New to Nashville-Dim Sum anywhere
Just up and moved to Nashville (actually, just south of Nashville) from NJ, by way of Florida. Got a craving for Dim Sum. Any great dives that serve Dim Sum from carts in the area? How about chinese bakeries that sell a decent baked BBA pork bun?
Looking forward to your replies. Thanks!
I think you are out of luck... There was somewhere non-Chinese a few years ago I vaguely recall that was trying it but don't hear about it anymore. Certainly some good Thai, Latin (of various nationalities), African, Japanese, and even Korean restaurants in town these days but Chinese options sadly limited (although would love to hear from anyone who could recommend differently). Rumors of one good place near Hickory Hollow Mall that the local Chinese community goes to but I've heard if you don't know how to order the non-American style stuff you'll get the usual General Tso's etc.
The place you mean is China Chef. They serve the best Chinese food I've eaten in Nashville; I'd rate it as better than very good and almost excellent. You can go there and order from the regular menu, and get the usual dished cooked far better than usual (the duck is remarkable, and I've seen the spareribs and they look fantastic). You can ask for the special menu, which is a short list of more authentic dishes (they claim to have snow pea shoots, one of my favorites, but have been out every time I've been there -- otherwise, everything from that menu has been available and cooked right). Finally, you can ask for the special Chinese-language menu, which does have rudimentary translations into English, which has some hot pots, beef tendon and tripe dishes, and other quite unusual things. Unfortunately, they don't serve dim sum.
According to the staff, their lease will be up in a bit under a year and they're looking to move to the Green Hills area at that time. I hope they do, because driving all the way to Hickory Hollow just to eat feels goofy.
One note: the first couple of times we went there and ordered from the special menus, the servers were dubious -- asked whether we had ever eaten those dishes before. (We're not Chinese, and most of the customers are.) I don't know what they would have done if we had said no. We had to convince them that we knew what we were ordering and had some idea what to expect. Now we remind them that we've been there before and always loved the food, and instead of trying to discourage us, they encourage us to try new stuff instead.
There are no dim sum carts here -- years ago Peking Garden hired a Cantonese chef for weekend dim sum, but the owner, Bonnie Chen, remarried and moved to Memphis and the restaurant is long gone.
If you can enjoy dim sum without the cart service, Golden Coast restaurant on the corner of 18th and West End serves a dim sum buffet on Saturdays and Sundays until 2 p.m. It's about $9 for adults, about $5 for kids, and the food is incredible. There are several kinds of steamed and fried dumplings, including pearl shrimp and occasionally steamed bbq buns. Tofu skin in sauce, tripe in spicy brown sauce, squid salad, seaweed salad, dry-fried beans and beef, white cut chicken, chilled drunken chicken, chicken feet occasionally. Then there are the old favorites like cashew chicken, beef with peppers, fried rice, egg drop soup. Then there's a table of little fried bits of things, for the kids. There is fresh fruit, weird jell-o concoctions, and hot soy milk plus bubble tea. I think it's the best value in town. Only on weekends, though -- there's a different chef during the week, and the food is nothing special.
You can occasionally find steam buns at Interasian Market on Nolensville Road about 2 blocks off I440, between the interestate and the fairgrounds, and occasionally at Lao Market on 8th Avenue near Sounds Stadium.