I was in love when I saw the piggy-faced buns that Herald reporter Rikki King posted on Instagram.
OMG! They were the cutest dumplings ever.
“Instagram gold,” Rikki said.
Dining review gold is how I saw it. The piggy buns alone were worth 1,000 words.
Rikki scored the dessert buns at Fashion Dim Sum in Edmonds on a tip from former Herald local news editor Robert Frank, a dim sum expert.
Dim sum is bite-sized portions of Chinese fare served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Other than that (which I stole from Google), I don’t know diddly-squat about dim sum.
I stared at the long order sheet, not knowing which boxes to mark on the list of some 60 items. The guy behind the counter came to my rescue. He gestured to the large TV that flashed images of the dishes with the names. Every item looked delicious.
What would Robert and Rikki do?
Rikki said her favorite dish to order at dim sum is the soup dumplings, known as Xiaolongbao. “At Fashion Dim Sum, Robert also recommended the rice noodle rolls with dried shrimp, which were a fantastic mix of textures,” she said. “The chicken feet at Fashion are good, too, though not easy to eat delicately. I’d recommend getting these to go to enjoy in front of the TV with wet wipes.”
I like chicken wings, but for some reason cannot bring myself to eat the feet.
Ditto for pig tripe and pig ear, which are also on the menu.
I ordered seven dim sum items to go: Crab rangoon ($3.50); stir-fried sticky rice ($5.50), pork spareribs rice on lotus leaf ($7.95); BBQ pork bun ($3.85); black bean pork spareribs ($3.85); stir-fried soy sauce chow mein ($6.25); and piggy bun ($3.85).
The waiter handed me a cup of hot tea to enjoy while I waited. In less than 10 minutes, my order was ready.
The best way to eat dim sum is piping hot, so I ripped open the bag in the car and dug into the crab rangoon.
It’s hard to go wrong with crab rangoon, those deep fried wontons with cream cheese filling. It’s even harder to get it perfectly right, but Fashion Dim Sum did it.
I ate two of the four crab rangoon in the car before I left the parking lot. I have the cream cheese stains on my steering wheel to prove it.
The wonton was crunchy and packed with flavorful filling.
In a moment of strength, I tied the bag of the five other cartons of goodness to take to my family.
By the time I got home, the food was still warm. The food looks just like the pictures. Often, that is not the case; rather the items are made to look like glamour shots.
The chow mein was topped with thin onions.
“The noodles were just the right texture, with crisp onions,” said my husband, a man of few food words and a big stomach. He ate almost all if it, then made goo-goo eyes at the pork spareribs.
I heaped some on my plate, just in time. The small morsels of tender meat were wrapped around bones. Very tasty. The rice on the lotus leaf was flavored by the pork broth.
The sticky rice ball, topped with peanuts, was my daughter-in-law’s favorite. “It has good flavor and is filling,” she said.
Herald social media guru Ben Watanabe tried a leftover custard-filled piggy bun the next day: “Pleasantly sweet, not cloying and not distracting. It didn’t make my mouth go haywire or suddenly feel parched or anything else. The sweet cream dumpling was a satisfying morsel. My light gripe is that the wrapper was absurdly difficult to remove cleanly, which is a silly thing that I and other clean freaks worry about.”
Of course, this dining story wouldn’t be complete without feedback from Robert, who was in Hong Kong but reachable by Facebook.
Here’s what he wrote: “Without having just eaten it, I have to rely on a month-old memory clouded by much Hong Kong dim sum since then. But I’d say the difference between a great dim sum place and a place for dim sum lies in the freshness and individuality of the dish.
“At Fashion Dim Sum, everything is made to order, the dishes are lighter, and it’s available all day long. Did you notice how the seasoning was more precise; you could taste shrimp (cooked just so it pops with a bite) instead of salt in the har gow? That’s what I’m talking about. Oil is always fresh (fried items are light golden brown, not dark and heavy); dumplings are delicate, not protein blobs sheathed in too-thick wrappers.”
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
If you go
Fashion Dim Sum, 22923 Highway 99, Edmonds; 425-697-2886; www.fashiondimsum.com.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Wednesday.