Angry Rant from a New Yorker: What I ate in Canada, Part II, Dim Sum Sucks

Egg and Ginger, minus the egg

Egg and Ginger, minus the egg

By Ben Adler

As I mentioned before, I went to Vancouver and resolved, as I do everywhere, to have the full breadth of local culinary experience. In a city with a huge Asian population, that means Asian food. And on Saturday morning that meant Dim Sum. I’m not what you would call a morning person. I consider brunch, which is usually served until about 2 pm, the earliest acceptable meal. And don’t get me started on the farmer’s market, which would be great if it didn’t sell out of everything good by noon, which is when I get there. So despite my affection for authentic Chinese food I’ve basically never had Dim Sum. Every time one of my friends back home would say, “We’re going to Chinatown for Dim Sum around 10:30 tomorrow morning, want to come?” I would laugh at the absurdity of setting one’s alarm just to wake up for breakfast, and getting on the subway, when there’s a perfectly greasy diner just up the block. Also, the one or two times I did try it I was deeply unimpressed: who wants a pork bun in the morning? That’s dinner food.

But I was staying with my cousin and his mother and they suggested Dim Sum and I figured that maybe all the people who love it so much are onto something. My taste buds have matured in the last few years and since we’d be driving there it would seem less far-fetched than a schlep on the train for breakfast, plus it’s the true Vancouver experience, so why not?

Little did I know. First of all, the entire menu seemed to consist of pork and shrimp filled dishes. No matter what bun or dumpling or pancake or roll it was, when you asked what it contained the answer came back, “pork,” “shrimp,” or “pork and shrimp.” I like pork and shrimp, although not necessarily together and definitely not before 11 am. After trying a series of funny-tasting things I went over to the special order counter and picked the one vegetarian sounding thing off the menu. “Egg with ginger.”

Alas, it took forever to make and I was mostly full of pork buns and noodles by the time it finally did arrive. As you can see from the picture, it was not the Asian omelet thing I imagined. Instead it was a deep dark sauce filled with giant, marrowey bones attached to a mystery meat. It had one hard boiled egg in it, which is the only part I ate. The ginger tasted very strange and I didn’t dare try the mystery meat. What was that meat anyway? I asked the waitress and she stared at me blankly. “Is it pork?” I offered. “Yes,” she said, although I think she was just going along to get along, “it’s pork.”


5 responses to “Angry Rant from a New Yorker: What I ate in Canada, Part II, Dim Sum Sucks

  1. What, are you 12 years old or something?

  2. Yeah. Crank. Eee. Boy.

    If all they had were dumplings with pork, shrimp, or pork and shrimp then… next time don’t try dim sum at a Tim Horton’s (Canadian equivalent of Denny’s.)

    I mean, seriously, if they didn’t have sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, turnip cake (actually daikon based), egg tarts, sesame balls, stuffed eggplant (ok, with shrimp paste but even so), shu mai, spare ribs, stuffed crab claws, sausage-stuffed pastries, pot stickers, lobster or scallop in cabbage leaf, mango and coconut aspics and custards with condensed cream on top, broccoli rabe in oyster sauce, and yeah, a lot of stuff with different preparations of shrimp or pork inside, plus a ton of other stuff you probably wouldn’t like like tripe and chicken feet then you wuz robbed.

    Also, at least on weekends, since when did dim sum places close by two in the afternoon? The really good stuff usually doesn’t even start coming out till after 11:00. You think New Yorkers are the only dissolute people on the continent? :-)

    Mmmm, dim sum’s good.



  3. portablestomach

    That looks like pig feet and beef tripe.

  4. It looks like Pig’s Knuckle & Ginger, sometimes also known as Ginger, Vinegar & Eggs, something traditionally made for postpartum women. You are probably the first to become depressed for eating it and then blogging about it. The hard boiled egg is, without question, the scariest part of the dish.

  5. dude. you’re an idiot.

    first of all, pork is good. there’s a reason bacon is made from pork.

    second, unless you know what you’re doing, make sure you bring at least one chinese person, so you can order some good food.

    third, never order chinese food based on what the english description is. you just gotta know the dish. (see item #2)

    p.s. your new york pizza is for shit.

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