Category Archives: Chinese

Asian Taste

Chinese restaurant in New Albany ohio
Cuisine: Chinese (Shanghainese/Cantonese) & Asian
5505 New Albany Road W, New Albany, OH 43054
614.933.8888 – 614.933.8802 – Fax: 614.939.9800
This is a guest post from our good friend and go-to person for all things Chinese, Choosygourmand. It’s a longer than average write-up, simply because it documents a veritable feast that 8 of us shared with him one evening at this new New Albany Chinese restaurant.
 
As it is with so many serious restaurants around Columbus, don’t be put off by its strip mall location (in the Giant Eagle shopping center north on the New Albany Road exit of Route 161), or its simple decor. Also, its pan-Asian name and menus hide the fact that Asian Taste offers some seriously authentic Shanghainese and Cantonese food.
 
After trying some dishes over a few visits, I invited a group of Chinese and Caucasian foodie friends to be able to sample more of their dinner offerings. We bypassed the standard menu and went directly to the 2 Xeroxed special menus offered by their two chefs. Owner/Chef Wu’s focus is Cantonese, presented on a two-sided typed menu; Chef Cui – a former owner/chef of King’s Garden – offers Shanghai specialties on a hand-written menu.
 
Appetizers:
 
best chinese food in New albany
 
We began with some appetizer dishes. Scallion Pancake ($2.95) was nicely crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The salty/savory/flaky/crispy pancake wedges are a perfect accompaniment for drinks (Asian Taste offers beer). In Shanghai, street vendors sell scallion pancakes piping hot from their food carts as a snack food. Hard to make just right – I keep trying – these were almost as good as the ones that my godmother made for me.
 
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The same type of pancake is offered as a wrap around ham and cilantro, jellyroll style, with a black vinegar and ginger dipping sauce: Scallion Pancake Rolls ($4.50). The toothiness of the ham offered a nice contrast to the crisp chewiness of the scallion pancake. This simple dish is a good example of the Chinese food principle that a dish should stimulate the senses, offering contrasts of sight, texture, aroma, taste, and even sound (crunch!).
 
good chinese food in new albany
 
Soy Duck ($8.95) is characteristic of Shanghai cooking: meat braised until tender in a salty and sweet sauce, the duck’s fat adding the other characteristic component: oil. The duck meat, presented in bite-size bone-in pieces, was succulent and moist, oozing umami.
 
new albany chinese
 
You have to be able to handle fish bones to tackle the Smoked Fish ($8.95), but it’s worth it: beautifully prepared, moist, tender chunks of white pomfret meat and skin with a smoky-salty flavor. Reminded me of what my godmother made for me in her home. Delicious!
 cantonese food in columbus
The Bean Sheet Roll Stuffed Mushroom ($8.95) is a classic vegetarian dish, using sheets of bean curd skin (yuba) to wrap a core of mushrooms, offering Buddhists and other vegetarians the chewy sensations of meat. In this case, enoki mushrooms replaced the traditional Chinese mushrooms and it’s offered as a hot dish in Shanghai braising sauce rather than cold. Very tasty.
 
Shangainese food columbus ohio
Our one cold appetizer was from the Shanghai menu, a dish in Chinese untranslated after the Bean Sheet Roll. It’s a cold salad of Spicy Arctic Surf Clams with cilantro and lettuce ($8.95). The colorful red/orange slices of clam should be familiar to sushi aficionados as Ark Shell Sushi, but the price for the dish was less than 4 pieces of nigiri sushi. Here again, the contrasts are wonderfully apparent, chewy-crunchy with a light spicy-hot sesame oil dressing binding the flavors together. It’s not a traditional Chinese dish, but illustrates the inventiveness of the chefs, willing to take diners to new experiences. I love the sophistication and luxury of this dish!
 
