Dim sum fans are packing into Tim Ho Wan near Union Square. Those not familiar with dim sum should expect small plates of delicious dumplings, buns and rolls. These are the masters with more than forty locations throughout Asia, Australia, Hawaii and now New York City. The space is minimalist with concrete floors, textured walls and screens made of rebar. There are no steam carts milling about. Instead, diners check off their favorites on a paper menu and wait for their dishes to arrive, some in mini bamboo steamers.
Baked pork buns, light and fluffy, are filled with succulent pork and remain a signature dish. Order some. We watched with glee as paper thin rice sheets were wrapped around pork, beef and/or squid and transformed into wonderful steamed rolls. Deep fried pork and shrimp dumplings resemble mini footballs with a crunchy cruch that is slightly sweet. Steamed open-faced dumplings packed with shrimp and pork, called Sui Mai, offered bites of bliss, while Chui Chow dumplings provide a wonderful crunch from water chestnut and cashews. Transparent dumplings, known as Har Gow, offer a traditional taste of shrimp and scallion. Fried eggplant gets dab of shrimp paste and the result is delicious.
There are many more dim sum choices available at Tim Ho Wan, including sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, braised chicken feet with an abalone sauce, steamed meatballs, and congee with pork and preserved egg. Desserts include sweet Osmanthus jelly with Goji berries and a French toast filled custard.
Run, don't walk, to Tim Ho Wan on the corner of East 10th Street and 4th Avenue. They are true dim sum masters!