It was Easter Sunday, and I wanted to eat breakfast like I would if I were with family. So I trekked out to Kirin Court in Richardson for dim sum.
There's a lot going on during dim sum, carts racing around the dining room with waiters hawking their goods (usually in Chinese) and dish after dish of unfamiliar fare. I've been eating dim sum all my life, and there are still some dishes that I've never had. So for the wary diner, I present a dim sum primer based on this most recent experience. And don't judge, I didn't eat all of this alone.
Wu gok A deep-fried taro dumpling stuffed with ground pork. Crispy and greasy, it would probably be the most successful dim sum dish at the state fair.
Har gow Yes! That is shrimp inside! A dim sum staple. Be gentle with the delicate skin when plucking it out of the container.
Pan-fried turnip cakes Misleading because it's actually made with radish, it has a crisp exterior with a soft interior, and tastes great with some chili oil and soy sauce.
Chicken Feet Don't be afraid, just start toe first and don't swallow anything that could be a choking hazard. You should have a nice little pile of bones on your plate when you're done.
Cheung fan Wide rice noodles rolled with shrimp inside and then doused with soy sauce. Soft and savory, it's like a pillow you want to eat. They come filled with pork and beef too.
Pot stickers Everyone knows these dumplings. Order them for the less adventurous folk at your table.
Needed something green to convince myself I was trying to be healthy; it didn't help that the vegetation was covered in sodium-laden oyster sauce.
Siumai Another dim sum essential. Steamed pork and mushroom filling busting out of the dough wrapper. It can be tricky trying to corral one of these guys with chopsticks, so just do what I do and impale it.
Steamed tripe Steamed with ginger, the pieces of tripe are moist, tender, and aromatic. I don't need to sell it to you. More for me.
Xiao long bao Aka soup dumplings. Be mindful of the "soup" sealed within -- you don't want to spill it all over your plate or, even worse, your face. I usually nip the top and suck out all that good stuff before taking a proper bite.
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Pork spare ribs Steamed with black beans. I pop the entire nugget of meat and bone, dripping with fat and juice, into my mouth. Obviously, discard the bone.
Egg tart I'm not usually one to flag down dessert during dim sum, but this is what I would go with if my hand were forced. Flaky crust with a creamy custard filling, you really can't go wrong.