I'm back suckas, 8.3 lbs lighter! I ate a grip during my pregnancy and am still eating quite a lot now too. Shut it, I'm BREASTFEEDING! But I was way too tired (and lazy) to post during my pregnancy and the first couple months of my newborn's life. I made a new year's resolution to "try" and only eat out once a week. Week 3, so far so good.
Our first meal of the new year was one of my favorites: dim sum. Oh how I love all the variety of mini delicious dishes. Unfortunately, Fresno doesn't have too many yummy options but Imperial Garden does the trick for all the cravings and it's the best in town.
Imperial Garden actually offers dim sum all the time but only serves (meaning the carts wheeling around the tables for you to gawk and choose) on Saturday and Sundays from 11am - 1pm. Dim sum is not only food but an experience so come during the madness of the weekend mornings to experience dim sum at its finest. Get there early because the crowds gather before the restaurant even opens. If you get there too late, you'll get the cold, picked over goodies.
Take a seat, clean off your plate, tea cup and utensils (pertinent only for the fellow germ-a-phobs), pour some tea, and pick the items that seem appetizing as they wheel by. Below are some of my faves:Har Gau (steamed shrimp dumplings)
This is a dim sum staple. I prefer this over siu mai (pork dumplings) any day. A transparent dumpling dough filled with succulent, tasty shrimp and bamboo shoots. I love the chewiness of the dough and the sea salt goodness of the shrimp dipped in my soy sauce and red pepper condiment.
Glutinous Rice Dumplings w/pork fillingOne of my absolute favorites. Deep fried balls of glutinous rice filled with saucy, sweet pork. Think of mochi, Chinese style. At first bite your greeted with the crispy exterior then the warm chewiness sticks to your teeth while the saucy pork hits your tongue. DROOL.
BBQ Pork PastryThis use to be my all time favorite. I think it still might be but there's a lot of competition. Sweet flaky goodness enveloping chinese style bbq pork. Can life get any better?!
I love rice noodles. I love the chewiness, the light sweet flavor of the rice and the fact that it tastes good with almost anything. Wrap a fat rice noodle around some shrimp and top it with a light soy sauce and you get this delish dim sum dish.
Some other favorites that I didn't picture because I was too busy devouring them are: black bean spare ribs, taro croquette, egg custard tarts, sticky rice. I've gone to dim sum MANY times and every time I find something new to try and add to my list of favorites. I like going with a group of 3-6 people. Any less, it's hard to justify ordering so many dishes (especially to my husband). Any more, you have to more than double most dishes and if the dish is a miss, you'll have a ton left over. And most dishes come with 3-4 pieces; 3 pieced items are usually cut in half.
Imperial Garden has three price levels for their dishes starting at $2.95. Most dishes fall under the first and cheapest category. The pricier items are the big ticket items such as crab. As you order from the carts, the servers stamp your category card. If you've never tried it, go check it out this weekend. Fresno is a great start for a dim sum newbie because everything is on a smaller scale (size of restaurant and menu) and the servers are friendly.