Since Manitoba Health released its updated list of restaurants shut down for failing public health inspections, I’m sure you dim sum lovers are wondering where to turn. (If you were previous fans of Kum Koon.)
While some might be deterred to pick up those chopsticks from one case of restaurant laziness, I hope it doesn’t spoil your appetite for those bite-sized steamy and deep-fried delights.
It’s a common misconception (by “Westerners”) that “Chinese food” is heavy and meant for dinner. However, in Southern Mainland China and Hong Kong dim sum is best served for breakfast or brunch shared with family or friends on weekends.
While there are some heavier options to choose from for dim sum, don’t expect to fill up on rice and rich salty, savory dishes.
Dim sum dishes come in many forms. But they’re usually served up bite-sized in steamer baskets and small dishes. Steamed and fried dumplings, steamed and baked buns, rice rolls, and fried spring rolls and seafood are the most common choices. Followed up by sweets such as egg tarts, tofu pudding served with ginger syrup, and thousand-layer cakes. Dim sum (in my opinion) makes for a better breakfast than one of those fancy brunch places you over pay for.
*Note to those with “Western ideals” of food service. The places I’m about to recommend won’t coddle you. They’re here to serve you great food in rapid time. They’re going to seat you fast (and possibly at a big round table with another family,) roll over carts, and probably hate your guts for asking about gluten free/ vegan-friendly/ grass-fed options. So don’t be that person.
3. Southland Resturant, 20-2855 Pembina Hwy.
The south end has many of the best Chinese restaurants in Winnipeg. Southland has some exceptional dinner dishes but also kick-ass at dim sum for breakfast.
On weekend mornings, the serve cart style, meaning carts will roll by your table and ask what you want.
I recommend the golden brown turnip cakes, flaky on the outside and crispy on the inside taro buns and Xaio long bao/ soup dumplings (pork dumplings filled with steaming hot broth).
2. North Garden Resturant, 33 University Crest.
Also in the Southend, close to the University of Manitoba, North Garden is great for morning and night eats.
This is a pick from paper place for dim sum. Instead of carts, you can pick and choose what you’re looking for but not everything they have is on this menu.
I have only every gotten the basics, but it these basics are much better than other basics I’ve had around the city. I say, go for the classics. Steamed dumpings, deep-fried goods and a big bowl of congee (rice porridge).
1. Noodle Express, 277 Rupert Ave. / Sam Po Dim Sum Resturant, 107-180 King St.
Two places in the number one spot? How could that be?
So these places (despite the street names) are exactly across from each other and run by the same owners! They are there own competition, which is a great thing in the downtown dim sum game.
I’ve been going to Noodle Express for years and are my number one go-to.
While the food is the same, the serving style is different for these two places.
Noodle Express is a pick from paper place. It’s a small, constantly busy place, similar to what you’d expect in Hong Kong.
Sam Po Dim Sum is also pick from paper, but on busy weekends they bring out the carts during brunch.
While the basics are great, I’ve come to love the most overlooked items on the menu. Hidden in the “special snack” area of the menu Crispy Bean Roll with Pork and Lobster Rolls are the gems of these joints.
Both these spots have “happy hour.” From 2-10pm most of the dim sum is a quarter or half the price.
Now if you’re hungry. Don’t forget Sunday is just around the corner (tomorrow.) So go get your thrill and fill of some dim sum.