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Monday, September 19, 2011

How Do You Order Dim Sum? Early and Assertively

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 8:24 AM


In a city whose dim sum restaurants and brunch spots are equally slammed on Sunday mornings, most San Franciscans like to claim inside knowledge of where to find the best steamed rice noodles and har gow. This week on Eatocracy, New York restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld, trained in both French and Chinese kitchens, gives advice on how how to improve the quality of your dim sum, even at your favorite restaurants.

Some of his advice is basic, like "don't fear the check-off menu" and "you get the best stuff on weekends." But Schoenfeld has a number of good suggestions. For instance, go early: "Most large Cantonese restaurants that feature dim sum have two teams of chefs: the 'cooking' chefs who work the woks, and whose day starts at 10 to 11 a.m., and the dim sum chefs, who arrive at sunrise and finish up by mid-afternoon." Ergo, the master dumpling makers will be wrapping up their shift by lunch.

And he suggests that you keep your eye not on the roving carts but on the food runners who carry trays of steamers out to refill the carts -- jump out of your seat, follow them, and bring your check to stamp. It's that kind of go-getter attitude that is going to get you the freshest scallop and pea-sprout dumplings.

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