In Edmonds, we have art, culture, beaches, stunning 360° views. We have forests, wildlife, and myriad ways to explore all the wonder around us. We also have great food, including a larger handful of dim sum options than you might expect from a salt-air-flecked city twentyish minutes from Seattle. But before we get into dumplings, buns, and shumais, we’ll start at the beginning.
What is dim sum, and how do you order it?
Often accompanied by tea and a group of people you love around a table, dim sum is a traditional Chinese meal of dumplings, small dishes, and snacks typically enjoyed at brunch. The dishes are usually steamed, baked, or fried.
Think of dim sum like Spanish tapas or a Superbowl snack spread, but even better. Often, dim sum dishes are presented on wheeled carts pushed by friendly waitstaff. Sometimes, you order them by writing your preferred quantity of each dish on a paper list with a pencil. Around here, you can point to them straight on the menu, but that’s probably the least fun option. However you end up ordering, remember to pace yourself. It’s easy to have eyes bigger than your stomach when it comes to dim sum!
A brief history of dim sum
Dim sum is believed to have originated from southern China’s Guangdong region before eventually making its way to Hong Kong—and the rest of the world. Cantonese dim sum culture began in tea rooms during the latter half of the 19th century, in the port city of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, after opium dens were banned in China. Silk Road travelers and traders would take breaks in tea houses for dim sum, and as they continued to travel, so did the popularity of dim sum’s tiny dishes, especially in Hong Kong. Now, dim sum dishes and traditions come from all over China.
What dim sum dishes should you order?
The decision of what to order is, surely, up to you. We encourage you to play, to ask the restaurant of your choosing for their recommendations, to scan Yelp listings, and to challenge your taste buds.
There are options for pretty much any taste—meats, fishes, veggies, etc., as well as desserts. Some of the more popular menu items? Shumai, soup and steamed dumplings, BBQ pork buns, egg tarts, and chicken feet.
Above all, dim sum is about the experience, and Edmonds has quite a few wonderful places to enjoy dim sum. Let’s dig into them—figuratively and literally.
Conveniently located on Highway 99, Dumpling Generation affixed signs to the walls of its restaurant to remind customers that their dumplings come out piping hot. Choose from a small variety of always-fresh meat and veggie combinations—and prepare to be impressed. The warm waitstaff will check on you often to ensure you have everything you need. Don’t sleep on non-dumpling dishes, either. The cold noodles and colorful salad are consistent crowd-pleasers.
Piggy buns catapulted this local favorite to star status when they appeared surprised to be on the cover of Seattle magazine a few years ago, their orange eyebrows raised in wonder. These sweet little custardy pillows should be impressed with themselves, though. Not only are they delicious desserts, but they also bring great company. You really can’t go wrong with any dish at Fashion Dim Sum, however, some of the standouts are the seafood shumai, ginger tripe, pan-fried pork buns, and taro shrimp cake. Be sure to check their specials board when you walk in, watch the rotating images on their TVs for more inspiration as you’re ordering, and take some frozen buns to go!
Located right downtown Edmonds, Furi has a small dim sum section on its regular menu, which includes steam and pan-fried buns, juicy pork dumplings, and green onion pancakes. Everything in this large space by Ace Hardware is made fresh by the kindest staff around. Enjoy their dim sum on its own or add it to larger dishes from their regular menu.
One of the newer players in town, Harvest Wonton Noodle is housed in the same strip mall as Fashion Dim Sum is, right on Highway 99. If you’re a pepper head, opt for their spicy dumplings. This Hong Kong-inspired spot also offers congee, noodles, rice dishes, curry wontons, and beef soups.
Taking yourself on fried chicken feet tour of Edmonds? Sure you are! Try T&T’s offering while you’re on your mission. This popular spot, also on Highway 99, has a huge variety of dim sum items, including shrimp dumplings, steam dried bean curd, spicy beef honeycomb, honey BBQ pork pie, custard tarts, and more. Check out the full dim sum menu here, and try to keep yourself from drooling while you do.
If you love a fried moment (who doesn’t?), Wonton Noodle House’s deep fried buns are the menu item for you. Another popular Highway 99 spot (formerly in Plum Tree Plaza), this restaurant also serves up piping hot fried wontons, pan-fried rice rolls, Chinese donuts, and more. The menu also includes a relatively wide selection of soups, perfect for the next rainy day.
Photos by Matt Hulbert