Gimme Sum!

Dim sum: the Chinese way to brunch is delicious anytime.

Little Bird Dim Sum food spread

Little Bird Dim Sum

No part of the battered restaurant industry has suffered as immensely during this past pandemic year as Chinese restaurants across North America—doubly struck, by the economic effects of pandemic shutdowns, and by continued systemic injustices and racist violence towards Asian- Canadian communities.

Now more than ever, it’s time we show our support and love for the stalwart Chinese restaurants in our NEXT Three Cities.

This month, we celebrate the dim sum restaurants that have always been there for us in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

Where to Score Great Dim Sum in Your Town

Vancouver

Little Bird Dim Sum

 

While Little Bird has only been operating for a year, the Lee family has been in the business of serving traditional Cantonese cuisine for more than four generations. Keeping the tradition of yum cha (gathering to drink tea) alive, but reinvigorating it with local craft beer and wine. Little Bird defines itself as a contemporary restaurant serving authentic dim sum.

 

To get the full experience, make sure to try their chive and shrimp dumplings and sticky rice, along with a pint or two of one of their many local brews.

 

2958 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, littlebirddimsum.com

 

Western Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant

 

Western Lake has been providing Vancouverites with tasty and affordable dim sum for over a decade. With a focus on fresh, this restaurant is committed to providing its loyal local crowd with dishes prepared daily with the freshest ingredients. For the full experience, try the award-winning salted, free-range chicken.

 

4989 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, westernlake.ca

 

Kam Wai Dim Sum

 

This takeout-only spot has been serving Chinatown’s hungry lunch crowd since 1990. With humble, hole-in-the-wall takeout beginnings, Kam Wai has transformed into one of the largest dim sum wholesalers in BC. Get there early and beat the lunch rush for a hot bowl of wonton soup or their superior mushroom dumplings.

 

249 Pender St. E, Vancouver, kamwaidimsum.ca

Toronto

Rosewood Chinese Cuisine

 

Rosewood sits in the centre of Toronto’s original Chinatown, Toronto’s go-to spot for all-you-can-eat, all-day dim sum.

 

It wouldn’t be a trip to Rosewood without an order of sticky rice with meat in a lotus leaf and shrimp dumpling soup. Their assortment of cheung fun (rice noodle) rolls are also silky and divine, especially when stuffed with barbeque pork.

 

463 Dundas St. West, Toronto, rosewoodasiancuisine.com

 

Jade Dim Sum

 

Jade Dim Sum is not much to look at from the outside, but their authentic dim sum is unmatched in the area. With reasonable prices and generous portions, Jade is a superb spot for Sunday brunch. Get into a basket of their char sui bao (barebque pork buns), and don’t forget the always succulent beef spare ribs.

 

2280 Dixie Rd., Mississauga

 

Yu Seafood

 

This place is, deservedly, one of the most highly regarded dim sum restaurants north of the 401 (a second location is scheduled to open in Yorkville later this year). This always busy dim sum spot has all the classics, along with some of the freshest and most luxurious seafood. Try the sticky rice stuffed with scallops and the baked BBQ pork buns—10 per cent off if you pick it up.

 

270 West Beaver Creek Rd., Richmond Hill, yuseafood.com

 

Calgary

Central Grand

 

Looking for a more formal dim sum experience? Head to Central Grand for a royal feast. For over 20 years, this upscale Chinese restaurant has been feeding hundreds of guests in their banquet-style dining room. Besides the always fluffy and rich char sui bao (barbeque pork buns), the small dim sum here is definitely worth a try. Go for the deep-fried sesame balls, and an egg custard tart for dessert.

 

295-1623 Centre St. NW, Calgary, centralgrand.ca

 

Silver Dragon

 

The Silver Dragon has been serving authentic Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine in the heart of Chinatown since 1966, and is the longest-standing dim sum restaurant in Calgary. Trained in Hong Kong, the Silver Dragon’s chefs, move out trolleys of traditional dim sum, along with some of the best ginger beef in Canada.

 

106 3 Ave. SE, Calgary, silverdragoncalgary.com

 

Chinese Cultural Centre Cuisine

 

Located downstairs from the Chinese Cultural Centre, this one-of-a-kind dim sum restaurant specializes in seafood and Hong Kong-style dim sum. Come for teatime classics, like the perfectly wrapped har gow and monstrous sui mai shrimp dumplings, as well as the stand-out green peppers stuffed with shrimp paste.

 

88-197 1 St. SW, Calgary, chineseculturalcentrecuisine.com

Sui Mai (Shumai)

Make Sui Mai (Shumai) At Home

Makes: 25-30 dumplings
Prep time: 1 hour
Difficulty level: 6/10
Additional equipment: Parchment paper or steamer liners, bamboo steamer

 

Ingredients
½ pound ground pork
½ pound of shrimp (shelled,
deveined and peeled)
3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 1 hour then drained and finely chopped (replace with water chestnuts for texture if impatient)
1½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp corn starch
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 egg white
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, aka shaoxing wine (substitute: mirin)
1 tbsp minced ginger
20-30 round egg/wonton wrappers

 

Garnish
¼ cup of flying fish or shrimp roe (you can also use finely diced carrots)

 

Make the Filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground pork, sesame oil, and salt, and mix vigorously with a spatula or your hands to break down the pork into a paste.
  2. Chop shrimp into small ¼-inch pieces and add them to the ground pork.
  3. Add in shiitakes, corn starch, sugar, soy sauce, egg white, Chinese cooking wine, and ginger; mix to combine.

 

Wrap Your Dumplings

  1. Line a bamboo steamer with liner or parchment paper (Using parchment paper? Punch a few small holes to let steam release).
  2. Make an “O” with your thumb and forefingers and place the wrapper on the “O.” Add about 1½ tbsp of filling to the centre of your wrapper, and push it down into the “O.” Smooth down the top with a butter knife.
  3. If you are using square wonton wrappers, fold down and smooth the excess wrapper edges using your fingers dipped in 1 tsp of water.
  4. Dip your fingers again to smooth out the creases on the outside of your sui mai.

 

Steam Your Dumplings

  1. Set up your wok or pot (big enough to hold the steamer with about 2 cups of water).
  2. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, place your sui mai in the steamer and cover with the lid. Place the steamer into the wok. If using a plate, put sui mai on the plate, the plate in the pot, and cover.
  3. Steam for about 8 minutes. Looking for an internal temperature of 165 °F.
  4. Remove steamer from wok, remove lid and place a ½ tsp of roe (or carrot) on each dumpling. If using a plate, remove lid and plate. Be careful of the steam when removing lid.
  5. Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!

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