The Best Mother’s Day Brunch Is Dim Sum

It’s the perfect celebratory restaurant experience — but you can also make some dishes at home!

May 03, 2022

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Get the recipe: Siu Mai

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Get the recipe: Siu Mai

Brunch is never more popular than on the first Sunday of May. Thanks to Mother’s Day, restaurants are jam-packed with reservations for the common poached egg, avocado toast or a stack of pancakes. But have you considered taking your mom, auntie or grandma to dim sum for the big celebration? Dim sum is a fun and delicious way to chat with the most important ladies in your life while enjoying delightful sweet and savory dishes. Plus, “dim sum” translates to “touch heart,” and what better way to have a heartfelt meal with mom other than a bevy of small, shared plates?

For as long as I can remember (and especially when I was a kid), my family and I had dim sum every Saturday around 12:30 p.m. after Chinese school dismissal. If it was a holiday weekend, the chef would create special dishes due to the higher number of patrons. Although they would be a couple of bucks more than the traditional classics such as roast pork buns or steamed shrimp dumplings, my parents were always generous with my siblings and I, and we’d order a handful of the weekend specials. If there were only four pieces to a dish, my mother and I would often share a piece. She always said she just wanted a small taste. I was happy to give her that from my share. After a couple of bites, we would each sip on our small cups of hot tea. Often, we would see my parents’ friends, colleagues and even some old neighbors; we’d catch up while asking each other our thoughts on the holiday specials. Dim sum is a shared community experience where locals connect over a good meal and conversation.

It is a weekend like this that creates such fond and delicious memories. As a new mom celebrating her second Mother’s Day, I plan to invite my family and in-laws to dim sum. This way, my daughter can create new memories with the ladies that will always be in her life. For those who might find it intimidating, I have included a few tips (Viv’s Tips, if you will!) to ensure you feel right at home at dim sum.

Choose your tea.

Not sure which tea to order? Try jasmine; it is light with floral notes. It complements both savory and sweet food well. If you run out of tea in your teapot, simply place the lid by the side of the pot. The servers will see this and refill with hot water. Allow the tea to steep for a few minutes before refilling your cup. Not a fan of tea? No worries. Restaurants have a wide selection of coffee, sodas and beers. Some restaurants even offer wine and boba!

Get the recipe: Har Gow

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Get the recipe: Har Gow

Ask for dipping sauces.

Although some dishes are accompanied by sauces, such as spring rolls with Worcestershire sauce, you can always ask the server for soy sauce, hot mustard and even hot sauce.

Not sure what to order?

Be sure to ask your server for recommendations. Tell them what you like or if you have any dietary restrictions and they will guide you the right way. Remember to ask for weekend or holiday specials.

Get those extra napkins.

Dim sum can get messy! Feel free to ask the servers for extra napkins because between the bao and dumplings, you’ll constantly be wiping your mouth.

Nai Wong Bao

Get the recipe: Nai Wong Bao

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Get the recipe: Nai Wong Bao

Try everything.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. The beauty of dim sum is the small plates. Some of the plating might be plain but one bite and you’ll understand why you should never judge a dish by its looks. Be adventurous with mom.

Or try cooking it at home!

If you do not have a local restaurant that you can visit, you can still spoil mom with a homemade dim sum meal at home. Start with these tried-and-tested recipes straight from our test kitchen.

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