Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dim Sum at Chu Sing, Ottawa


I met up with my mom and some family friends this morning for dim sum at Chu Sing, and although I didn't feel like it, I couldn't turn down the opportunity. If you're Chinese, you NEVER turn down dim sum. I always tell CK that it's like a Persian turning down just doesn't make any sense.

Dim sum is the name for a Chinese cuisine of small plates that consists of meat, seafood, vegetable, and/or dessert. It is somewhat comparable to Spanish tapas. Besides the actual food, one of the differences is that dim sum is eaten in the morning or for brunch. As my family always said, dim sum should always be served with Chinese tea to help counterbalance the oil in the food. That's how you remove the guilt from eating so much greasy food for breakfast...the tea will break down all of the oils.

Literally meaning 'touch the heart', dim sum was always a treat for me as a kid...actually, it still is! The fun part is how the food is served.

Generally, the food is wheeled around on carts by servers. As they are wheeling along, they yell out what they have in their carts. The yelling part is important because each server is carrying different foods. The moment you hear or see what you want, you flag down the server before they get away. Each dish you take is recorded on a sheet, so that the total can be calculated accurately when you are ready to pay.

Here's what we had. It was a lot, so I'm going to refrain from commenting on every dish.

Deep fried tofu.

Eggplant with shrimp stuffing in a black bean sauce.

Beef tendon with lobak (aka daikon). This dish is definitely an acquired taste. You need to get past the texture of the tendon to enjoy this dish.

Spare ribs.

Yellow siu mai. Siu mai dumplings are not wrapped completely. The wrapper is like a little cup with the stuffing sticking out on the top. This was a pork siu mai.

White sui mai. Another pork dumpling.

Har gow or shrimp dumplings.

Phoenix talons. They are actually chicken feet. Because chicken in Chinese also means prostitute, they use the word phoenix instead. The phoenix is very symbolic in the Chinese culture. People only eat this chicken feet dish for the skin. There is no meat to 'em! They are first deep fried, then boiled, then marinated in a sauce, and then steamed. That's how they get the fluffy, fall off the bone texture.

Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. To eat this, you peal the lotus leaf (only used for steaming), and eat the rice part. The rice is usually stuffed with a combination of meats and vegetables. This one had mushroom and pork in the middle.

Deep fried shrimp dumpling.

At this point, you're probably thinking 'oh god...not another dumpling!' This dumpling is special because it is a 'soup dumpling'. While you may think that this is a dumpling to be put into soup, it is in fact the opposite. It is a dumpling with soup in the middle. When you bite into them, you not only get the meat, but a wonderful soup as well. Unfortunately, there wasn't much soup in these ones.

Deep fried shrimp rolls.

Ham sui gok. This is a deep fried rice flour dumpling with a pork and vegetable stuffing. The stuffing is salty, and the rice flour dumpling wrapper is sticky and a little sweet.

Pan fried radish cake. One of my favorites! The ones here are made really well. Nice and fluffy, which means they put a good amount of daikon radish in them.

Ha cheong fun. Steamed rice noodle rolls with whole shrimp inside.

Dan tat. Chinese egg tart.

If you're ever in Ottawa's Chinatown, the two main places for dim sum are Chu Sing or Yangtze across the street. Although neither is exceptional, the food is no doubt good. They are most popular due to their location, size, and selection of dim sum dishes.

Chu Sing
691 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Telephone: 613-233-8818

Chu Shing Restaurant on Urbanspoon


C - The Asian Pear said...

I am TOTALLY craving dim sum now. >_<

Christine said...

Oh man...ha cheong fun is by far my favorite, but I had totally forgotten until I saw these pictures how much I love ham sui gok!! I really need some of that in me.

Greg said...

This article was great, I'll be sure to check this place out.

hungry hippo said...

I love love ham sui gok its the BEST. Ha cheong fun comes in a very close second.

teddy said...

you make me hungry :(