Dim Sum

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 12 No tags Permalink 0


Sunday morning dim sum with the Serious Eats crew…there are few better ways to start your day than by clogging your with arteries with fried crullers wrapped in cheung funn, and doused in sweet shoyu. Make sure to check Robyn’s write up on our morning in this 88 Palace post on Serious Eats…from spare ribs to boiled chicken feet, I think we covered fair ground :)

I’ve only had dim sum at three or four restaurants in this city, but can definitely concluded that dim sum in New York City may as well be another cuisine when compared to dim sum in Hawai’i. Back home, the same dishes, be wu gok or loh mai gai (pictured above), always taste significantly lighter. I could eat a hundred million dan tats and feel just dandy. Less fatty, less rich. Why? I do not know…must be something in the island water.

My grandparents drive from Sandy Beach all the way to Chinatown to start off each morning with dim sum, most often at Tai Pan, but they switch it up with Legends. They have dim sum every single morning. Now I don’t know how often you dim sum, but my stomach would be quite furious with me if I were to stuff it with mochi rice, fried chestnut cakes, and custard baos seven days a week. Granted my grandparents favour steamed dishes – dumplings and vegetables. An impressive feat nonetheless.

Dim sum in LA in a completely separate matter. No small places a la Tai Pan in Honolulu or Dim Sum GoGo here in NYC. Instead, big bustling restaurants…I always feel like I’m on the verge of a heart attack. So much food! The carts most so fast! Aggressive Asian people! A heart attack of the good sort, of course. I always dim sum-ed with relatives living in San Gabriel, relatives fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and everything in between. In LA, we power through these morning meals quicker than you’d imagine, amidst heavy chatter of the big dining halls. The item selection is significantly bigger than NYC or Hawai’i. But in exchange, the food quality is noticeably lower when compared to Hawai’i.

Honolulu is doubtlessly my favourite city to dim sum, I cannot help from comparing every other city to my hometown. Our family visits Shanghai and Hong Kong from time to time, and it is interesting to see the leisurely approach to dim sum in these big cities. My uncle who resides in Hong Kong there, will sit at the table for a solid three to four hours, poring over the day paper and eating each morsel one…by…one…ever…so…sloooowly. Apparently this is how it’s supposed to be done! Shanghai was where I first learned of the gum sah bao, quite literally, The Golden Sand Bao. How glorious is that? I won’t say too much about it because I already have in the past here. If you haven’t tried this before you must spend the rest of your life hunting it down. It’ll change your perception of dim sum foooorever. o_O

Dim sum odd and end post – come to think of it, I didn’t even say anything about 88 Palace. That’s what Robyn’s post is for right? ;) Oh! Here’s a little bit: if you eat at 88 Palace do not leave without a plate or two of the fried mantou shown above. I’ve only seen this dish while dim sum-ing in Asia. So simple, more places ought to serve it. Six plain mantou buns, deep fried to a crisp and served with (what else) a pool of condensed milk! Ahhh, plain goodness ^_^

88 Palace
88 East Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10002
(the East Broadway Mall under the Manhattan Bridge)
(212) 941-8886

12 Comments
  • Darien
    November 30, -0001

    ahhh dim sum!!! i love your comparisons. incredible :)

  • Andi
    October 28, 2008

    You didn’t mention San Francisco which has a wonderful dim sum culture as well :-) I go every Sunday for brunch and love it. Each dumpling is like a tiny little gift – thanks for sharing!

  • K and S
    October 28, 2008

    I’ve had dim sum in Japan, I don’t think they do the carts :(

  • Julie
    October 29, 2008

    Ah, I have not had yum cha since I moved to New York three years ago, except at China Brasserie, which is very expensive. So exciting to go to the 88! Calvin Trillin, I believe, wanted to keep that place a secret, but that is impossible since he gives these New Yorker mag tours. I wish I could hang with you all during your food adventures!!! I truly enjoy both yours and Robyn’s blogs!

  • anonymous
    October 29, 2008

    Dim Sum! I was just in San Francisco for a Sake event and had Dim Sum at Yank Sing. A flurry of carts, $120, and an hour later the 2 of us ate about 16 “dishes”.You’re right about Hawaii though, a completely different experience. No matter where or what I eat I usually compare it to something/somewhere in Hawaii. I can’t believe that your grandparents drive from Sandy’s every day to eat Dim Sum. Must be what keeps them going!Aloha!Alan from Makiki

  • anonymous
    October 29, 2008

    Hey Kathy!Love reading Robyn’s and your blog. It reminds me (in a good way) of my former home in New York. Are you guys going to check out the dim sum places in Flushing?Saw that Kre was with you guys. Any more Bourdain or similar Chef sightings? I think he has magical celebrity chef magnetism powers.

  • tamakikat
    October 30, 2008

    Mmm. Looks so good. Getting the munchies just looking. Will have to dinner now(!) to survive…I wonder if chocolate counts as dinner? Not the same as dim sum but equally satisfying as ready-to-eat food. LOL.

  • KirkK
    October 30, 2008

    Hey Kathy – I enjoyed the comparison of Dim Sum between cities….thanks for pointing them out!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    October 30, 2008

    Hey Andi!Ooo I’ve only had dim sum in SF twice, but I’ll take your word for it…it’s about time I made another vacation west! :) Hey Kat!Aww, carts are definitely part of the experience. Though, with that said, my favourite place back home, Tai Pan, is super tiny and completely cartless ^_^Darien!Thanks! – have fun at dinner tonight! o_OHey Julie!Thanks for your comment! I completely concur on the matter of Chinatown Brasserie – delicious but far too expensive to consider as “dim sum.”Hey Alan!$120 for dim sum?! I hope it was super tasty! I get bothered anytime it costs more than $10/person, hahaha. I do the same with Hawai’i comparisions…must be automatic reflex ^_^Hey David!Thanks! Haha, no celebrity sightings over dim sum, but I’m sure Kare brings good luck! :) Perfect Team Corporation is the only dim sum I’ve had in Flushing, but I hope to add more to our list! :DHey Tamakikat!Chocolate totally counts! Extra points if it’s dark chocolate! o_OHey Kirk!No problem! I wish I had taken more advantage of dim sum in SGV and Rowland Heights whil I was living there!

  • Bajo Seasoned Salts
    October 30, 2008

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  • gourmetbliss
    October 30, 2008

    Dim Sum… I can never eat it in restaurants because I've vegetarian. I think I'll start playing around with my own recipe. =]I was born & raised in Hawaii too.

  • anonymous
    October 31, 2008

    I miss the dim sum back in New York City, now that I am away from home in college. Love your blog!! and by the way, that “fried crullers wrapped in cheung funn” thingy is called jaa leung : )

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