Thirteen of us (including one chow-puppy who arrived well-prepared with her own dim sum “research” materials and several family members who, while they don’t post on the Boards, are certainly chowhounds in heart and spirit) gathered at Jun Bo in Richfield, MN on a soggy Saturday for dim sum. Perfect weather for a bit of tea!
That was a bit of confusion early on—our reservations (which I made about a month ago and confirmed twice this week, including the day before the chowdown) were for 9:30am; however, when I arrived at 9:15am, the expansive black-top parking lot was deserted, and the laser-printed sign on the door clearly indicated that they weren’t open until 10am on Saturdays.
In spite of my immediate flash of horror that I had failed twelve of my fellow chowhounds and my overwhelming urge to flee and never be heard from again, I went to the back (kitchen entrance) of the building where the staff was busily preparing for their day and found someone who told me that they changed their hours. (The Manager—who didn’t arrive until 10:30 or so later explained apologetically they didn’t have my phone number.) My suspicion is that they don’t actually take reservations for dim sum (and therefore didn’t bother to check the reservation book when they changed their hours) and just humored me and gave me one because I insisted on making one.
They did open their doors and let us in early, and plied us with plenty of tea (eleven pots!), which they graciously comped. Thankfully, my fellow chowhounds (who were all regretfully prompt) were good sports (up for anything!) and swapped their favorite chow stories over tea until the dim sum carts started rolling out at about 10:15.
We tried about a zillion dishes, which I will do my best to name, and then ask my fellow ‘hounds to jump in add in anything I missed, and then add their impressions, and note their favorites and disappointments. I’ll confess, I don’t remember many of my own impressions of the food, as my overwhelming memory is my anxiety over being responsible for having a bunch of 'hounds and their guests wait 45 minutes for something to eat, while the phone at the hostess desk rang maddeningly in the background.
The meal came to an astonishingly affordable $175.00, including gratuity (automatically added) and tax. (Remember, the tea was comped.)
Our initial plan was to test the same “standard” dishes the San Francisco ‘hounds tested during the dim sum civil war:
har gaw (steamed shrimp dumplings)
shui mai (pork dumplings)
braised spareribs in black bean sauce (although, we wondered if what we had was really garlic sauce)
braised chicken feet
shrimp rice noodle rolls
deep fried taro balls
Baked custard tarts
We tried all of that and more:
Steamed smooth egg custard bun
Steamed lotus seed bun
Fried pork dumpling
Crispy spring roll
Baked pineapple bun
Steamed roast pork buns
Fried sticky rice w/pork and peanuts
Beef rice roll
Chinese broccoli (with black bean sauce?)
Bell pepper stuffed with shrimp
7717 Nicollet Av. S.
Thank you, everyone, for your patience and adventurous spirits. I will definitely try to arrange another dim sum chowdown --maybe Mai Village or Mandarin Kitchen--so we can compare and contrast.
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