On to main courses!
 
asian taste
 
Dry Tofu & Bamboo with Pork ($8.95) is a characteristically Cantonese stir-fried dish, quickly and simply cooked to let the components tell their story: contrasting colors, textures, and tastes of julienned ingredients, with peppers adding a hot touch to the deliciousness!
 
alt eats columbus, guide to ethnic food Columbus
 
Harmonizing with the crunch of the baby vegetables, Deep Fried Stuffed Shrimp Tofu ($10.95) – in Chinese, “Pei Pa Tofu,” reflecting the lute shape of the tofu balls – provide a crisp fried outer shell surrounding the light, soft tofu and shrimp mixture inside. Another delightfully stimulating composition of contrasting harmony!
 
guide to chinese food columbus
 
Flounder fillet pieces are stir fried in Superior Pickle Sauce Fish ($11.95). Overcooked fish is the bane of most Chinese, but no problem here. The fish is cooked to perfection, providing ethereally light pillows with the crunch of black tree ear fungus, snow pea pods, and artistically carved carrot slices. Another feast for the eyes, mouth, and ears!
Asian Taste restaurant new albany ohio
 
Hot Spicy Squid ($11.95) provides the zing of peppers to the curls of fried squid. The pieces of squid provide a toothier feel than the typical fried squid rings and cooking them properly offered tenderness here instead of rubberiness.
 
3 cup chicken asian taste
 
Three Cup Chicken ($9.95) is another classic preparation. Chunks of bone-in chicken are stewed in equal quantities of sweet soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, and sesame oil (not necessarily an entire cup of each), with sugar and basil leaves. It’s a richly flavored dish – put some of the delicious sauce on rice – but you have to be able to negotiate chicken bones.
 
Authentic chinese food columbus ohio
 
After all that meat, we need a vegetable dish to balance the meal. Always ask what’s fresh that evening. Our server Anita – Chef Wu’s spouse – recommended Chinese You Cai ($8.95), quickly and simply stir-fried with garlic to maintain its crunch and color.
 
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Hong Kong Pan Fried Noodles ($9.95) is another comfort food dish for Cantonese diners and is prepared very nicely here. The crispiness of the outside layer of noodles girds the tender inside layer and is softened by the sauce of the stir fried shrimp, scallops, chicken, pork, snow pea pods, baby corn, carrot slices, and Chinese celery cabbage. This all-in-one dish is a good one to consider if you’re going to order only a couple of dishes because it offers seafood, meat, vegetables, and starch.
 
 
A classic Shanghai noodle dish is Pan Fried Rice Cake ($11.95). It’s a must-have dish around Chinese New Year, because the oval coin-shaped rice cake pieces symbolize pieces of silver, wishing everyone who eats it prosperity during the year. It’s offered year-round as a noodle dish, the rice cakes providing a nice, chewy alternative to wheat or rice noodles. Here, they’re cooked with shrimp, pork, and yellow Chinese chives that provide a mild garlic note.
 
Desserts!
 
Asian taste new albany
 
Most Chinese prefer desserts less sweet than westerners are accustomed to and many of those desserts come in soup form. Jiu Niang Dumplings ($5.95 for a bowl that can serve 2) are small glutinous rice flour dumplings in a sweet broth made from fermented rice, with egg white drops and pineapple. The chewy rice dumplings contrast with the crunchy pineapple and silky egg white pieces.
 
chinese desserts at Asian Taste
 
Sesame balls ($1 each) presented with artistically carved orange wedges. As tempting as it is to dive directly into the seductively crispy, freshly fried sesame balls, always eat the orange wedges before other sweet things, for if you eat the orange second, it will taste sour. (Try it! Take a bite of the orange, then the sesame ball, and then the orange again.) The sesame balls are made from glutinous rice flour and have a lightly sweet red bean filling. When they’re fresh out of the fryer – and piping hot, so be careful as you bite into it! – the sesame layer provides a marvelous crunch that marries perfectly with the chewiness of the sticky rice and the softness of the bean paste. Ah, Chinese comfort food!
 
Somehow, 9 of us managed to consume 16 dishes, an instructional feast of classic and innovative Shanghai and Canton dishes, for under $20 per person.
 
Asian Taste also offers two classic Shanghai/Taiwan breakfast items: Soy Bean Milk (Dou Jiang) and Long Fried Bread Stick (You Tiao). This is the only restaurant in the Columbus area in which I’ve found the “salty” version of Soy Bean Milk: a thick savory soup with little bits of preserved vegetable, dried shrimp, pork, and soy sauce with spicy-hot sesame oil for flavoring. Accompanied by the freshly fried You Tiao torn into pieces and put into the soup, it’s a hearty and comforting start to the day.
 
It’s wonderful that we in Northeast Columbus can now get such a marvelous variety of real Chinese dishes in our own part of town! And it’s worth a trip from elsewhere for those looking to delve deeper into the wonders of Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine.
 

Helen’s Asian Kitchen

Cuisine – Chinese

1070 E. Dublin Granville Rd. 43229
614.987.5121
website

Click here to map it!

