Navigating dim sum menus at restaurants without carts can seem tricky for those accustomed to simply pointing to what looks good and continuing to order and eat until satisfied. If there is a menu, is it best to order in flights? Or should you order everything at once but count on the restaurant to handle the pacing? Though it's tempting to order all at once (these places can be so frantically busy), if you do, you risk having all the dishes appear at the same time, in which case they'll get cold. Instead, order maybe a third of what you want, then summon the waiter when you're almost ready for more. Save the sweets for last.
Here are some new-style dim sum not to miss:
Bitter melon ball. The faintly bitter green wrapper contrasts with a sweet sesame filling. Beguiling, sophisticated and even faintly addictive. Sea Harbour Seafood, $3.20.
Hollow stem vegetables (water spinach). On their own, these earthy- tasting greens are good, but dipped in the silky fermented bean curd sauce that accompanies them, they're outstanding. New Concept, $4.98.
Scallops and shrimp in spinach pastry. A delicate seafood shiu mai with a bright green wrapper and a topping of shark's fin and crunchy masago (capelin) roe. A gorgeous symphony of textures. New Concept, $3.98.
Shrimp balls in spring roll pastry. The seafood is rolled in strips of paper-thin pastry, which fry up as crisp "hair." The texture is lovely. Ocean Star, $2.90.
Three-layer squares. A light, refined dessert of orange-strawberry gelatin dotted with tart wolfberries and layered with coconut. Sea Harbour, $1.98.
Almond-crusted taro balls. A luscious, creamy lotus seed filling flows out of a baked taro pastry when you bite into it; it's all covered in toasted almond slices. Ocean Star, $2.90.
Tofu custard topped with dried scallops. Mounds of tofu are so luxuriously soft, it's hard to pick this up with chopsticks. Contrasted with the intensely flavored dried scallop on top, it's spectacular. 888 Seafood, $2.80.