Sometimes the best food is found in the most unassuming of surroundings. One of my favorite places to eat in my former hometown of Kings Mountain, NC was a tiny Chinese restaurant located in a terrible neighborhood where I had to carry a stun gun to feel safe. The food, however, was so fantastic that I kept coming back for more at least every other week.
Dim Sum of Charlotte, North Carolina is very similar in that, it is located in a less-than-prosperous part of town on Central Avenue and its decor is virtually nonexistent. However, you know you are onto something, when you arrive for a late lunch on a Sunday, an the parking lot is packed. Not only that, but the place is frequented by Chinese Americans from all around Charlotte metro area and recommended as the spot to get your taste of real China.
You can eat in, you can take out, the prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is lively, and there is a little Asian market adjacent to the restaurant, if you want to take some Chinese delicacies home with you and experiment in your own kitchen. A word of advice – to get the most fun out of your Dim Sum experience, go with a group of friends. Sure, the restaurant has a traditional Chinese menu with the old trusted stand-bys like General Tso on Happy Family, but why would you want to go that route? You are there for dim sum. There is only so much you can eat, and the temptation, of course, is to try as many different things as possible. So, gather a bunch of four or five people, grab one of the big round tables, and knock yourselves out.
The process is simple. Every table gets a little yellow card with numbers. Every few minutes, one of the friendly Dim Sum servers pushes by a cart loaded with up to ten different varieties of foods. I counted about four different carts. You ask the server to pause, check out what that particular cart has to offer and pick the dishes (little plates or metal pots) for your table. The server marks on the card, how many you took and from which cart and moves on. At checkout, the cashier simply adds up the number of dishes you’ve had and tallies it up.
Shrimp dumplings, fried seafood and bacon rolls, spicy seaweed and watercress salad, pot stickers, super-delicious melt-in-your-mouth juicy pork – the list goes on and on. The customer turnover at Dim Sum is quite expeditious (as is the rest of the operation), but do pray for a short wait, for newcomers’ appetites a bound to be boosted further by the tantalizing smells from the food-laden carts and by watching people at other tables having fun swapping dishes and sharing their impressions. Happy eats!
For book and game reviews from Maria K. visit her YouTube channel Ms. Review Central.