Double Dim Sum
Of the Chinese restaurants offering this signature meal, a few stand out
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, November 7, 2004
A COUPLE OF MEALS into my tour of area dim sum restaurants, it became clear: There's a sameness to most of the scripts. Everyone serves shrimp dumplings, beef-filled rice noodles and baked barbecued pork buns, and everyone follows them with egg custard tarts. The menu at Good Fortune in Wheaton reads like a lot of the competition, but execution is what nudges the 14-year-old restaurant, which employs three dim sum chefs, ahead of the pack. (Note: Carts are used only on weekends.)
For the most part, this is cooking with finesse. Spring rolls show up hot and crisp. Dumpling wrappers are sheer and light, pretty as porcelain, their ground shrimp centers subtly sweet. And 8-Treasure Sweet Rice in Lotus Leaves is not just poetry on paper; buried within the mound of sticky rice are goodies such as mushrooms, Chinese sausage and chicken, and the grains take on the fine, slightly nutty fragrance of the lotus leaves they're bound in. Here's the place to try ribbony tripe, garnished with scallions, as well as shrimp paste wrapped in a spindly web of fried taro root. Green beans retain a welcome crispness, while barbecued pork finds a nice home in big, soft, yeast-redolent buns.
All this good eating takes place in two large rooms that look like fast-food outlets, save for a few token Chinese knickknacks, but whose servers go about their work with slightly more gentility, and more civilized pacing, than the competition.