Monday, April 22, 2013


In London's Chinatown, only two blocks square, there are 78 restaurants. Most of them these days serve dim sum, many of them from carts (my favorite way to browse). Let's put aside the insane prices here in The Smoke. After all, dim sum is usually so reasonably-priced that even the hideous dollar-to-pound crunch isn't too bad. I am searching with limited success for the ultimate dim sum; London may not provide my long-sought Nirvana.
I tried, with my friend Alex, Wan Chai: cheaper then Cheung Leung but not as good, the fillings not as flavorful, the downstairs room drafty and noisy (opt for upstairs, very nice, plus the ladies' loo is there), the waiters rushed and brusque (not unusual, but at the Cheung Leung they were relatively attentive and smiling).
For all that, I always walk down from Shaftesbury Avenue along the edge of Chinatown and look for the dragon twining around the overhead "barberpole". Inside, it is always warm and bustling, with the cart tenders calling out their wares. The restaurant is enormous, the clientelle enthusiastic, the carpet well-trod, and the variety of dim sum, while not exactly endless, has never proved boring. As always, I'm willing to look away from the traditional center of things, and am eager to hear from dim sim-ophiles. Talk to me!

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