Doing dim sum (pronounced deem sum) can be daunting for first-timers, especially if they don't have someone to show them the ropes. Factor in noisy, chaotic rooms, language differences and often unfamiliar food and is it any wonder novices don't know where to start? Follow NOW's expert advice and you'll be chowing down on chicken feet like a pro in no time.
Since dim sum is traditionally a family affair, weekends, particularly Sundays, are the busiest. To beat the crowds, show up before 11 am. Better still, go early on a weekday and you'll likely have the joint to yourselves.
Sit near the kitchen
If the spot has carts, regulars know to sit near the kitchen or the dumpling station to get the freshest grub. Otherwise, who knows how long those siu mai have been making the rounds?
Don't just grab the first things that go by. They're bound to come by again. And again.
No germs, please
When grabbing something from a communal plate, use the blunt ends of your chopsticks, not the ones you eat with. Chopstick etiquette also frowns on double-dipping. If you must re-dunk into a shared sauce, always use the opposite side of whatever you've just taken a bite out of.
Groups are good
Dim sum works best with three or four diners. Figure on two dishes per person, plus a few extra for the group.
Since dim sum dishes are almost always loaded with salt and MSG, drink lots of tea and water. To get another pot, open or turn the lid over to get the server's attention.
Expect a mess
Unless you want to end up looking like a Jackson Pollock canvas by meal's end, never wear white.