Amsterdam has a new dim sum spot and it’s aptly called Dim Sum Now. I mean the answer to when it’s time to have dim sum is always going to be now, surely. We walk in on a Monday afternoon. The interior is minimal with white tiled walls and Muuto E27 pendant lamps hanging from the ceiling. In the middle of the room is the steaming counter, where baskets are piled up filled with steamy goodness, ready to be consumed.
The menu shows different offerings from dumplings to different kinds of gyoza. Dumplings on the menu vary from shiu mai (veal or chicken), Shanghai dumpling (or xiao long bao, with pork or fish) and a vegetable dumpling. The gyozas come in pork, seafood, chicken, duck or spinach. We start with the Dumpling XL and Gyoza XL; both menus feature a selection of dumplings and gyozas and are served with either a seaweed salad or edamame and a pot of tea. The sets are served in beautiful bamboo baskets and wooden trays, giving it a cleaner look than what you would get at a typical dim sum restaurant.
We were delighted to learn that the dim sum is prepared without additives like MSG or other taste enhancers. This is a new concept that I’m sure many Chinese people from the previous generation won’t understand. Chinese restaurants use MSG to a large extent but it has become the centre of a heavy debate about whether or not it is healthy (it is said to cause headaches). As a Dutch-born Chinese, I’ve been exposed to the use of MSG all my life and have never felt a discomfort caused by it. But I’d much more prefer a way of cooking where ingredients are highlighted and enjoyed in their most natural way.
We sample two more items, from the Very Specials this time: a lotus leaf wrap (which I finished in a matter of seconds) and gloriously delicious sweet buns.
The verdict? Every Chinese has a favorite dim sum place to go to in Amsterdam and so does yours truly (even though some are outside of Amsterdam (The Hague)). But we loved this place for its natural way of preparing dim sum, which I think is the first step for Chinese cuisine to, after decades of serving the same, step into newer territories. Dim Sum Now is the first to do it, silently revolutionizing the Chinese food scene with this approach and I’m glad they’re doing it. The menu is limited now, but we can’t wait to see more offerings on the menu the next time I’m in Amsterdam.