In a nutshell, there are 3 things worth knowing about Helen’s:

1) They serve some great Chinese dishes including soup dumplings, the first we’ve encountered in Columbus.
2) As good as Helen’s is, it promises to get better in some interesting and exciting ways.
3) Well… we’ll leave #3 to the end of this write up.

Regarding point #1 – Dumplings are a distinct specialty of the house. There are quite a few on the menu – shao mai (AKA shu mai),  boiled pork, shrimp, and vegetable varieties, and steamed beef.  All of these were enjoyed, with special nods going to the boiled beef dumplings and the Shanghai style shao mai.

But the dumpling we came for was the xiaolong bun (aka xiaolong bao, and spelled either way they’re the aforementioned soup dumplings). They’re the rage in Chinatowns all over the US, and some in our group of 6 had been craving them since visiting China and trying them there. An uneasy mix of anticipation – I want a good soup dumpling! – and dread – these are going to be a disappointment, aren’t they? – lingered at the table.

Xiaolong Bao - Soup Dumplings

And then they arrived. To my eye they didn’t look like anything special, but then again, from my perspective Chinese dumplings rarely do. They’re delicate, and partially filled with a broth, so great care is required in moving them from the steamer basket to your plate without puncturing the wrap and creating a leak. The pros in the group took a small bite out of the wrapper, slurped from the rich broth contained within, and… declared Helen’s soup dumplings a winner.

It’s easy to see why. The broth is unfathomably rich and delicious, and the experience finishes with eating the wrapper and the pork-sausage-like nugget within that’s been marinating in the broth. Absolutely memorable, and a steal at 10 dumplings for $7.50.

Having more than satisfied our dumpling desires, we moved on to a few of Helen’s other dishes. Her crispy pork pan-fried noodles were deemed an excellent example of the genre, and the Chinese broccoli dish made for a satisfying counterpoint to all of the richness that came before.

On to #2 – Good as it already is, Helen made a point of letting us know that her restaurant is a nonetheless a work in progress. House-made noodles are an anticipated addition, Chinese hot pots are a promised future offering, and even dim sum may be in the cards. Some of these additions sound as though they’re related to the impending arrival of Helen’s husband from China.

Alright, now for #3. It a point that seems silly to make much of, but once inside it’s something that’s hard to ignore. Helen’s occupies a large and meticulously clean stand-alone space… that clearly was previously a strip club. Mirrored walls, a stage, and some curious lighting are clear indicators of the building’s previous purpose. Once seated, this may strike you as curious, entertaining, or perhaps even vaguely unsettling, but it won’t go unnoticed and it’ll very likely lead to some lively dinner table conversation.

At least until the food comes out, at which point I feel confident in saying that Helen’s kitchen chops will quickly become the focus. We’re thoroughly enthused by her current offerings, eager to see what’s to come, and highly recommend checking Helen’s Asian kitchen out.

King’s Garden

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CLOSED: 9/30/12

Cuisine: Chinese (Cantonese)

7726 Sawmill Rd, Dublin, OH 43017
(Old Sawmill Square Shopping Center)
Mon – Closed, Tue-Sat 11am – 10pm
Sun – 11am – 9pm

Click here to map it!

King’s Garden has been around for a while, but what caught our attention was an ownership change that shifted the restaurant’s focus from Beijing-style Chinese to Cantonese-style. The new owners have a long history of running solid Cantonese restaurants in Columbus; the husband used to own Shangri-La on Cleveland Ave., the wife’s family use to own Wong Gei on campus, and her brother runs Yau’s on south campus.

Our eating team dove right into menu and test-drove some classic Cantonese dishes.

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Congee is rice cooked down with water at a very low temperature until it has a creamy consistency. This is usually served for breakfast and it cooked with different savory items like chicken, beef and etc. The version above is made with century/preserved eggs and pork. It was cooked to the right consistency and the subtle sweetness of the meat and congee was punctuated with the slight pungent taste of the century eggs.

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The pickled vegetable with shredded pork noodle soup usually comes with rice vermicelli noodles but this version came with the heartier wonton egg noodles. It was very satisfying with its salty, porky broth.

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This vegetable and pork noodle soup is different from the one above as this soup is thickened by eggs. The soup was velvety and the combination of the vegetables with the pork gave the dish a subtle umami taste.

