An authentic dim sum brunch is truly a sight to behold! Here are our four fave spots in NoVA!
When done right, a weekend dim sum meal is a wonderful opportunity to try dozens of small dishes without breaking the bank. Served tapas-style, the dumplings, buns, noodles, and roasted meats eventually make up a family-style meal fit for any Instagram account.
What to Try
If you've never been to a dim sum restaurant before, the steaming carts and exotic dishes may be a bit much to take in. Here's a list of the basics for a table of four:
- Steamed dumplings (shrimp har gao, pork siu mei, potstickers, or chive dumplings)
- Fried stuff (spring rolls, shrimp balls with sweet and sour sauce, or fried taro root stuffed with minced pork)
- Buns, baked or steamed, filled with BBQ pork
- Noodles (chow fun, shrimp rice noodle crepes or Singapore noodles)
- Roast duck or roast suckling pig
- Flash-fried vegetables (snow pea tips, Chinese broccoli, or baby bok choy)
Finish off the meal with egg custard tarts, soft tofu in ginger broth, or just another pot of tea. Argue over who gets which leftovers, and loosen your belt as needed.
Where to Go
Sadly, the family-favorite Fortune Restaurant has closed, but don't despair—Hong Kong Pearl has taken its place as THE spot for large family gatherings. The majority of the tables fit 10-12 around a lazy Susan, so get a big group together if you're going to try it out.
Hong Kong Pearl (6286 Arlington Blvd. in Falls Church, VA) is a wonderful seafood destination dim sum option in Seven Corners. In addition to traditional dim sum, they serve unique seasonal dishes such as giant oysters lightly steamed with soy sauce and chives. Their shell-on salt toasted shrimp is particularly good. Large round tables here are perfect for big groups, and they open promptly at 10:30 a.m. so get there early!
Mark's Duck House (6184-A Arlington Blvd. in Falls Church, VA) is best known for the roast duck and roast suckling pig, but they serve a great dim sum as well. Traditional cart service should be rounded out with a variety of meats and noodles here. Their beef chow fun is truly delicious when ordered fresh from the menu. Mark's also does a heck of a carryout pig roast for your next luau! Mark's has most dim sum items on their regular menu as well, so you can give it a try during the week too.
Golden Hong Kong (6396 Springfield Plaza in Springfield, VA) has the distinction of being the furthest south that I could find good dim sum in Northern Virginia. While it doesn't have the variety or cult-like following of the Seven Corners restaurants, the basic dim sum dishes are just tasty enough to justify not driving all the way to Falls Church. Do not miss the salt and pepper fried pork chop, and make sure you go with people who don't care if you gnaw on the bone.
Bold Dumpling at The Block (4221 John Marr Road in Annandale, VA) is the newest spot on the list. You can't get a full traditional dim sum here, but their extensive dumpling menu is worth a visit. All of their dishes are made to order, so keep that in mind and be patient. Make this your first stop at The Block, then peruse the other vendors for other treats to round out your meal.
**All of the photos in this article are by Sarina Petrocelly.
Do you have a favorite dim sum spot in Northern Virginia? What are your favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments!