By Linda Bladholm
It’s worth a trip to Sunrise for the handmade pot stickers, buns and other morsels served all day at Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant and Authentic Dim Sum. After all, Toa Toa means "good dim sum," which is hard to find in South Florida.
Most Western customers order dim sum as an appetizer followed by dinner from the main menu. Earlier in the day, the place is packed with Asians at round tables sharing dim sum and pots of jasmine tea.
To Wong and wife Alice moved from Hong Kong to South Florida in 1988 and opened Toa Toa a year later. They named it for an elite Hong Kong restaurant famous in the 1930s for its dumplings and bronze serving
dishes, teapots and utensils. You’ll be brought two menus, both with pictures. The standard Chinese fare is fine, but that’s not your focus.
To order dim sum, mark how many of each item you want on the slip of paper provided. The dishes arrive one at a time, and there is often a short wait as the dumplings are freshly steamed or fried. The most popular item is the ha gow or steamed shrimp dumplings in fluted wheat-flour wrappers. Hot crushed chile oil and sweet soy sauce are on the table for spooning onto your plate as a dip.
Other favorites are siu mai (open-faced steamed dumplings with minced pork, shrimp and mushroom filling), ha chow fun (delicate sheets of rice noodle folded cannelloni-style around a filling of shrimp, ground beef or roast pork) and char siu bao, soft, golden, sugar-glazed buns filled with barbecued pork. Silver pin noodles are tiny, hand-rolled noodles made from compressed, cooked rice that are stir-fried with bean sprouts, shredded pork and shrimp and topped with omelet shreds.
Phoenix talons are deep-fried chicken feet that are then boiled, marinated in black bean sauce and steamed to create tender claws. Taro shrimp brings large crustaceans coated in fine shreds of the root vegetable and deep-fried. Turnip pudding is not dessert but savory slabs of mashed, steamed and pan-fried daikon radish. End with a warm egg custard tart that puts the yum in yum cha (to sip tea and eat dim sum).
Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant and Authentic Dim Sum, 4145 NW 88th Ave., Pine Plaza, Sunrise (across from Sunrise Cinema); 954-746-8833; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thurs-Tues (closed Wed). Dim sum $3-$6.95 for three or four pieces or a small plate; pan-fried noodles $9.95-10.95; noodle soups $6.95-$7.25; stir-fries $6.25-$10.95
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