Dim Sum, for those of you that are in the same boat as I was, is a Cantonese term that describes small portions of Chinese dishes. Usually these dishes are served on a small plate or in a steamer basket. China Yuan's dim sum is served on Sunday afternoons and includes forty-two different options. RB and EVB, who are connoisseurs when it comes to Chinese food, will tell you that there are a handful of these forty-two options that are amazingly good, some of the best in Tampa. For me, there really is only one, the pineapple buns. But those buns are enough to make me return to the tiny little strip mall, where China Yuan is located, again and again.
What is so good about these buns? It is the softness of the outside and the sweet pineapple filling on the inside (a filling that defies Chinese tradition) that make these buns the stuff that dreams are made of.
Don't get me wrong, China Yuan is more than pineapple buns and dim sum. The restaurant makes an amazing salt and pepper tofu and their garlic bean curd is pretty good too. I've heard wondrous things about their snow pea tips (which are always out when we try to order them) and am able to enjoy the vegetable spring rolls and bean curd rolls on the appetizer menu. But what sets China Yuan apart from other good Chinese restaurants (I'm looking at you Yummy House) is their buns.
Running in my dreams right alongside China Yuan's pineapple buns was "Chinatown" by Wild Nothing. The song is the perfect blend of pop, dreams, and stowing away on a train to escape your past. "Chinatown" is on Wild Nothing's new album, Gemini. You can purchase it here.
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