work well with shrimps in another dumpling; yet another one, just pure shrimp on the inside, comes adorned with orange shrimp roe.

Shao Mai come as neat packages of dense pork and crab (it's labelled crab in Chinese, shrimp in English, I'm leaning toward crab), topped with yellow granules of popping crab roe.

Fairly chewy mochi-like shells surround a good ground black sesame filling. The outside is lightly coated with what I thought was ground peanut mixed with sugar.

Dim sum here still has a leisurely pace; there's not much of a crowd and is definitely less of a zoo. The woods and the bright whiteness of the walls, along with a few tasteful chinese paintings, also make the setting a little more elegant and less garnish.

They seem to only serve a standard jasmine tea, so that's my one little quibble. Nobody's perfect. *grin*

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