Dim Sum How To

Here are some tips to make it easy

A weekend dim sum break is a fine way to mark the Chinese New Year. Here are some tips to make it easy:

Do your homework: It doesn't hurt to hop on the web to learn about the more popular offerings at your destination. That way, when they roll around, you'll have a better idea of whether you want to try them.

Bring friends: While dim sum is fine for parties or one or two, it is even better for groups of four, six, or eight. Sharing allows you to sample more dishes, while controlling costs.

Go early to avoid the crowds: For dim sum, it is first come, first served. By noon on a recent Sunday, Li Wah had a line that rivaled the Cheesecake Factory on prom night. Bo Loong is usually less crowded.

Be adventurous (but show restraint): The whole idea of dim sum is to try many different items — even those that appear exotic. That said, you should leave room for what's coming around the bend.

Know when to say "no": Dim sum servers will approach you with everything they have. If something looks good, just point and shoot. If not, simply say "No, thanks" and the server will roll merrily away.

Beware the big dish: Occasionally, servers will walk around the room with special dishes, like a big plate of spicy prawns. While delicious, these items are often two or three times the price of other plates.

Order what you want: If you don't see something you want, just ask for it and someone will bring it around. Likewise, feel free to order items off the regular menu.

Drink tea: Dim sum is as much about sipping tea and chatting as it is about eating. When your teapot runs dry, simply flip the lid to the open position. That's code for a server to replace it with a full pot.

Pay up: The check remains on your table throughout your meal, with servers simply ticking off boxes every time they drop a dish. When your table is done done, simply ask the server to tally the tab for payment. — Trattner

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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