Best Dim Sum
Dim sum is a Chinese tapas-style brunch or lunch consisting of small plates that are meant for sharing, usually served between 10 am and 2 pm. Read on for tips on how to make the most of your dim sum experience in Richmond, and learn about 10 popular dim sum dishes!
Top dim sum spots fill up quickly and can have long lines during the lunch rush, so plan to go early or make a reservation. The small plates are meant to be shared, so going with a group is your best bet. A simple rule of thumb is to order two-to-three dishes per person.
The tradition of dim sum originated in the ancient teahouses along the Silk Road in Southern China, so tea is an integral part of the experience. Jasmine is often the default that comes with dim sum unless specified otherwise. As per Chinese custom, pour your neighbour’s tea (not your own), and keep the spout pointing away from diners. When the tea needs a refill, flip the lid upside down on top of the pot.
Many restaurants feature English menus with photos of the dishes and have English-speaking staff, but if you think you’ll get stuck, just bookmark this page! And keep in mind that some restaurants are cash only, particularly on Food Street.
10 Dim Sum Dishes to Try
- Har Gow/Shrimp Dumpling: Steamed shrimp in translucent, slightly chewy wrappers.
- Char Siu Sou/BBQ Pork Pastry Puff: Flaky pastries with meat inside mix sweet with savoury.
- Siu Mai/Pork and Shrimp Dumpling: Cantonese open-faced dumplings of pork and shrimp garnished with crab roe or diced carrot.
- Chee Cheong Fun/Rice Noodle Roll: Flat rice noodles that come with barbecued pork, shrimp, Chinese doughnut, or chicken inside. Be sure to pour soy sauce on top before serving.
- Gai Lan/ Chinese Broccoli: Fresh, thick stalks often roasted in garlic sauce.
- Lo Bak Gou /Pan-Fried Chinese Turnip Cake: A Cantonese specialty. Well-seasoned squares of pan-fried radish or turnip taste similar to fried potato.
- Lo Mai Gai /Sticky Rice Steamed in Lotus Leaves: Seasoned rice with meat in the middle (pork, chicken or shrimp) that’s wrapped in lotus leaves.
- Dan Tat /Egg Tarts: Baked flaky pastry crust filled with egg custard - eat them while they’re still warm!
- Xiao Long Bao (XLB)/Soup Dumpling: Thin-wrapped dumpling filled with hot soup and pork. XLB is only available at Shanghainese-style dim sum restaurants and each one does it a bit differently.
- House Specialty or Chef’s Special: Most restaurants will have a signature dish, so don’t be afraid to ask for an order of the chef’s specialty.