There is, as always, a bunch of fun articles in the most recent issue of Lucky Peach (theme: Chinatown), with the most handy being Carolyn J. Phillips's succinct guide to dim sum that doubles as a CliffsNotes version of a typical dim sum menu. But maybe you don't want to conspicuously reference Lucky Peach while seated at a communal table at Sea Harbour, or maybe you'd prefer not to tear out the article so you can keep the issue nice and pristine. For you, and everyone else without a hard copy of the magazine, the guide was just excerpted and posted on BuzzFeed. Print away.
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The guide takes you through 24 common dim sum items, from dumplings and other steamed dishes to desserts like fried sesame balls. There are nice photos and descriptions of each dish, plus their Cantonese and Mandarin pronunciations. Sure, it's no substitute for an actual human guide who can point you to all the esoteric options carting around the dim sum floor, but as a primer for the novice, it'll do. You'll also find fun trivia sprinkled throughout the explanations (i.e., on steamed pork buns: "In Hong Kong, char siu bao suffers a reputation like that of hot dogs in the U.S. -- it's thought that any mystery meat could end up inside, even human").
So now you don't have to ruin your precious copy of Lucky Peach -- rather, keep it in mint condition and sell it on eBay in a few years -- and you'll know exactly what to order at Sea Harbour. You can have your radish cake and eat it, too.
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