Dim sum is more than food, but a tradition kept alive every Sunday morning. It has evolved to offer easier options for those who want to avoid ceremony and want a quick bite.
Even if you are new in town, most likely you have heard of dim sum. I remember knowing the name, running into the “Dim Sum Corner” at hotel breakfast buffets, but not having any idea what it meant or was because the menu was so large and different every time.
It turns out that it is more than food, dim sum is perceived as a tradition. Look at it as the Chinese version of brunch, only at this brunch you are sitting at a round table with all your family, sipping on tea and ordering bamboo boxes packed with steamed goodies, which usually come in four per box (and other presentations that are not steamed).
Dim sum is a tradition that is supposed to last all morning (two to four hours) and is meant to get the family together to share a meal.
I decided to embark on a quest to find the best easy to grab/late-night dim sum locations in Dongguan. Concentrating on two favorites and thought to be the most common types: shrimp dumplings and pork dumplings. The flavor, texture of the wrap and freshness of each location’s dumplings were evaluated.
You have to keep in mind these places are not a formal setting for mid-morning tea with the family, but offer convenience.
Just off the corner of Dongcheng Walking Street, you will find the little Hong Kong style cafe, Hong Kong Shi Ying Wan Zai Chi (香港食盈碗仔翅), with a diverse menu. One page of the menu is reserved for dim sum.
The wrap was tender and thin enough; however, it was chewy and not particularly outstanding. I would even dare to call it average. The shrimp stuffing felt fresh and crisp and the overall flavor of the dish was satisfying if you are a shrimp enthusiast.
The wrap was average and one could almost not even notice it on this one. It felt as if the wrap just fell apart in your mouth. The meat was hard with a lot of chunks rather than the smooth paste of ground meat usually expected. It was topped with fish eggs and a piece of shrimp at an attempt for modern style, but this just seemed to get in the way of the purpose of the dish.
Overall, this is a good choice if the goal is to grab a quick bite and settle your hunger.
If you have been part of the Dongcheng night scene, you have probably had the chance to visit Man Zhou (满粥) after a long night. Located in the middle of bar street just before the wet market when walking towards Qi Feng Park, this spot is open until 2 am.
The wrap was tender and thin, and seemed to be made by a more experienced set of hands than the other options. The shrimp stuffing was fresh and cut into smaller chunks, while the overall flavor of the dish was juicy and packed a strong and satisfying punch.
The meat was tender and smooth once you bit into it, no chunks, grim or grizzle, and no addition of fish eggs and shrimp on pork. This was just simple and delicious street dim sum.
If you are looking for a late-night option with a traditional taste and style, this is your spot. Plus, pricing is not bad at all.
Qing Zhou (庆粥) offers a prime location for those living in the downtown Dongcheng area, with a more upscale feel. This was reflected in the pricing. However, this was our final location and a compaired to the others something was lacking.
The crust was thicker than you would probably ask for and made way for a doughy texture. The dumplings were well presented but ended up being very dry and lacked flavor. The freshness of the shrimp was subpar. They had tanks of shrimp, but the tank shrimp were used for other items on the menu.
Guess what, no pork dumplings on the menu. Which made me second guess this option and question its legitimacy as a traditional Chinese dim sum spot.
Keep in mind, their menu offered a variety of other dumpling options if you care to try.