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22 June 2011, 9:00 am One Comment

Search for the Sustainable Source: Alternatives to Bottomless Mimosas

This post was submitted by Kira

c. orientaleast.com

Last week, I received an invite for Dim Sum Sunday Brunch.  I had no idea what Dim Sum meant at the time, but I accepted without hesitation regardless – How could I say no?  Waking up Sunday morning, I immediately regretted my decision to agree to meet at 10:30. What was I thinking?  But, as I dragged myself out of bed around 10:15, craving lo-mien, and thinking what I could perhaps get some at Dim Sum – Chinese, right?

When I finally arrived, I realized that apparently this was the Dim Sum place to be, as the crowd waiting to enter the restaurant filled the sidewalk outside the restaurant. It had opened at 10:30 and after getting our name on the list at 11:30, I think we sat down close to 1:00pm.  (Though, I think that this may be part of their trick — keep the customers waiting, so by the time they actually eat, they are so hungry everything tastes amazing!)

The way Dim Sum was described to me, as we waited for our table was “something like Chinese Tapas.”  It was similar to tapas – a large table sharing small plates.  I think that we ought to eat more meals in this fashion. It can be slightly overwhelming for me because I love to try it each new food that arrives in front of me. I appreciate the acceptance of sharing the food and tasting every flavor.

However, the challenge in this situation is that idea that I was never sure exactly what I was eating. In my Dim Sum experience, there was no menu of options, but the food is carted around the restaurant and the diners need to flag down the staff to get food. These women are efficient and don’t have time to explain what may or may not be in the said dumpling on the plate. I managed to get one-word answers as I pointed: “Pork” or “Shrimp” were the most common.

It was not the most balanced meal, to say the least. Most dishes involved something with rice dough, or fried. The dishes we almost all the same shade of brown or yellow, which went against the rule that a balanced meal should be colorful. There were few vegetables, though I managed to find pickled cucumber and carrots mixed in a slightly unappetizing cuttlefish dish. For the most part, the dishes involved meat, and I think even the tofu dish came with a pork topping.

The best part of going to Dim Sum is not the food, but the experience. We sat in a crowed place, pulling unrecognizable small dishes off of carts. The women cut each dish – dumpling or roll – with a pair of scissors, no, I am not kidding, and then launched into each dish with a pair of wooden chopsticks the minute it hit the table.

I am very glad I went, and I think it is an experience that was worthwhile, if for nothing else but the chicken feet. I really could not say “No” to it. How many times does a dish of chicken feet show up in front of you?  I’ll tell you, this is only the second or third time, and I think I passed the first two.  So, I sucked it up and ate a chicken foot. It didn’t taste bad, but the fact I was eating a chicken foot still bothered me – texturally it was strange.

I am sure I would go again, but only if it was suggested to me, however. I doubt I will suggest it any time in the future. Call me traditional, but next week, I will stick with my Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary for Sunday brunch.

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