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All That & Dim Sum

Mochi, dumplings, and bao buns—oh my!

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Sticky, crunchy, silky, chewy, sweet, gooey, savory, sour. Dim sum is a riot of textures, flavors and colors of which no one should be deprived. Timwah Dim Sum Restaurant is the first dim sum-only restaurant in town and I'm a little behind the curve, as I just made it to the Southside spot that opened last summer.

Dim sum, a traditional Chinese breakfast food, has evolved into fare for an anytime meal. Honestly, I'd prefer it over sugary French toast, but something tells me I'm in the minority. Get there early on the weekends, and check the time—they have kinda strange hours.

Timwah serves dim sum from carts-signal the driver of the steamed cart or fried cart and be ready to choose. Steamed offers delicacies like chicken feet, pork shumai (which has shrimp) and shrimp shumai, sticky steamed rice in a lotus leaf with pork, and more. Soup dumplings are a must, of course, but my favorite steamed item? The bean curd roll. Don't let its lumpish mien fool you; covered with an amazing silky and surprisingly rich sauce, each bite had a little chew and a lot of flavor.

The fried cart is loaded with options for daredevils and milquetoasts, like a turnip cake or pan-fried chive dumpling. The golden-brown, baked pork bao buns were a delight. Expect a nice crunch from the sugar cookie cooked into the top and the gooey filling inside. For a true fried delight, you must have a Sesame Ball. One bite into the crisp shell uncovers freshly made red bean paste with a whole lot of flavor.

As for dessert? Forget powdered sugar-wrap your tongue around silvered coconut. The coconut-dusted housemade mochi dim sum surprised me. There are two flavors—green tea and mango—packed with housemade fillings that are a far cry from the usual Americanized ice cream.

Our first bites of green tea mochi essentially shut all conversation down at my table. The subtle, perfectly paired blend of textures and flavors demanded to be savored. First, we took a moment  to appreciate the earthy, slightly bitter flavor of good green tea. Then we savored the texture of whole, slightly sweet red beans. Really revel in the tastes, appreciate the tea, the mochi's chewy texture, the tropical coconut. Cherish it. We haven't even gotten to the mango, the brightest little ray of mochi ever. Fresh chunks of mango on the inside, not too sweet-it's all natural here, my friends. It's a tropical dream.

Timwah offers an affordable dining adventure. Plates and steam trays from the carts range from $3.25-$7.99, each has about two to four pieces, depending on the selection. It's a great way to break out of your comfort zone, especially if you go with a big group.

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If you have a recommendation, shoot me an email at biteclub@folioweekly.com. 

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