Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Restaurant Review: Dim Sum at Royal China

Dim Sum is one of my favorite meals. I love a lazy Sunday morning spent pointing at delicious looking steaming platters as they roll by. You get to cobble together a meal of whatever looks appealing, so what's not to love?

What makes for great dim sum? I thought you'd never ask...
  1. The restaurant should be filled with large, multi-generational Chinese families. If it's not, I'd worry it's more trendy than authentic because every good dim sum place I've ever eaten at is packed to the gills with Chinese people.
  2. The food carts should come fast and furious and offer a wide variety of dim sum foods, from the very American-friendly shrimp dumplings to the much less non-Chinese appealing chicken feet.
  3. Most importantly, you should be able to get my personal favorite dish - pork buns (char siu baau)- without having to make a special request. I have languished at some restaurants desperate for a pork bun when none were in sight. Don't make me ask, just bring it on!
Pretty simple, right? Be authentic, offer a wide variety of dishes and don't hide the pork buns. Recently the boyfriend and I joined little sister, her hubby and little brother for Sunday dim sum at Royal China on Chamblee Dunwoody. I was thrilled to discover that the restaurant meets all of my criteria.We were surrounded by a boisterous crowd of Chinese families, and the food came out at such a rapid clip that it was hard to focus on eating when there was so much to point at. Be aware, the speed everything comes out at means you don't necessarily have much time to converse, so if you want a longer meal, you have to pace yourself.

At Royal China, there was no shortage of my beloved pork buns, both baked and steamed. The breading of the baked bun was chewy and light and the barbecued pork filling was incredibly sweet and satisfying. Everything we tried there was tasty, including shrimp (har gau) and pork (shaomai) dumplings.I've never found a traditional dim sum spot that really rose above others, and this instance was no different. The dumplings tasted the same, albeit delicious, as other great dim sum places in NY and Hong Kong, so the dishes were no doubt authentic and well executed even if they didn't stand out as unique. Royal China is definitely worth a visit from dim sum lovers or even dim sum neophytes who don't know a har gau from a cheong fun.

Pros: Cheap, authentic, great pork buns
Cons: Not the right place for a leisurely lunch or private conversation

Royal China
3295 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
Chamblee, GA 30341

Royal China on Urbanspoon



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