They're all goners...tasty, tasty goners...
Frankly, it's difficult to discuss dim sum as a cuisine like you would other cuisines, because its primary distinguishing characteristic is that it's essentially communal small-plate dining, Chinese style. Dim sum originated as a snack in the tea houses of southern China several centuries ago, but it has since evolved into a full blown meal that comprises cooking styles from across this vast country.
Himself and I were among a party a dozen strong that went to East Gourmet Seafood Restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley to indulge in one of those free-for-alls. Our friends Bob and Grace, who treated us to Chinese hot pot back in the winter, organized this food fest. While Grace is nowhere near grannydom yet, she's already in serious training. This is important, because what's crucial is to find the best dim sum possible for the least amount of money. If you've selected such a place you'll know by the sheer numbers of Chinese grannies you find there. If you don't spot any--particularly if you're there on a Sunday morning--do a rapid U-turn and keep looking. Grace's radar is especially attuned to good seafood, so we were in capable hands for this feast.
Bringing order out of chaos: SOMEBODY'S gotta do it! (I did finally eat those green beans, by the way.)
"Dim sum" more or less translates as "touch the heart," which originally had to do with the business of having a light snack to tide you over. But I prefer to think of the heart touching aspect of sitting down to eat with a group, with the conviviality, abundance and happy confusion involved in spinning the lazy susan and trying to grab a bite of something before it goes whizzing past. Of gloating over having scored that final piece. And of sharing a bite of it with someone else who was after it, too.
By the end of the meal Himself and I were almost in a coma, thick of head and slow of gait. As we staggered toward our car, we agreed: Too much dim sum will make you dim and then some. But in a good way. ;)