First of all, I hope everyone who reads these posts has experienced the delightful meal known as dim sum! But, in the event the reader is unfamiliar with it, dim sum is often referred to as Hong Kong style brunch (although some restaurants serve it during evening hours). It involves small portions of delectable dumplings, rice balls, and other treats served family style, that is, meant to be shared with everyone at the table. Dim sum is one of my favorite things! David and I have enjoyed dim sum in many places, including: Boston (the first place where I had it), New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Orlando, Gainesville, Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, London, and Sydney (yes, the one in Australia). In fact, we often search for Chinese restaurants that serve dim sum when we are traveling. Many times, it is one of the highlights of our travels. It’s just fun! We have taken many people out for their first dim sum meal. Some people “get it,” while others, sadly, do not. For example, some of our adventurous dim sum companions went so far as ordering steamed chicken feet! These good sports were braver than I! Other people have complained about having to share food, asked too many questions like, “What’s this I’m eating? How can you be sure I will like it?” thereby ruining the joy we are trying to bring to their lives. David and I have our favorite dim sum places. During the fabulous month we spent in Hawai’i, we enjoyed dim sum at Legends Seafood in Honolulu as many times as we could. I would have to say that’s my favorite dim sum restaurant, merely because of its location, not to mention the excellent food. My advice to the uninitiated: Keep an open mind, go with a dim sum pro (David and I will be delighted to take you!), and don’t worry if you can’t use chopsticks. A fork will be gladly provided to you!
I was introduced to dim sum by some Aussies in 1985. A group of them took me to their favorite spot in Sydney’s Chinatown. I think it was on George Street, but though Melissa and I found it on one of our trips to Sydney, I fear it is no longer there. It was an upstairs spot, 2nd floor, and as I think of it, many big city dim sum restaurants are upstairs for some reason. Dim sum is also sometimes called dim sim and yum cha. Whatever the variant, I love it. That first time the Aussies went all out ordering things to try. They ordered the chicken feet, maybe to shock me, I don’t know. But, I went along and tried it. That was not, and, is not, for me. I do recall it was one of the hottest things I’ve ever tasted – I should have noticed the chilis but, such things were new to me then. One of the group had lived in Vietnam and eagerly ate the portions I left behind. I ventured back to that location and others many times while living in Australia that year. But, upon returning home to Jacksonville, FL, I could not find anything similar. Only when Melissa and I moved to Atlanta in 1989 did I find it again. And, as she started traveling as a trial consultant, she had the opportunity to dine on dim sum on those travels. When we started working and traveling together, it became one of those things to do while on a work or vacation trip. It became something to hunt, to seek. We’ve been given many good recommendations for dim sum while on the road; south Florida has some great spots. Rarely has it disappointed. Most of the dining rooms are visual treats also. Some of the dining rooms/banquet halls are huge! One in NYC was having a contest of some sort during one visit and all types of dishes were brought in and displayed. The hunt for, and enjoyment of dim sum, is one of our favorite things! Share your favorite spots – we’ll try them someday.