Dumping a NEW Dumpling Column

 

Aeron Lo

   We’ve set out to expand our cultural culinary exposure, naturally forcing some of the Perennial editorial staff to try different types of dumplings. Our fascination with dumplings comes from their versatility as a pocket of dough. Hypothetically, you could put anything in that pocket and call it a dumpling. Over the course of the next year, we hope to sample various dumplings including perogies, empanadas, and hot pockets.

This month, we ate at Fu Lam Mum, a Cantonese style restaurant in downtown Mountain View where people lined the streets and overflowed out of the restaurant, eager to snag a table and the attention of the waiters pushing around carts steaming with delectable aromas.

What is special about dim sum?

SH: It’s scrumptious! Absolutely delicious! Amazing on so many different levels! It’s also (more often than not) pretty cheap, so for people like me who are broke, it’s the perfect meal.

KA: Apart from the amazing food, dim sum restaurants remind me of family gatherings and eating out with my grandparents. There’s something comforting about the fish tanks, carts laden

with steamers, and slightly sticky chairs.

SY: There’s such a big variety of foods and textures to try. If you want something sticky, crunchy, jiggly, or slimy, dim sum has you covered. They also have a great variety of savory and sweet treats, so you can get anything from a shrimp dumpling to a sweet bean bun.

SK: THEY HAD CARTS ROLLING AROUND WITH FOOD ON THEM! HOW COOL IS THAT!

What was the best item? Why? 

SH: The xiao long bao, for sure. It’s a classic, and I eat them almost every week because my mom always makes them at home for me — but the ones at the restaurant were subtly different from my mom’s in terms of ingredients. It was cool to kind of compare the two tastes.

KA: I can never say no to a xiao long bao. They’re magical because, between the dumpling skin and the soup inside, there are so many different tastes and textures packed into one ball of deliciousness. 

SY: The lo mai gai! Although unwrapping the steamed lotus leaf can be a bit of a challenge, it makes you feel like you’ve worked for the sticky rice and pork once you get there. It feels like a little reward! It’s the perfect texture and just the right amount of savory and an all around very good time.

SK: Definitely the lo mai gai. It was filled perfectly with mouth watering sticky rice and egg; however, it was hard to eat with chopsticks (I was just poking it apart lol). 

For people who haven’t tried dim sum before, do you have any tips?

SH: Don’t volunteer to pour tea for everyone if you suck at pouring tea because I did and spilled the tea all over the table.

KA: Be open to trying everything! 

SY: They like to hide eggs in everything. Like just the yolk. Sometimes cooked, sometimes not. It’s not very good when it catches you by surprise. Stay safe out there.

SK: Go with someone who has been there before — they know all the secrets (and how to order)!