Ann Arbor Dimsum-Great Lake Vs. Lai Lai
Since I arrived in AA, I have goen solely to Great Lake for dim sum, except for a trip to suburban Detroit for some really good dimsum there. I recently went to Lai Lai for dim sum and came away with a split opinion. Here are my thoughts, FYI.
Great Lake definitely have much more selection. Lai Lai isn't far behind, but Great Lake has the edge in the non-menu items they roll around in the cart and in their selection of bubble teas.
Lai Lai does a lot of things much better. The fried taro balls are so much better at Lai Lai, more taro taste and much fresher. I think someone said that Great Lake gets a lot of their dim sum frozen from Canada. Don't know about that. The stuffed egg plant is also very much better at Lai Lai. The slice through the egg plant is thinner and the filling of the eggplant is done thinly, so the mix of taste and texture more refined at Lai Lai. The sliced beef tendon is very much better at Lai Lai, it is sliced differently and the saucing is spicier and tastier, the tendon is also more tender.
One thing about Lai Lai is that they do everything as you order, so the wait is that much longer but the dishes come out fresher and warmer than at Great Lake.
Great Lake has the edge on selection, speed of service and the steamed dumpling skins are much thinner therefore a little more tender on first bite.
I did not try the fried rice or noodles so I can't speak to that, but there you go. IMHO.
Thanks for the comparison. For some reason, my Chinese friends at work seem to prefer Great Lake. For what it's worth, several years ago I took my brother, who's been eating Chinese food since early childhood growing up in New York, to Lai Lai for dim sum and he raved about it for days. This is a man who would eat two or three times a week at Nanking Cafe in DC (long since closed) which was one of the best Cantonese restaurants in DC at the time. Their dim sum were superb. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I think that a visit to Lai Lai is in order. I'm gettin' hungry.