BEST DIM SUM Minneapolis 2005 - Mandarin Kitchen
8766 Lyndale Ave. S.
Bloomington, MN 55420
What is the secret to ordering at the jam-packed, crazy-busy, carnival-meets-the-Food-Network-meets-a-Tokyo-subway-car-in-morning-rush-hour that is Mandarin Kitchen's weekend dim sum extravaganza? It is simply this: Once you score your hard-won table, no matter how your stomach howls, no matter how your sweetheart yelps, do not, do not! succumb to the charms of the first cart that comes your way. Yes, it may have lovely crayon-red squids in chili oil. Yes, it might have silky crosshatched tubes of salt-and-pepper squid. It might even have crispy-skinned roast pork of such utter crispness that it crunches between your molars like hard candy. And you can order all of those. And you should. But you must not, you simply must not fill up your growling belly with the aforementioned treats: You must wait. You must wait and wait, no matter how long it takes, until the magical cart of dumpling seduction, madness, and glory comes on by. When it does? Go nuts. Glistening shrimp dumplings in glutinous rice wrappers topped with a crown of ivory scallop. Chive-pork dumplings wrapped in eggy yellow noodles that resemble a blooming chrysanthemum. Plump cilantro pockets as freshly green as a spring garden. Modest tubby har gow. Soup dumplings sluicing a spoonful of hot soup onto happy tongues. Consider this fair warning: You will have a great dim sum brunch at Bloomington's Mandarin Kitchen if you order everything from the first cart, but you will only ever know why people wait for an hour in the rain if you wait for the dumpling cart!