That About Sums It Up

I had my first dim sum experience on Sunday.

If you’ve never had dim sum, let me just give you a visual. . . In a large room with enormous round tables topped with a lazy susan, you sit drinking tea. Servers arrive pushing carts stacked with small plates of food. They shout the names of the food at you but most of the time you are basing your decision solely on sight- does it look edible and am I certain it does not contain chicken feet? If you feel in your heart that the answer is yes, you gesture to the server and they put it on the table. This happens in a rush with different carts appearing and shouting and then disappearing. We ate shrimp balls (not that kind) and pot stickers but vegetables never appeared. We passed on chow mein and something that looked suspiciously gelatinous. I don’t do gelatinous.

Then three small white mounds appeared on a plate in front of us looking a lot like my favorite treat as a kid- Snowballs. Those chocolate cakes filled with “cream” and covered in marshmallow and coconut. I used to LOVE those things. These were covered in coconut and filled with peanuts. I love coconut. I love peanuts.

I did not love these. Because sometimes two rights can make a wrong.

Instead I smashed the gummi substance into a pancake-like disc and then threatened to toss it on the wall to see if it would climb down it much like I would have as a kid with goopy stuff that felt like a fake boob (You know what I am talking about right? What was that called?!). The others double dog dared me so of course I had to do it. I cannot back down from a dare. The goody two shoes in me cried out DON’T DO IT! WHAT ABOUT HELL?! but I threw it at the wall, low, behind our chairs, and it stuck. Victory was mine!

Then I quickly wiped it away with my napkin before I got in trouble. Because I really did not want to get yelled at by one of the cart ladies. They were, indeed, a force to be reckoned with.


41 thoughts on “That About Sums It Up

  1. This entire post has me cracking up. “What about hell?” and the “If you feel in your heart that the answer is yes” part in particular.

    My boys have some of those sticky wall climbing things. I have no idea what they are called, only that when they get fuzzes from the rug on them they don’t work. They never work the same after you clean them either.

  2. at first i thought you wrote this from the perspective of your baby nephew, but sadly that doesn’t appear to be the case.

  3. I’m surprised that was your first dim sum experience. I loved Creepy Crawlers, they were the shit until they got less sticky due to all the hair on them.

  4. I have had Dim Sum a couple of times and I really don’t like it. I hope I never get forced to go have it again!

  5. I love all the stuff that goes into Snowballs but was never much of a Snowball fan.

    I had potstickers for the first time two weeks ago. I don’t recall what they looked or tasted like (maybe a dumpling with chicken or veggies inside?) and spent most of my time eating them wondering where they got their name. Certainly if they stuck to the pot there’d have been abrasions on them somewhere.

  6. You and Tracy make me a little afraid of Dim Sum.

    I have always wanted to try it but it is moving further down my list after this post.

    Way to let go of your inner goody two shoes!

    This kind of reminds me of the asian jelly shot thingys… I tried once and thought I was going to die. Reminded me of oysters.

  7. We call it Yum Cha down here… sometimes, as you have observed, not so Yum… but on the chicken feet… they’re actually quite good… I know, weird… but good.

  8. I love dim sum! Don’t let one dim sum place get you down. Not every dim sum restaurant is filled with chicken feet and cold waitresses! But you should go try Unicorn Crepes in the International District. That place is sensational.

  9. First, love the title of your post. Second, dim sum is awesome! I eat it all the time. I’m Chinese and even I don’t know the names for most of the thingys, but you’re right, you have to go with your heart! Hope you liked it enough to try it again.

  10. Those cart ladies really can yell. I went to dim sum in Chinatown in New York and got told off by a cart lady for asking for a refill of my water glass, and then not drinking the entire thing. I drank about half and apparently that wasn’t enough.

  11. I would be scared of the dim sum ladies… at my local joint they carry scissors to cut up the gelatinous and spongy things into eatable portions… scissors and angry dim sum ladies do not make a good pair!

  12. THe best food I ever had was at a dim sum restaurant in Beijing one time. It doesn’t sound anything like your experience, but yours sounds a lot more interesting!

  13. I think I might have hurt myself laughing a little bit at the ‘what about hell’ comment.

    I’ve always wanted to try dim sum- waiters here never shout at you. Bummer.

  14. You rock! hahahaha…

    I did Dim Sum for the first time last week. The office assistant is Chinese and she was looking forward to the chicken feet which never came. And I did try the gelatinous stuff. Really, it’s was totally gaggy — however, I should have whacked it on the wall beside us.

  15. I love Dim Sum, but at the same time I’m petrified of unknown meat fillings, so it is a meal and an adventure. And then I read that unscrupulous dim sum bun makers add SOAKED CARDBOARD to their buns to stretch the ingredients–maybe that’s what you got.

    As far as the fake boob blob stuff, are you thinking about Ooblek? You make it with cornstarch and other stuff, and you can scoop it together and get a gelantinous thing, and then it collapses and weirds you out? I loved that crap.

  16. I am married to a man who used to throw food on the wall. I thought he was the only person alive who did that. Truly. Since I adore you, I can only conclude he’s not the freak I once thought he was.

    Granted it was 25 years ago and he was in college and he regularly found bad stuff (like, um, caterpillars) in his dorm food. His form of protest to was to “whap it on the wall.” The cafeteria ladies, though, didn’t give a shit. Didn’t even look twice, even though he regularly stood up, rared back, and threw the food like a World Series pitcher on the mound.

  17. I’ve only done it once, while meeting a blogger in NYC, and nothing seemed to taste as well as it looked. I think I’m just into typical american chinese food.

  18. Yep. I’m with you–not a fan of the dim sum. I watched a dim sum experienced friend eat the skin off of a chicken foot. I failed to see the point–and it was gross.

    Dim sum is good if you will eat whatever is put in front of you, but unfortunately, I like to ask too many questions. The ‘cart’ people never seemed to thrilled with that.

    mm..Now I want Chinese food for lunch–Gen. Tso, here I come.

  19. I’ve learned to eat – and, often, enjoy! – Chinese food in the years I’ve been with my husband… While it’s not my go-to comfort food (unlike him), it is something that I now eat with frequency and quite enjoy. Dim sum, however? Not so much. And those coconut ball thingies? I’m with you on them. NEVER EVER EVER going to eat those. SO GROSS. And they come in many varieties, all looking pretty good at the outset, luring me in… And then, BAM! UGH. Nope. Not a one is good.

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