Dim Sum Kingston

Close to the intersection of Princess and Chatham streets, the doors of Dim Sum Kingston opened in Fall 2013, and since my dim sum experiences in life thus far have consisted of trying random bits and pieces at generic Asian buffets, I was eager to give the “real” thing a try.

The location itself is fairly small with probably the most eclectic array of furniture I have ever seen in a restaurant, including a variety of mismatched tables and chairs, a couch and a big screen TV. Upon arriving for lunch on a Sunday afternoon, it took about 10 mins for someone to even emerge from the kitchen to present us with menus. However, when the staff finally did appear we were greeted with a friendly smile and a hot cup of delicious lychee black tea, so I wasn’t too upset about the wait.

With over 330 items, from chicken feet for the more adventurous to popular Canadian-Cantonese dishes like chicken balls, I found the menu to be a bit overwhelming. But seeing how we came to try the dim sum, the decision was made slightly easier as we narrowed in on those selections.

Dim sum is a style of Cantonese fare that is linked to the tradition of drinking tea and enjoying a snack while doing so. The individual or shared dishes are usually served in bite-sized (think hors d’oeuvres), 3-4 piece quantities and typically are steamed or fried. Dim sum is often uniquely served: a tea-style cart with ready-to-eat dishes is wheeled around a restaurant and diners are able to choose their selections right off the cart. However, at Dim Sum Kingston we were given an order sheet and were asked to “tic” off our selections and they were prepared by order.

We opted to try soup and a mixture of steamed and fried dishes (all selections were a reasonable $2.99). They were:

Dim Sum KingstonWonton with Spicy Sauce (4 pieces) – these delicious morsels were soft wonton wrappers enclosing a homemade meatball-type filling. They came coated in a spicy, savoury Sriracha-based sauce, which was quite enjoyable.

Shrimp Dumplings (3 pieces) – also known as har gow, these translucent dumplings are one of the most popular dim sum dishes. In these ones, the shrimp-filling was abundant and not overcooked. The wheat starch wrapper reminded me of a perogie, although much lighter in texture. I enjoyed the texture of these dumplings, but wish they had been served with a sauce as they were a bit bland in flavour.

BBQ Pork Buns (2 pieces) – another popular dish, these homemade buns were steamed and had the consistency of a soft white bread. The pork filling, while not copious, was sweet and paired well with the slightly sweet bun.

Dim Sum KingstonMinced Beef Rice Rolls Pasty (3 pieces) – reminiscent of soggy rice noodles, these rolls did not contain much beef and overall I found them to be too starchy and lacking in flavour.

Vegetable Spring Rolls (7 pieces) –I suspect that, unlike many of the other dishes we ordered, these were prepared from frozen and were not made in the restaurant. They were okay, but nothing special.

Wonton Soup – this was undoubtedly my favourite dish of the meal and featured wontons with the same homemade filling we enjoyed with the “spicy wonton.” I really liked the addition of cilantro rather than green onion to the broth, which gave it a fresh and unique flavour.

Dim Sum KingstonDeep Fried Milk (3 pieces) – this hot fritter-like dessert was also a winner. The sweet milk custard was enveloped in just the right amount of batter and then deep fried to perfection. Not something I would want to eat every day, but perfect for a treat!

All in all my experience at Dim Sum Kingston was hit and miss. I would go back, but I would likely select other dim sum options or choose selections from other parts of the menu. Have you been to Dim Sum Kings? Is it on par with dim sum establishments you’ve been to in other cities? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Melinda Knox

Melinda Knox has retired as a contributor to Kingstonist. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, whose regular Food & Drink column for Kingstonist explored the local culinary scene. From food trucks to fine dining, her mouth watering reviews were served with a generous side of honesty.

3 thoughts on “Dim Sum Kingston

  • I know I'm technically not a Kingstonian any more, but I still subscribe to the Kingstonist via RSS – and I couldn't help but comment on this one.

    I was really excited when Dim Sum Kingston opened up. Having grown up in Toronto, I'd always been bummed that I couldn't satisfy my Dim Sum cravings in the Limestone City. But my experiences there were definitely sub-par. I gave them a few chances – one right around opening time, then another a good few weeks down the road. Both times, they got my order wrong.

    The food was below standard for any Dim Sum place I've been to in Canada (I had fairly unadventurous Dim Sum staples – siu mai, har gow, xiaolongbao… I think some other dishes too, probably deep fried squid and minced beef rice rolls you posted) and definitely didn't satisfy my cravings. They lacked depth of flavor, and seemed poor imitations of the real things. Honestly? I was better off grabbing some packaged frozen dumplings from the Asian grocery just down the street (which, if I recall, closed not long before I left) or even from Freshco and making them at home. What a let-down.

    • Thanks for taking the time to check in with us Jeff. I've wanted to check this place out, but I've also heard a great number of mixed reviews leaning towards it being lackluster.

      Side note: the Asian Grocery up the street (beside Shoppers) did close but that storefront is now the new home to Pat's latest downtown restaurant. Consistently packed, and a great addition to the block.

  • I've been there twice now, although not recently.

    Both times I found it below what I used to find in Toronto.
    Even the frozen stuff from the supermarket was more flavourful than DSK's

    Disappointing, because I wanted there to be a Dim Sum place in Kingston I could justify going to….

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!