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The seafood pan fried noodle was a welcome change after all the soft texture of the previous dishes. The noodle is quickly deep fried and placed at the bottom of the plate to be covered in a wonderful soy/oyster corn-flour thickened sauce.  The sauce will slightly soften the noodles but not completely so that you can have a wonderful combination of soft and crunchy texture.

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Normally I would never order fried rice in in Columbus because it almost always comes out to be a soggy oily mess. King’s Garden’s fried rice is the exception. This salted fish with chicken fried rice was the epitome of wok hei and skill of the chef. Every single grain of rice was enveloped by the heat of the wok resulting in a non oily and flavor packed dish. I can now rest in fried rice/wok hei peace in Columbus.

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If you enjoy tendons and brisket, the beef stew pan fried noodle is a must order. The tendons and brisket has been braised for hours turning them into buttery meat goodness and is a great companion to the pan fried wide rice noodles.  If tendons are not your cup of tea, you can order either the beef stir fried noodle or beef rice noodle with black bean sauce.

We were all extremely happy with the quality of food and pleasant service. The only downside for most of us is that this place is not in our neighborhood. For those who live in Dublin, this place should be your go-to Cantonese restaurant.

Fortune Chinese Restaurant


Cuisine: Chinese (Sichuan)

2869 Olentangy River Road, next to Buckeye Bar & Grill
(614) 263-1991
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday and Saturday, 11am-11pm

Click here to map it!

After hearing mixed reviews about Fortune’s new ownership from friends and readers, we ventured to this unassuming storefront on a gray weekday and had an utterly transformative lunch. We had heard that the new owners were concentrating on Sichuan cuisine and we sought dishes with the classic mouth numbing Sichuan peppercorn. For the uninitiated, the heat of Sichuan peppercorns doesn’t translate exactly to the Scoville scale; instead, the spice numbs the lips and tongue creating a unique sensation. In Chinese, this numbing spiciness is referred to as ma la. We’ve had some great Sichuan dishes around town, most notably some items in the Imperial Garden Weekend Buffet, but Fortune has the most successful and faithfully reproduced versions of typical Sichuan dishes.

We started off with two bowls of dan dan noodles (one bowl is plenty to share between two people). This quintessential Sichuan dish has been butchered up and down by Americanized noodle shops and we were a little disappointed to see that it came with egg noodles and not the typical thin flour noodle. By the second bite, we had forgotten the noodle and were completely wowed by the flavors. Drenched in chili oil and liberally sprinkled with crisp peppercorn flakes, the ground pork and peanut toppings contributed to the overall flavor and we were substantially impressed. In no time at all, our sinuses were clearing up and our mouths were totally numb.

Another dish we couldn’t refrain from ordering was the lamb with chili pepper and cumin. Since the capital of Sichuan, Chengdu, is one of the end points of the Silk Road, Middle Eastern flavors such as cumin is very common in Sichuan cuisine. For this specialty dish, we were expecting lamb that was a little bit more dehydrated but with tender pieces of lamb and aggressive spicing, we weren’t complaining at all. The copious amounts of sliced garlic and green onions rounded out the flavors and Angela declared it near perfect.

I was tickled pink when I noticed Sliced Beef in Fresh Hot Pepper. It’s one of my favorite Sichuan dishes and pairs perfectly with nothing more than a bowl of steamed rice. It’s really a one bowl meal: layers of napa cabbage, tender beef slices, and sometimes mung bean noodles all the way at the bottom. And despite its thick layer of chili oil, it’s not really that spicy, but very pronounced in ma la flavor. This dish also comes in a fish version and we can’t wait to try it!

Ma po Tofu is another classic Sichuan dish that is often poorly executed elsewhere. This wholly vegetarian dish was the best version we’ve tried in town. Liberally sprinkled with cumin and peppercorns, the silken tofu was further complemented by garlicky thick cut leeks.

This photo sums up our selection of classic Sichuan dishes, heavy on red chili oil and utterly delicious.

To round out our meal, we also shared a simple dish of pea shoots stir fried with garlic. Even in the best of kitchens, delicate leafy greens are so hard to execute consistently. At Fortune, the leaves were just barely cooked through, the stems still had a nice crispness, and it was not too oily. A true indicator of great skill.

