24 Small Plates in 24 Hours: Dim Sum

Shelley Mann, Columbus Alive

12:03 p.m.: Sunflower Chinese Restaurant

I thought it'd be fun to see how today's small plates compare to dim sum, a beloved Chinese dining tradition with hundreds of years of history.

Authentic dim sum is served from push carts, and Sunflower is currently the sole Columbus restaurant offering cart service on Saturday and Sunday mornings. As such, it draws big crowds on the weekends. After a wait, we snag a table in the packed dining room.

Now, the typical dim sum experience is a leisurely affair, with many shared plates plucked from the carts traveling quickly around the dining room. Ordering a total of four small plates for two people is not the norm, so the Sunflower staff isn't quite sure what to make of us.

We pass on a bunch of early items in an attempt to hold out for the really good stuff, but eventually end up settling on a couple mediocre dishes because the servers start acting as if we're offending them.

I score some terrific sui mai pork dumplings, steamed pork buns, fried rice dumplings, and flaky pastries filled with sweet red bean paste and salted egg yolk.

One particularly pushy cart lady strong-arms us into taking a huge plate of sticky rice, even though it doesn't really qualify as a small plate-and also is our fifth plate. And that makes excess plate No. 2.

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