Dining on dim sum

16 Sep

Rol-san restaurant and Toronto patrons, dim sum morning, noon and night

What’s the earliest you’ve ever had dim sum?  Until yesterday my only pre-noon consumption of dim sum was the breakfast buffet I had in Singapore in July but after this trip I’d be quite happy to make dim sum brunch a regular outing.  My dining companions were Sue Jefferies, former curator of modern and contemporary ceramics at the Gardiner Museum and Linda Sormin, head of ceramics at Sheridan College, just outside of Toronto.  Linda recommended a dim sum restaurant Rol San, on Spandina Road, right in the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown, which is one of her favourites. An instant sign that it’s a great restaurant was the fact that even at 10.30am we had to be ushered to be back room as the front of the restaurant was already full.

Linda did the ordering, which was the perfect opportunity for me to be introduced to a range of new dishes (it will come as no surprise to people that Mr Kim’s selection of dim sum tends to veer towards the meat, meat and shell fish variety.)

left to right: har gau (prawn dumplings), wu gock (taro dumplings), snow pea tips, beef cheung fung (rice roll with beef), eggplant with shrimp

Pretty soon we had a table decked out with a variety of delectable and tempting dishes: beef cheung fun, har gau, lo bak goh, Eggplant with shrimp and wu gock among them.  Helpfully most of the dishes came with three pieces so there were no difficult decisions to make about who got what and we could munch away while discussing ceramics, museums and Toronto life.  Each of the dishes were delicious; most of the them, apart from the har gau, the plump prawn dumplings, were ones that I had never or rarely had, but the combination of flavours worked beautifully and the har gau, which had a great taste, were so stuffed full of prawns that my attempts to elegantly handle them with the chop sticks failed dismally as the prawns were bursting out of their rice casing.  The wu gock dumplings, cocooned in their wisps of fried taro (as Sue pointed bearing something of an echo of Linda’s ceramic work), were fantastically crisp, with a succulent pork filling.  And to accompany all of these dim sum delights Linda chose snow pea tips, gently tossed in garlic.

eggplants are one of my favourite vegetables so I loved these slices with pureed shrimp

The wispy taro dumplings.

You might have thought that by the end of this I would be so full of food I wouldn’t be able to leave the restaurant, let alone contemplate dessert, but when Linda ordered some freshly steamed custard buns, I felt that they deserved to be tried.  Now, I’m not usually a fan of Chinese desserts since I’m not particularly good with custards or sweet pastes, unless of course it’s marzipan.  But that’s maybe why I got on so well with the custard bun; its filling was almost as thick as a marzipan, with a rich vanillery taste, and all wrapped round by the rich bread.  It looked not dissimilar to a boiled egg with its fluffy white bread and sunshine yellow centre.  A perfect finish to the meal.

Linda with the steamed egg bun, with its bright yellow centre

Any one for dim sum brunch next Saturday?

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One Response to “Dining on dim sum”

  1. Jenny Wedgbury September 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Right that’s it! Where’s my nearest Dim Sum restaurant. You’re a culinary inspiration Mrs Kim. X

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