On our way out, we noticed that the new management had posted signs of their house specialties. We did well by ordering three of the eight, and we can’t wait to come back to try more! Left column, translated: Beef Tripe with Hot Pepper Sauce, Ma La Dried Beef (Beef Jerk with Red Chili Sauce), Diced Rabbit in Chili Oil, Ma La Beef Tendon (Beef Tendon with Red Chili Sauce). Right column: Ma Po Tofu, Fish Filet in Hot Pepper, Cold Beef with Spicy Sauce, Dan Dan Noodles.

Imperial Garden, Weekend Buffet


2950 Hayden Road
Columbus, OH 43235
614-799-8655
www.imperialgardenoh.com
Buffet available Saturdays and Sundays 11:30am to 2:00pm

Click here to map it!

The folks here at alt.eats would like to issue a formal apology to our readers: we’ve been holding out on you and we’re really sorry. The weekend buffet at Imperial Garden is so extensive, it required several repeat visits before we could coherently write about it. Every time we go, we spend too much time eating, and too little time taking pictures and notes. For a comprehensive list of buffet offerings, take a look at, our friend, ChoosyGourmand’s blog post.

We like to start in the back room, where the spread consists of soups, snacks, and desserts. There are always three soup options, a salty soup of the day (such as fish with pickled mustard greens), an unsweetened fresh soy milk, and a sweet red bean soup. There are also a dim sum items like sesame balls, noodles, dumplings, and fried crullers. We like to save the sweet red bean soup and fried mochi sesame balls filled with peanut paste for the end of our meal. A note for the uninitiated: the sesame balls are very popular so keep an eye out for them or they will be gone before you blink!

Don’t fill up in the back room because the double steam tables in the front room is where all the goodies are! Since Rod has done such a great job documenting each dish, we’re just going to highlight our favorites. Above, clockwise from top: braised beef tendon with bamboo shoots, roast duck, julienne pressed tofu with bamboo shoots and pork, braised beef with turnips.

Salt and pepper crispy shrimp. “Salt and pepper” is a common preparation method for fried squid and pork chops. These shrimp are excellent and can be eaten whole or peeled.

Perhaps my favorite item of the entire buffet is this Sichuan peppercorn fish filet. It’s made with chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns which gives two layers of heat, front end spiciness from the chili oil and tongue numbing spiciness from the Sichuan peppercorns.

Pig ear and wilted romaine salad dressed in a delicious sesame and chili oil sauce.

Mapo tofu with pork intestine. This is an unconventional take on mapo tofu which is usually ground pork stir fried with cubed silken tofu and chili oil sauce.

Tender baby octopus (or squid) stir fried with celery.

The buffet offerings at Imperial Garden are not for the faint of heart but less adventurous eaters can eat very well. There is always white rice, rice vermicelli, stir fried bok choy, and two soups at the front of the buffet. In addition, the salt and pepper chicken wings, Japanese eggplant, and northern styled julienne potato (naturally crispy) are delicious alternatives to the more unfamiliar dishes. Most menu items are in the buffet and at about $13 per person, the buffet pricing is a bargain for its variety and quality.

Golden Delight Bakery


1516 Bethel Road
Columbus, OH 43220-2004
614-459-6888
www.goldendelightbakery.net
Tuesday-Sunday 8:30am-6:00pm, closed Monday

Click here to map it!

If you are exploring the Bethel Road area for an alt.eats adventure, a great place to satisfy a sweet tooth is Golden Delight Bakery. Known far and wide amongst many ethnic communities for their light and fluffy fresh Strawberry Cake, this Chinese (by way of the Philippines) bakery also offers a dizzying array of individually sized sweet and savory treats.

The cakes are Golden Delight are less like cake and more like a pillow-y souffle complemented by an equally light whipped icing. For a quotidian treat, cake rolls are $7.95 and for special occasions (weddings included!), cakes range from a diameter of six inches to large sheets. The fresh strawberry cake is the most popular but there are other flavors such as mango mousse, mocha cappuccino, and taro.

Golden Delight offers a myriad of Cantonese styled pastries great for a breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack. Above left is a coconut pastry with yeasty, lightly sweet bread swirled with light caramel and toasted coconut flakes. Above right is a hot dog supreme, a sweeter take on pigs in a blanket.

Of course, there is also the quintessential barbecue pork pastry. Golden Delight has two varieties, the fluffy steamed bun, and the above, a braided pastry filled with sweet and savoury barbecue pork. These are addictive!

