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Dim sum newbie and got a question...

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Ok, so my husband and I just had our first dim sum in Portland last weekend and loved it! Don't ask me why we have never done it before, but we just haven't. I cook alot of Asian and Thai so I guess we just don't go out for it. Anyway, I am craving it again already and have been searching the board for Seattle restaurants and have narrowed it down a bit. My question is, should dim sum only be done for lunch or brunch? It sounds as if dinner might not be a good plan as the dim sum isn't as fresh and the choices aren't as good. I read a lot of reviews that said go early for best selection. We are going out to dinner tomorrow night with friends who have never had it (compared to our one time) so I don't want it to be a bad experience. We are going to the International District. Should we just order off a menu or is it worth trying dim sum for dinner?

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  1. Cantonese/HK dim sum is conventionally a lunch/brunch event..and most of these restaurants will stop serving dim sum at around 3pm. Shanghai style dim sum is available through dinner.

    1. The quick answer is stick to brunch/breakfast for dim sum. There are many wonderful kinds of dumplings available at dinner time that are great, but a real dim sum experience the way most think of it (carts, the array of steamed and fried items, etc) is an earlier in the day thing.

      Wow do I miss Seattle and the I District; have fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ccbweb

        Thanks! I knew someone would be able to give me a firm answer on that! We will stick to a menu tomorrow night and hit dim sum one of these weekend mornings.

      2. Very few restaurants serve dim sum at dinner time. And for those that do, they are not very good.

        I have been to dim sum in Portland (I take it you mean Oregon) twice, one dreadful and one good. But there seems to be only one good one in Portland. I have never been to dim sum in Seattle. I don't even know if there is a dim sum place in Seattle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PeterL

          Yes there are PeterL and the ones on the east side, not really Seattle, are better in variety and quality IMO. Sorry, can't name them, but whenever I go and visit, my friends always take me.

        2. It's usually brunch, but make it leisurely, don't rush it. Get to the restaurant relatively soon after it opens to ensure you get a seat. Then resist the urge to get one of everything as soon as the carts (assuming cart service) come around. For instance, there are a ton of variations on the dumpling theme, and you can stuff yourself silly just on different kinds of dumplings. If you do that, tho, you may miss some of the more exotic or interesting offerings that may come out later. I don't know how many times I've gorged myself on the early offerings, and then spot something on a cart that I REALLY WANTED, but only after paying and on my way out!

          1. there is one place that i know of in the ID that does late night dim sum which is kind of nice because the food isn't being pushed around on carts until someone chooses it, it's actually made to order...it also makes it nice because there's not as much impulse dim sum choosing which i find makes me full brefore i get to the stuff i really want...

            but part of the fun of dim sum is trying to get the attention of the servers pushing the carts as well as seeing all the different things to choose from...for the whole experience, i'd save it for brunch/lunch...but if you've just got a late night hankering for some siu mai and har gau, check out china gate in the ID...