Vegetarian Dim Sum Will Touch Your Heart: Seattle Edition
Did you know that Dim Sum, when translated directly from Mandarin to English, means “touch the heart”? Pretty sweet no? Anyway, for those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with dim sum, it’s like an Asian style of brunch—they are small plates of food eaten from breakfast to lunch.
Traditional dim sum typically includes small servings of dumplings, roasted meat, steamed buns, Chinese flatbread, pot stickers, noodles, egg rolls, soup, rice and steamed vegetables.
That’s a lot of food!
“Okay, okay, but I’m vegetarian” you might be saying to yourself, “and I’m reading this to have my heart touched!”
Alright, alright. We totally understand. And we know dim sum is usually all about that pork, beef and shrimp! But if you are vegetarian—or just trying to cut back on meat—does that mean you have to deny this awesome feast?
Below we share a few places where you can get some vegetarian dim sum.
If you live in Seattle, then you already know this place is a favorite among the city. Washington is one of two lucky states to have this famous Taiwanese establishment. And with only 11 in the entire country, the Seattle area is spoiled with four of them!
So, if you’re vegetarian, what do you get here? Actually, I think a better question to ask is, “What don’t you get here?!” It can be so easy to order everything on the menu—especially after surviving the long wait times.
Okay, so here are the dishes I recommend.
- Cucumber Salad: Let’s just say that if I had to choose one way to eat cucumber for the rest of my life, this is how I would eat it! This salad features pickled cucumber flavored with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, chili and a touch of sugar.
- Sautéed String Beans with Garlic: Now I know you might be thinking, “Really? String beans?” But trust me, you’ll be cleaning your plate once you’ve had these. They are blanched and flash fried to achieve the perfect level of crispiness. And let’s not forget that garlic! Add some delicious hot oil and your taste buds will thank you.
- Sautéed Broccoli with Garlic: Yeah, that’s right. I’m sharing ANOTHER vegetable dish. But it’s so good, you’ll be cleaning this plate too. Besides, you can’t go wrong with too many veggies ;)
- Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings: These are filled with a spinach mushroom mix. And don’t forget to mix your sauce on the little plate of ginger they give you! Mix one part vinegar with two parts soy sauce and if you’re like me, add a ton of hot chili oil. Dip and enjoy.
- Vegetarian Steamed Bun: Same filling as the dumplings. But if you love that doughy texture, you get extra with these! #carbiegirl
- Vegetarian Shanghai Rice Cakes: Another favorite of mine that I highly recommend! Basically, these are chewy, oval shaped pasta or “cakes” stir fried with some veggies for that ultimate palate pleasing effect.
- Noodles in Spicy Sauce: Two words—spicy sauce! Aka: crack. And the list can go on! Check it out for yourself.
Photo Credit: Dough Zone FB Page
With three locations of this Shanghainese style spot now in the Seattle/Bellevue area, this dumpling house has gained a lot of popularity. They’ve made the cut for having various vegetarian friendly options.
P.S. They’re also less expensive than the previous location.
Here’s what to try
- Chinese Donut: This is a very crispy roll of dough served with peanut oil.
- Braised Tofu: It may not look special at first, but don’t let that fool you. This dish has some great flavor! A nice, refreshing palate cleanser.
- Vegetable Pot Stickers: Who doesn’t love a pan-fried dumpling?
- Vegetable Steamed Dumplings: Another spinach medley filling that doesn’t fail. And it goes great with the sauce condiments.
- Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles: YUM! One of my faves here. These are Sichuan style noodles served in a hot chili oil sauce, sometimes mixed with a sesame paste. P.S. If you want to know where the term ‘dan dan’ came from, this article gives a good explanation.
- Vegetarian Mala Noodles: Mala means spicy! But honestly, it’s not that spicy. However, it is full of flavor, so make sure to check these out as well.
Located in pockets of Seattle’s International District, this little Mom and Pop shop caught my eye when I saw TWO types of vegetarian dumplings on their window menu.
Let’s get something straight. When a dumpling house offers you more than one vegetarian option, you must try them both! This spot is also a nice alternative since the cuisine is Qingdao style.
Here’s what to try
- Green Onion Flatbread: This green onion pancake is pretty darn good! Last time I had it, I practically ate the whole thing—and I went with a friend! Served nice and hot, it’s got that slight oiliness that makes it moist without jeopardizing the crispy texture it should have.
- Wood Ear Fungus Dumplings: Now don’t let that word fungus scare you away. It’s just another way to say mushrooms. Plus, these dumplings also have tofu, chive and egg. It’s a great mix of flavors and a nice alternative to the usual veggie dumpling you find at other joints. They’re also very hearty!
There was also way more I could’ve tried, but like I mentioned, there was only two of us, so a girl can only eat so much!
Overall, if you’re in the veggie mood but still want a dim sum fix, you definitely have options here in Seattle. Or as Levar Burton used to say, you don’t have to take my word for it. Check it out for yourself ;)
If you love dim sum as much as we do, get your dim sum swag on our site at lefoodieco.com