When I travel to Honolulu or San Francisco, I always head straight to the respective Chinatowns to savor fresh and authentic dim sum for breakfast.
Starting Friday, Mike's Restaurant in Wailuku will make dim sum fresh in house daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the items are as good as it gets. While diners won't find any cart service, you will be brought small steamer baskets or small plates of exotic tastes.
Dim sum is a Cantonese term loosely translated as "dot heart." Taken with tea, it's a traditional Chinese meal that can be steamed or fried. Eaten as a snack, dim sum is the Far East version of tapas.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Originally from Guangzhou, China, owner-chef Mike Xiao will launch his new line of dim sum for breakfast and lunch, starting Friday.
On a recent visit, owner Mike and Tina Xiao and their translator friend Sandra Ban-Martin brought out all manner of dim sum for us to try.
Originally from China, the couple have been on Maui for a while and do not need a translator anymore. But Mike was busy in the kitchen preparing the feast and Tina was working the front of the counter, where they also feature a daily lunch and dinner buffet in addition to a la carte offerings.
"Mike and his new chef are making all of this fresh, not bringing it in from the stores in Honolulu or San Francisco," said Sandra.
"One dim sum they'll make is juk, also called 'congee' or 'rice porridge.' You can have it plain or with duck egg, or topped with fish, beef or chicken."
The congee alone will keep me coming back for more. But the char siu bao was the freshest and fluffiest I've ever eaten - and the barbecue pork inside burst with savory and satisfying tastes.
Beef meatballs are made from scratch. The pot stickers are done in the Northern Chinese style as a dumpling filled with meat and cabbage. They'll also wow you with crispy spring rolls and crispy gau gee.
Lovers of spare ribs will want to order Mike's version topped with black-bean sauce. You also must try shaomai, steamed dumplings with pork and prawns stuffed inside. Roast-duck vermicelli and beef ramen take it all over the top in taste and texture. So do Chinese pancakes with green onions, and kau yuk dry mein. Kau yuk is braised and roasted pork, slow cooked until fork tender. It's like a Chinese spaghetti served on wide flat noodles with sauce. Prices are reasonable. Want to impress dinner guests? Order dim sum as takeout. Call Mike's at 244-7888.