What do Asians look for in an unfamiliar Chinese restaurant? We look for other Asians. The theory being, Chinese wouldn’t patronize a crappy Chinese restaurant.
Based on theory alone then, China Garden in Rosslyn was already in the plus column. My parents and I stepped into the large dining room for dim sum several months ago (yes, this post is long past overdue), and looked out over a sea of black hair, with more customers arriving en masse (I think there was a group that got off a bus or something). It was encouraging.
One of the factors that influences the quality of dim sum dining is the timing: arrive too early and the food is fresh and plentiful, but the dining room is a chaotic, crowded, noisy headache; arrive too late and the selection dwindles with fewer carts circling around. And then because turnover slows and items have been sitting longer, they’re not as fresh. The goal is to find that dim sum sweet spot.
We got there probably just past peak — busy when we arrived, slowing down by the time we left. Here’s a look at what we ate.
One of my family’s favorites, turnip cake. It’s pan fried and has little bits of ham in it.
Steamed shrimp dumplings.
Spare ribs. I’ve mentioned this before, but these are all for my dad. I find them too fatty.
Chinese greens in oyster sauce. Having some greens with dim sum helps cut the heaviness of all the dumplings and fried items.
Springs rolls. A staple, and always reliable.
Clams in a spicy black bean sauce. These arrived cold. They weren’t supposed to be that way. We asked that the dish be reheated, and that improved them immeasurably. The sauce was especially tasty.
I love these — shrimp-stuffed tofu.
Veggies and pork wrapped inside tofu skins.
And another favorite, fried glutinous rice balls stuffed with bbq pork. The rice is sweet, the pork is salty, it makes for a perfect yin yang.
As I’m writing this and reviewing the pictures, my mouth is watering like a dog begging for scraps at the table. I’m suddenly starving and I already had dinner. Dim sum cravings are brutal.
1100 Wilson Boulevard