Over the years, I have been lucky enough to dine at the home of some friends who are of Cantonese descent. While I have never been to China, I can use those experiences and my past readings to come to the following conclusion. Royal China is one of the more authentic dim sum (wiki) restaurants in (or around) Atlanta.
A self-proclaimed dumpling freak, I took it upon myself to spread the dumpling love. A few days ago, a small group of us took a drive up to Chamblee for some Cantonese style cuisine. What followed was a quick decent into chopstick wars and massive chaos.
I’m not going to spend the usual amount of time describing the ambience and atmosphere (or even the food). What’s important for people to understand is that a meal here is not for the faint of heart. Though it had been roughly 8-months since my last meal at Royal China, not much had changed.
The exterior is dumpy and off-putting. Meanwhile, the interior is spacious, clean, and chaotic. All the tables are large and many of them have a Lazy Susan. You know you are in the right place when you glance around to see that you’re the only non-Asian in the place.
During this meal, many of the families had yutes with them and these adorable children spent the length of our meal dashing about the restaurant. If you like quiet, intimate experiences … this ain’t for you.
Also, if you do elect to eat here … don’t order off the menu. Instead, order from one of the servers wheeling about the place pushing a cart. The procedure is fast and furious. Two or three carts will wiz about the room, your job is to point and smile! Dishes will get tossed on your table faster than you can say “shaomai” and you had best be ready to dig in. If your friends and family are anything like mine, you’ll have to smack their hands away just so that you can snap a photo (or two!). Somehow, amongst the chaos, the server will pick up your order card and mark what you had.
Don’t expect your usual sauce swimmers here. Dim Sum is notoriously light on the sauce. The flavors and preparation techniques can take some getting used. The steam cart includes various types of dumplings. Though I’m no expert, I saw elements of Jiangnan shaomai and Japanese gyoza.
Meanwhile, the griddle on wheels serves up several “cakes.” I suggest you try the rice cakes and the shrimp cakes…both have that salty flavor I do crave.
Last but not least, there are the fried options. The shrimp rolls with “bacon” are a must, as are the shrimp balls, and the tofu cakes.
Some 17 servings later, we were all stuffed to the gills. Coming in at just a smidge over $50.00, this was one inexpensive lunch. While my photos are more of a disservice than anything else, I think they work well enough.
Not everything here is perfect. Sometimes, the carts run the floor too long and the food gets cold. Also, while I’ll try *almost* anything, some items (calling the chicken feet), aren’t for everyone. Even within the vast spectrum of flavors and execution, some dishes work better than others. However, due to the low cost (and short wait) required to try something, I don’t think much of it.
Not a transcendent experience by any means, this place is still damn good! Okay, enjoy the pictures:
Royal China Restaurant Address & Information:
3295 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, Chamblee, GA, 30341 // P: 770.216.9933