Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eating Sum Dim Sum

I am happy to report that Hop Shing Restaurant, or as it is affectionately known on Yelp, 9 Chatham Square, is in fact not closed. I know this because we enjoyed dim sum* there this Saturday. The restaurant came highly recommended from Becky's coworker, who billed it as the best pork buns in Chinatown. With that kind of praise it is no wonder that we went quickly; I have been in love with the pork bun since the day I found out what dim sum was.
After triple checking that it was not Chinese New Year (we had a bad experience with a several hour wait at dim sum on Chinese New Year a few years ago) we headed out. Along for the ride was our friend Kara, of Superbowl live blogging fame. We were seated within minutes of arrival. Kara started in with stories of her recent shenanigans while Becky watched the carts emerging from the kitchen like a hawk. Apparently she had been warned that pork buns often go quickly and may sell out in early afternoon. We loaded up on all sorts of dumplings with an assortment of delicious doughy outsides. A few even had the pillowy soft dough of the much sought after pork buns, but still no pork buns came. Fear filled us. Finally we realized that several delicious items seemed to be emerging from a bakery counter at the front of the restaurant, while Becky's eyes were peeled on the kitchen. Although we were already stuffed to the brim we inquired and learned that yes, our heart's desire was in fact available by request from the bakery. Aah, pure delicious holy grail of dim sum.
You're probably wondering why it took us so long to ask. Partially that would be because we are all polite and introverted and therefore assume that it would be best to just wait. But partially that would be because this apparently is a relatively authentic dim sum experience, and therefore few of the patrons or staff spoke much English. In fact, when we finally took the leap and asked, we had to be passed through several wait staff before someone understood our inquiry well enough to get us pork buns. Throughout the meal we were stared at by our fellow diners, most prominently an elderly Chinese woman. For lack of a better explanation we assumed this was due to our white American-ness. Until we got the camera out that is. All further staring we attributed to our strange habit of photographing our food.

The most interesting food that we purchased (and photographed) was what seemed to be a dim sum breakfast sandwich. The outside was the aforementioned pillowy soft dough, and the inside was some combination of eggs and sausage. Good try, but not really my cup of tea.
The best part though? Somehow the mountains of food that we ate came out to only $15. No, not per person, total. I have a feeling that this may be due to a miscalculation of the bill. But since the prices are a Chinese mystery we figured that we had caused enough trouble, paid our bill, and went on our merry way. Yum!

*Becky reminded me that some readers may not be famililar with dim sum. For reference, the kind people at offer a wordy but informative summary.


  1. If Carrie's parents ever come to New York again, can they be taken to dim sum? This love runs in the family.

  2. Of course, of course! Dim sum love for all!

  3. ooh friends in the comments. Hehe that was awesome on Chinese New Year. Of course it made sean swear off nyc forvever... Lucky you with pork buns.