If you’ve never sat and had dim sum served from carts being pushed through the isles between tables and booths in a Cantonese restaurant, then you don’t know dim sum. I didn’t know dim sum but I had an idea of what I was missing.
Perhaps a level of hype was involved with my anticipation of what I was to expect, but dim sum cuisine didn’t seem to do anything for me. Yes, different flavors and different textures, but mostly simple flavors all contained within mostly the same textures that are stuffed and steamed in a gummy type of rice skin; or boiled meats in their own reasonably savory juices and sauces. Yes, there were the BBQ pork “steamed buns” that I had heard and learned about. I was happy to see a small bowl of Chinese chili oil brought out. I tried everything before dipping it in the chili oil; anything to help kick the rather simple savory foods up a notch.
I have to account for the fact that I mostly didn’t know what to order, and the very thick Chinese dialects being spoken and broken at this restaurant between the small amounts of comprehensible English didn’t help things. I trusted the nice staff as I have trusted many nationals throughout the world in my travels while in the Navy. Then again, I’ll try most anything. “You try”, the servers would say . . . Ok, I’ll try. When I asked for just vegetables, they again served me another stuffed, sticky rice skin thing I had yet to figure out how to get out of the steamer pot with chop sticks. It’s like everything was glued to the pot bottom. A moderately expensive experiment as everything I tried got another jot down on the dim sum tally sheet.
Dim sum in San Diego at Jasmine Seafood Restaurant was an experience; although I will probably reserve my next dim sum adventure for a time where I can follow the lead of someone who has more experience with this sort of cuisine.