Big Eats in Little China


It was a hot humid Sunday afternoon as I hit the streets of Winnipeg looking for a good meal.  As I often do, I set out in my Jeep with an empty belly and an open mind.  This day, hearing rumours of a street party in Winnipeg’s Chinatown, my belly and mind agreed on one thing.  Dim Sum.

As I approached the Downtown area I started catching glimpses of families walking towards Chinatown.  As promised the streets were blocked off and vendors were setting up their wares.  A main stage area graced the centre of one intersection and people milled about waiting for the activities to start.

Setting Up the Stage for the Chinatown Street Festival.

The purpose of my journey however was a little further up.  Dim Sum Garden, a highly regarded Cantonese eatery was open and ready to fill my now growling stomach.  The exterior of the restaurant is typical for the area of town, laying just a block off Main Street the area was once the night-time hangout for various underworld types and the men that preyed upon them.

Dim Sum Garden

However like many things in this 100 year old Chinese district, looks often are deceiving.  Once inside the the eatery opens up into a multi-level dining palace.  Normally on slow weekdays the public are confined to the sizable main floor area of the dining hall.  But on special event days and weekends the upper areas are opened to more than double the space.

Food is dispensed in traditional Dim Sum method, women pushing carts laden with wicker baskets containing all sorts of wondrous delights.  To the western palate every bite seems to open up a veritable Pandora’s box of flavour.  I must admit that I only just recently caught the Dim Sum bug.  My enlightened cousin dragged me kicking and screaming to this very establishment only a few months prior.

The Dim Sum Cart

I dined on a wonderfully sticky balls of sweetened rice wrapped tightly in thick leaves and steamed to perfection.  Pork dumplings and lightly fried pieces of calamari also made an appearance on my table.  To me the entire concept of sit-down and people will pass by offering tender morsels until you say “Stop, enough already.  I give.”  is just a delight beyond compare.  Succulent grilled pieces of chicken flesh, batter fried shrimp done the way they should be, more meat than batter!  Is there a finer way to spend a Sunday afternoon?  If so I haven’t found it yet.

Finishing my lunch with a pot of green tea seemed appropriate.  I paid the modest bill, finding to my luck that I happened in at happy hour.  A wander around the now bustling china town area seemed the thing to do.

A Little Girl Sings for the Crowd.

Dancers Twirl in the Afternoon Sun.

I thought to myself as I wandered if I would pay as much attention to my adopted city if I stopped writing about its wonders.  It made me feel a traveller mere kilometres from my home.  These little festivals that take the city by storm if nothing else serve to drag the remaining populace out into the streets they would otherwise avoid.  Chinatown at night is not an area that one would consider exactly safe, even though great steps have taken place to clean the area.  Many residential hotels still dot the landscape here and substance abuse is common.

Old Style Chop Suey Houses Still Dot the Landscape.

Chinatown Bridge.

I walked warmed by the sun and the hospitality of the Chinese  people that work and live in this part of town.  For that I must bow deeply to that honourable meal and experience I had with them today.

Dim Sum Garden on Urbanspoon

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4 responses to “Big Eats in Little China

  1. I love dim sum.
    You’re totally right by the way, sitting around being fed endless deliciousness on a crate it fabulous.
    This reminds me of a place I used to go in Seattle.
    Long live Chinese dining.

    • Wow Ryan you’re tearing through my collected works like a badger on ephedrine!

      Glad you’re enjoying the read though, “Whew!” I always get nervous when someone new takes a liking to my work, makes me feel like I am having to travel in the United States. Yikes don’t touch my junk buddy!

      Yep, my cousin introduced me to Dim Sum a while ago now I am a helpless addict. Much like my constant Sushi craving.
      I guess that makes two monkeys on my back.

      It’s been a while since I’ve ventured into that part of town, I guess I shall have to make a return trip real soon. 🙂

  2. I have had the lucky chance to try Dim Sum at Dim Sum Garden. All I can say is yum! We also went at 11:30 am and that may be the key as everything was fresh and hot for lunch. This is by far the best Chinese food I have had in long time!