Published on June 19th, 2019 | by James Drew0
Dam Sum brings Asian culinary delight
They say good news spreads fast and news about the newest restaurant in Brussels is quickly spreading, writes Martin Banks.
Dam Sum is the name and, as the name partly suggests, the speciality here is the fantastic dim sum.
In fact, sampling this tasty Asian dish is another experience at Dam Sum. The reason is that it is home made, unlike a lot of other Asian eateries where it may be bought in bulk and frozen which obviously can affect the taste.
One other big difference is that the dim sum at Dam Sum – and all other dishes – are cooked directly in front of guests.Apart from seeing for yourself what’s going into them you can also admire the very skilled craftsmanship involved in making dim sum. It may be a relatively simply dish but, be sure, crafting each item is a real artform in itself.
The good news is that it is not just about presentation here: the food is very good as well.
For the uninitiated, dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine prepared as small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. There cannot be any better place in Brussels to try it than here (apart from the other branch of Dam Sum in Ixelles, that is!).
There are many different types of dim sum are on the menu, all very tasty and, notably, very cheap as well.
Examples include Xiao Long Bao Pork, a delicate pork dim sum with soup inside and a signature dish.Another classic is Xiao Long Bao Wagyu Beef, the world-renowned Japanese beef.
Other recommendations include Chao Sou (steamed beef dumping in vinegar sauce); Har Gao (a translucent shrimp classic); Xiao Long Bao crab and pork (pork and fresh crab with soup inside) and a vegetable dim sum (a find combination of vegetables and herbs). Each comprises three pieces and are all remarkably good value. Try ordering a few items, say 4 or 5, and share them around the table.
They are quite filling but you should also sample something else off the menu which you can order as a medium or large portion. These include four soups including Wanton Soup (a refreshing dim sum soup with shrimp).
Mains include Gom Bao chicken (wok fried chicken with peanuts and spicy oil sauce); black pepper beef; sweet and sour pork and crispy lemon chicken (chicken strips tossed in a tangy sweet lemon sauce).
You can order noodles, rice and veg. If you’ve still room after such fabulous feasting,you really should try a desert maybe the lovely Ice Cream Bun, a vanilla sorbet with caramel beurre served in a deep fried bum.
All Dam Sum’s dishes are glutamate free and this quite fantastic food can be accompanied by either a beer (there’s a Chinese one available), cocktails and excellent wine.
This is the 2nd Dam Sum and, while it opened only in April, it’s already proving popular.
The interior of what used to be an insurance office has been totally changed and this branch is much larger than its counterpart in Ixelles, seating up 100 in two rooms, with a further 100 seats on the outside terrace (which overlooks the lovely Place St Catherine, Brussels’s old fish market).
Unlike the first Dam Sum which includes a lot locals and expats among its clients, this new place counts tourists who flock to this part of the town, including Chinatown nearby, among its clientele.
However, the menu and recipes for the food are the same at both restaurants and it is worth noting that afternoon tea is also served and great effort is made to ensure the kitchen is aware of any customer allergies.
Credit must go to Hor Wai Chong, its Malaysian-born chef, is also new to Belgium, having arrived only a few months ago.
He told this website he first entered the trade 15 years ago and spent some ten years learning his craft under the tutelage of chefs in Malaysia. After giving a demonstration of the art of rolling dim sum(before it is dispatched to the kitchen), he said, “Each dim sum dumpling is different and takes time to master.”
The manager here is Valerie who happily provides advice on the dishes and heads a hard working team, who are all working together to put “Dam Sum No.2 “ on the city’s culinary map.
Quai du bois a bruler 51, 1000 Bruxelles
T. +32 (0)2 446 0786