Last week's Family Out review said that parking was available in the Wheaton Center lot next door to the Tung Bor restaurant. Parking is available in the lot only on weekends and after 5 p.m. during the week. Cars parked in the lot before 5 p.m. on weekdays will be towed.
Atmosphere: attractively decorated Chinese ambience; large family-style tables in side dining room.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday; 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Dim sum served from opening to 3:00 p.m. every day including Sunday.
Price range: For dim sum, nothing higher than $1.75.
Reservations: First come, first served. Sundays are crowded.
Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa.
Special facilities: Parking in Wheaton Center lot adjacent to restaurant; three steps to front door present difficulty for handicapped; booster chairs but no high chairs available; cocktail menu and carryout.
Tung Bor is named -- and appropriately so -- for a Chinese poet who wrote about good food and drink. The food that comes from Tung Bor's kitchen is good enough to make even nonliterary patrons wax poetic.
It also is our family's favorite Chinese restaurant -- and second only to the ubiquitous and un-Chinese golden arches when our kids ask to be taken out.We have had many a happy dinner at Tung Bor, but had never taken the kids to lunch there until a recent Saturday. We had every reason to do so, since every day from opening until3:00 p.m., Tung Bor produces what it does best: dim sum.
Dim sum are Chinese pastries, soft or crisp, stuffed with imaginatively delicious fillings, steamed or deep fried. Dimsum may take the form of a dumpling with a savory pork center, shrimp wrapped in a soft noodle or a crispy fried wonton, laced with sweet syrup. Spring rolls are the most commonly recognized dim sum.
Chinese enjoy these delicacies mid-to late afternoon in a kind of Oriental version of high tea. The variations in dim sum seem infinite, and Tung Bor offers 36 different kinds, both savory and sweet. Luckily, there are too many to try at one sitting. Your family will have to go more than once before you find out which are your favorites.
On Sunday, crowd control is a problem at Tung Bor, when lines of people fill the foyer of the restaurant. But on Saturday afternoon, we had no problem getting a table. In fact, our whole visit was an unqualified success, and avery reasonable tab. Furthermore, eating dim sum is casual, communal and much more fun than an ordinary family meal out.
Weekdays, a waitress will hand you a long pink flyer so that you may check off the dim sum you want. A waitress then will serve them to you.
On weekends, however, you will be left with a tally sheet on your table. Waitresses tourthe restaurant and stop at each table with tea carts filledwith huge baskets of steamed dim sum and plates of fried and sweet varieties.
The waitress will check the appropriate price on your tally sheet for the item you take, which allows you to keep an eye on your bill. Boxes indicate the four possible prices for the dim sum you choose: $1.10, $1.25, $1.50 or $1.75.
You stop selecting items from the carts when you have spent all your money or can't eat another bite,whichever comes first. Since practically all dim sum cost no more than $1.25, you can feast for less than $5 per adult-sized appetite, drinks and tax included.
On the Saturdaywe were there, we were surrounded by Asian families with children of all sizes. Their children and ours seemed to enjoy dim sum as much as their parents. These were the biggest hits: Tung Bor's spring rolls, which put other egg rolls to shame. Filling is placed inside a paper-thin wrapper, rolled and deep fried to perfect crispness. The waitress cut ours in thirds so there were more pieces to share. Fried shrimp and meat dumplings looked like simple turnovers, but were far better -- the filling moist and delicious, the covering crisp and greaseless.
Shrimp rice noodle crepe is fairly simple but intriguing because it really is something in between a noodle and a crepe although softer and lighter in texture than either. Try the varieties of steamed meatballs like shiu mai, all with different texture and flavors. Or tarodumpling, finely shredded potato, shaped into a ball arounda soft filling, then deep fried to a finely crisp surface.
For desert, we indulged in egg custart tarts, a velvety cream in a fine light crust which is as good as we have eatenanywhere.