originated from a chinese custom, dim sum is linked to the tradition of yum cha which translates to drinking tea. based on dictionary.com, dim sum is defined as small dumplings, usually steamed or fried and filled with meat, seafood, vegetables. condiments, etc.
dim sum holds very special position in my heart because the childhood memories it invokes - a dim sum session was always a special family event (with aunts and uncles as well) whenever we return to my mom's hometown, ipoh which happens to be the home of the best dim sum in malaysia. i remember when i was really young, i would always request for fish ball out of all the other menu options (i was a sucker for that fish ball cos it was yummy!) but could never pick it up with my chopsticks (i was young!). my parents would make a fish ball lollipop with one of the chopsticks and i would run along (not exactly) and be happily gobbling it down. <3
anywho, i digressed.
i enjoy the occasional dim sum with friends in chinatown - it is not something i can do frequently just because it's usually a meat overdose experience for me. my boss (who is chinese) recommended a dim sum place that was opened not too long ago, minghin cuisine which happened to be her favorite dim sum restaurant in chicago. ryan has always loved dim sum so i suggested for us to try this place during his last visit. this is my second visit to the restaurant so i kinda knew what i was going to order this time around.
the restaurant was tastefully decorated in modern decor highlighting chinese culture accents through arts and carved woodwork. this two-floor restaurant is steadily gaining popularity and was bustling when we got there at about noon. they told us it was about half an hour wait as we put our names down.
typically at dim sum restaurants, the baskets of dumplings are pushed around in a cart around the restaurant so patrons could stop them and look at what dumplings are offered. however, minghin omitted the cart system and provides a menu with pictures of the dumplings on which you can indicate how many of each you would like in the tiny white box at the bottom left of the menu item.
there were a few must haves and there was one particular baked bun that i've never had at any other dim sum restaurants before. and another must have is a pot of warm chinese tea to go with the meal - well wasn't dim sum originally linked to drinking tea?
steamed | pork & shrimp dumpling "siu mai" ($3.25)
siu mai is one of the classic dim sums that i would always order. seasoned well and moist. i could taste both the pork and shrimp flavors which was great. yummy.
steamed | minghin shrimp dumpling "har gao" ($3.25)
another one of the classics and always on my to order list. i thought the shrimp was pretty fresh and the wrapper was at a good thickness. it was hard to eat this in two bites since it tends to fall apart. this dish is very simple so it depends heavily on the freshness of the ingredients. i liked it :)
steamed | stuffed bean curd skin with shrimp and pork ($3.25)
this dumpling is a regular appearance on my must order list at dim sum restaurants. it comes with a light and flavorful sauce at the bottom. minghin stuffed a generous amount of meat in the parcel of bean curd skin. similar to other dishes, this was also executed well.
steamed | spare rib and rice noodle roll in pot ($3.65)
this is not a typical dish that i can find at all dim sum restaurants. i can usually find rice noodles but never cooked this way. the spare ribs are really tender and goes really well with the rice noodles. there were also cubes of taro which is soft and creamy. to offset the savoriness of the dish, it was topped with slices of pickled green chillies. i had the beef version of this dish my first visit and my personal preference would be this one.
bun | baked creamy egg yolk bun ($ 3.65)
another atypical item that i've never had before coming to this place. the bun itself has an almost crusty top with buttery and soft texture. the inside was almost hollow but that is were the salty/savory rich egg yolk is hidden. it's a play on texture and contrast of sweet - savory flavors. overall it was a tad rich for me but still delicious. on the other hand, ryan liked it a lot and so does my boss.
at many other dim sum places, hoisin sauce and chilli sauce for dipping are served with the dim sum but not at minghin which we found ourselves wanting some in the middle of our meal. dim sum is offered from 9am to 4pm but they also offers a la carte dishes throughout their operating hours.
regardless, minghin cuisine promises good dim sum but at a slightly higher price than their counterparts in chinatown. but if you'd like some of the atypical dim sum such as the creamy egg yolk bun, this is a destination worth trying.
disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others