_D5C5045brian by Brian Clarey

I’ve been writing about food for more than 20 years, 14 of them here in the Triad. And I’ve come to accept some things about our local culinary scene. One is that a good chunk of the restaurant-going public really doesn’t care all that much about the quality of the food. That’s why it’s so hard to get a parking space at the Olive Garden.

Another is that we are about five years behind national food trends. Specific examples include food truck and cupcakes, which came to our area only after they had TV shows made about them. And everyone knows that once you make a TV show about something, it’s pretty much over.

But one trend came and went with barely a blip on the local culinary Doppler, and it makes no sense to me. Seriously: Why are there no dim sum restaurants in the Triad?

Dim sum are traditional Chinese dumplings that come in infinite varieties. In a proper dim sum restaurant, the wares are carted around the dining room floor for the choosing. Places run from small storefronts that sell five for $1 to fancy sit-down joints for lengthy, multi-course meals.

And you can get them everywhere: New York, San Francisco, LA, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Houston, Orlando… one of the best dim sum restaurants in the country, according to Travel & Leisure magazine, is in Plano, Texas!

You gotta be kidding me.

It makes no sense. We have great Asian food. Greensboro was even ahead of the game on the banh mi thing. When the Chirba Chirba dim sum food truck comes in from Raleigh, they always run out of food.

And to be sure, there was once a place on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro that served dim sum on Saturday afternoons. But I don’t want dim sum on Saturday afternoons. Apparently no one else did either. They’re closed, and have been for a while. You can’t put a time frame on dim sum.

When we crave dim sum, my wife and I drive to Raleigh for dinner at a great little place by the airport. It’s totally worth it, but it’s an hour away and we only get out there a few times a year.

But if someone were to open a local dim sum house — in any city of the Triad, anywhere at all — I’m good for a solid 10 meals a year, and probably more if I can convert Ginsburg into a fan, which should be no problem.

And maybe this time, we can get the restaurant before they make the TV show.


  1. Truly, we need Dim Sum on Sundays, even other days of the week, but definitely Sunday. It was a tradition for my friends and I to go to have Dim Sum at least once a month, but more often it was two Sundays a month, when I lived in Los Angeles. Now, most of my family is here and the four of us are achingly missing Dim Sum. I swear, if we could afford it, we’d hop on a plane and fly to L.A. or S.F just to have Dim Sum. In fact, most any Chinese food that is authe4ntic, which is needed here in Winston Salem.

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