Friday, January 30, 2009

Meal on Wheels

Welcome to a new feature at Fosco Lives!: Foodie Friday. A whole day every week to talk about food. Will it be enough? We'll see.

This is a post dedicated to one of Fosco's very favorite eating experiences: dim sum. In Cantonese, dim sum literally means "a million little pieces." If you've never had dim sum, you're in for a treat someday. Basically, you sit and drink delicious hot tea while Chinese ladies wheel carts of Chinese appetizers past you. Any time you want something, you just point to it and you get to eat it! And you can do it all morning! Then later, when you're completely stuffed, you receive an inexplicably high bill that seems to bear no relation to the food you ate. It's a pretty amazing experience.

Fosco and Oz go about once a month on Sunday morning to their favorite dim sum restaurant, San Francisco's famous Yank Sing. Yank Sing has a lovely website that has a gorgeous gallery of dim sum items (although not all of our favorites appear). We tend to get Yank Sing's signature Shanghai dumplings, potstickers, spring rolls, steamed bao, sticky rice, turnip cake (Fosco's favorite), and one or three other items depending on our mood. And, of course, Fosco has to have an egg custard tart and mango pudding for dessert. It's better than church!

SFGate ran a feature on SF's dim sum houses this week, finding 46 of them in the area. Yank Sing reviewed well, of course (their Shanghai dumplings are accurately described as "the stuff of dreams"). The SFGate piece also offers some advice for enjoying dim sum for the first time, but not all of it is correct. For example, the SFGate's expert suggests that you should

Order one thing at a time. Although it's tempting to grab everything that looks good as the carts roll by, Chiang recommends getting one item at a time. Finish your first dish before moving on to the next. "I like to eat it in courses," she says. "That way, everything stays hot," which, she explains, is the most important thing when eating dim sum. Nobody likes a cold dumpling.
This is wrong, of course. The key to a satisfying dim sum experience is to grab as much as you can every time a cart goes by. If you don't have 4-5 dishes on your table, then you're not doing it right. And you don't have to worry about the food getting cold as long as you eat it fast enough. Hint: conversation is what you do after lunch.


Jeremy said...

Yay, turnip cake is my favorite too. (Well, one of them.) And I'm going to Hong Kong in a month!

By the way, the best place in SF for egg tarts is universally acknowledged to be Golden Gate Bakery -- try it if you haven't been there. The other pastries are good too.

FOSCO said...

Yay, a trip to the Kong!

Thank you for the delicious tip on egg tarts. I will go now.