One of the things that I love about Utrecht is how multicultural the city has become. You can tell based on the growing number of restaurants that serve delicious and authentic dishes from all corners of the world. One of my favorite culinary traditions is the Cantonese version of ‘high-tea’ or as they call it, Dim Sum. It means ‘touching the heart’. The Cantonese also refers to it as Yum Cha, which literally means ‘drink tea’.
Dim Sum is similar to the Western concept of brunch or afternoon tea. To me, eating Dim Sum is like having a small party and a discovery journey with family and friends – super yummy and ‘gezellig’! The idea is to choose several dishes to enjoy with a steaming pot of Chinese tea. The typical dishes include savory steamed dumplings and buns (stuffed with prawns, chicken or pork), wonton soup, fried spring rolls and pot stickers, and sweet puddings. It’s always difficult not to order more.
I’d recommend the following places for the best Dim Sum experience in Utrecht. In the weekends, it is best to make a reservation or you will need to wait a long time for a table. The best (and busiest!) time to enjoy a Dim Sum lunch is between 12:00 to 14:00 hrs, and it feels like being in downtown Hong Kong! And if you happen to know other places that serve kick-ass Dim Sum, please do let us know.
Located right across the Tivoli concert hall in Vredenburg, Restaurant Paradijs is very popular among Utrecht’s Chinese food lovers for their authentic Cantonese dishes. This is the restaurant where I had Dim Sum in Utrecht for the very first time, and it was heavenly! Among my favorites are shrimp dumplings (Haa Kau), fried round cuttlefish patties (Far Chee Kaw), Mongolian beef satays, and steamed rolled rice noodles filled with prawns (Haa Tjong Fen) or sweet barbecue pork. Besides their Dim Sum dishes, I also love their Singaporean-style fried rice and stir-fried noodles with beef. So good!
This restaurant is located at the Godebaldkwartier (in the Hoog Catherijne shopping mall), about 5 minutes walk from Utrecht Central Station. Tai-Soen has an extensive Dim Sum menu card. I usually start the feast with their delicious Sui Kau soup (shrimp wonton soup). The warm bouillon, served with green choy and spring onions, is exactly what I need during a rainy day. I also add a few drops of chili oil, which helps to clear my head whenever I feel under the weather. My favorites at Tai Soen include stuffed pepper, eggplant and tofu, fried taro root stuffed with chicken and pork, and spring onion pancake.
Tai Soen | Godebaldkwartier 275
Jasmijn en Ik
Ok, I am bending the rules here, because Jasmijn en Ik’ is only open in the evenings and they also incorporate dishes from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. They do serve the food Dim-Sum style, but with a modern twist, or as they call it, ‘Jasmijn hapjes’. It’s a different experience but the food is really good. I love their fried dumplings, stuffed with vegetables and shiitake mushrooms, and the steamed spicy chicken and shrimp wontons, seasoned with Schezuan pepper oil, cinnamon and star anise. This beautifully decorated restaurant is located in Lombok, which is probably the most multicultural neighborhood in Utrecht.
Jasmijn en Ik | Kanalstraat 219