At a little over a dollar a piece, there’s no reason not to stock up on the small buns, a couple more: above left, ham and egg, with a generous squeeze of mayo; above right, melon (which doesn’t actually contain melon), filled with a light custard and is named for the sweet crumb topping. If they are available, definitely try a taro bun!

In addition to its exhaustive list of pastries, Golden Delight also offers steamed buns (veggie, pictured above, sweet red bean, pork, pork and mushroom). As a testament to how popular these buns were, we were only able to snag a veggie bun. Filled with rice vermicelli, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, and generously seasoned with black pepper, it was both satisfying and delicious! If you have any room left, don’t forget to pick up a couple cream puffs, egg tarts, almond cookies, and sweet loaves of yeasty bread (mixed with cinnamon raisin, coconut, taro, or red bean).

It’s impossible to go wrong with any of these delicious treats. There is always a steady stream of business for cake orders and snack buns. Two of us here at alt.eats may have polished off an entire six inch strawberry cake, without sharing. And others of us may have scarfed four pastries in one sitting, in the name of taste testing. Yes, these baked goods inspire immoderate nomming and we aren’t one bit ashamed of it.

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant and Lounge

dim sum in columbus, oh

Cuisine: Chinese

7370 Sawmill Road, Columbus 43225
614.764.7888
www.columbussunflower.com
For dim sum cart experience: Saturday & Sunday 11am-3pm

Click here to map it!

If you are looking for an alternative to your usual brunch of eggs, bacon and pancakes, might we suggest trying some dim sum. Dim sum is an assortment of small plates of savory and sweet things dishes or sometimes the combination of both. We won’t go into too much details regarding a how-to of dim sum since Columbus Alive did a pretty good write up with some help from the crew here at Alt Eats.

best dim sum columbus ohio
One of the more authentic dim sum experiences in Columbus can be found at Sunflower. Most of the food is served via trolley; to order just wave the trolley lady over and order by pointing at the various plates and steamers.

dim sum at sunflower columbus

Char siu pau (left) is a steamed bun filled with chinese bbq pork. This can also come in a baked form (the exterior will be brown). Sunflower’s char siu pau meets the basic criteria of fluffiness and the balanced sweetness of the pork. The other two things that you will see on every table are siu mai (center) and har gau (right). Siu mai is a steamed dumpling that is made out of minced pork and a little bit minced shrimp encased in a wonton like wrapper but the top is exposed and usually topped with some crab or shrimp roe. There is a beef version of the siu mai, but you have to specify beef because the default for siu mai is pork/shrimp. The har gau is shrimp encased in the delicate rice flour dough that becomes translucent when it is steamed so that you can actually see the shrimp through the wrapper.


dim sum sunflower columbus ohio

The ‘must have’ at Sunflower is the fried cheung fun (left). It is steamed rice crepes that have been rolled into a cylindrical shape and then pan fried with  some sweet soy sauce. The combination of crispy, soft, sweet and salty is amazing. The steamed version of this is stuffed with either pork or shrimp. Other fried dim sum options are the fried mochi dumpling also known as ham sui gok (center). The exterior is made out of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and them rolled out like a dough. This is stuffed with pork and mushrooms and then deep fried. To the far right of the pictures above is the wu kok or yam pastry. This crispy dumpling is yam stuffed with the same pork and mushroom filling as the ham sui gok. The difference is that that outer coating of this dumpling is very crispy due to the bird nest like breading and it uses yam as an encasement for the filling.

sunflower dim sum

Other typical dishes are the fried radish cake (lor bak ko), which is shredded radish combined with lap cheong (chinese air dried waxed sausage) and steamed into a cake. Then it is cut into rectangular sliced and pan fried on the griddle (pictured above). Below is Lor ma kai, a steamed package of rice with chicken, mushroom and chinese sausage encased in a lotus leaf. The filling varies by restaurants.

rice in lotus leaf, dim sum

If you are feeling adventurous, try the foong jow (chicken feet). It is deep fried first to get the skin and tendons to puff up away from the bones and then it is braised an sweet and salty combination of salted black bean, fermented bean paste and soy sauce. There is no dainty way of eating this, just suck the skin and tendons free from the bones, spit the little bones out and repeat.

Sunflower offers probably the best replication of an authentic dim sum experience in terms of both food and ambiance. There may be a dish or two that is of better quality at other  dim sum locations but for overall breadth of dishes and quality, Sunflower comes out on top.

Note: Dim sum is not vegetarian friendly as most products have either pork or shrimp in them.