I try to scoop up a group of friends at every convention I attend and go out for dim sum at least once. I know where I want to head when I’m in Maryland or Philadelphia or even Vancouver, but since I was going to be in Toronto—well, Richmond Hill—I put out the call. Who makes the best dim sum in town? The answer I received from both friends and strangers was Lai Wah Heen.
Some friends wanted to know why I was bothering to drive 30-40 minutes into the heart of Toronto when there were plenty of dim sum parlors right by our con hotel. Well, all that advice, for one, but also because of what one reviewer had to say over on Yelp: “If your idea of dim sum is $2 steamers and old ladies yelling from carts, then go back to Richmond Hill.” That slam on the entire neighborhood in which I was staying made me laugh.
Not that there’s anything wrong with dim sum at the basic level of comfort food. I do that all the time. But dim sum prepared by an internationally recognized chef, and incorporating such ingredients as lamb, emu, and foie gras? That’s not something you get a chance to eat every day. (Or, come to think of it, at all. At least, I’ve never seen any of that offered before.)
And so four of my friends—Sharon Kier Patry, Shelly Rae Clift, and Karen and Charlie Newton—piled into the car last Friday, and we bombed into town, dealing with Toronto’s marvelous midday, midweek traffic. But what we found when we got where we were going was worth it.
Everything on the menu was enticing, so we just kept checking off boxes on the order sheet until we feared we’d be unable to ingest all the promised wonders. I wasn’t disappointed in a single choice, but here are the ones that most amazed me.( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )