Dim Sum is perfectly packaged for finger-friendly eaters. These Chinese appetizers are not meant to fill tummies, but rather (loosely translated) “touch the heart. They are served steamed, fried or baked; even picky eaters will enjoy this food adventure (check out this picky eater’s guide to dim sum). Not only is dim sum fun to eat, but cart-style service means hungry little eaters can get their food faster (and pick it themselves!).
Photo: Audrey Low via flickr
Da Hong Pao
Dim sum portions are known to be finger-friendly foods. At Da Hong Pao, you’ll find portions slightly more miniaturized — perfect for little eaters! This restaurant is often referred to as one of the best DC dim sum spots and crowds can reflect that. You may wait 15 to 30 minute for a table during brunch, but if you have tiny adventurers with you, you can grab a beeper and explore the outdoors. While you can order by checking items off a menu, kids will like the parade of steam carts that whiz through the restaurant.
1409 14th St., NW (Logan Circle)
Tucked away in an alley, kids will love the secret-like location of this Chinese restaurant in Shaw. Once inside, the space is filled with festive lanterns and tassels. Communal-style seating makes this a great place for large families or multiple party “play dates.” Dim sum dishes here are less traditional and more inventive, fusion-like offerings. A kid favorite: the bubble waffles piled with sweets and sprinkles.
922 N St NW (Shaw)
The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Attached to the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, The Source is a great place to grab a bite when you are visiting near by attractions like the National Gallery or the Art Sculpture Garden. Puck’s Asian-fusion restaurant serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday; you’ll find non-traditional, house made dumplings artfully served here. The cuisine can lean adventurous, but the miso glazed donuts (a brunch staple) are sure to please even picky eaters.
575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (National Mall)
Hong Kong Pearl Seafood
Due to space, many D.C. locations can not accommodate the cart service that is often associated with dim sum. This Falls Church establishment is expansive and filled with carts, which means the most impatient diners in your party (kids, we’re looking at you) won’t have to wait long to eat! Little ones will love the sesame balls and pineapple buns at this location.
6286 Arlington Blvd. (Falls Church, VA)
Ching Ching Cha
It was Hong Kong teahouses that first introduced dim sum; tiny snack-sized portions one could enjoy with their tea. This Georgetown institution is famous for their teas, but while you won’t find cart service here, there are dim sum treats on the menu. Ching Ching Cha offers a unique environment that transcends its D.C. address. Kids will love the part here about dining on floor pillows.
1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW (Georgetown)
Mark’s Duck House
Tucked away in a shopping center off of Arlington Highway, Mark’s Duck House is a local favorite for dim sum and savory roast duck, a Cantonese staple. Dim sum is served from the pushcarts at lunch daily (10 am-3 pm) and at all other times can be ordered off the menu. Mark’s Duck House is not as large as some of the other dim sum spots, and it does fill up fast, so go early with the under-10 set.
Small and authentic, Tony Cheng’s is the best spot in D.C. for a traditional dim sum brunch (served off push carts on weekends only, from 11 am-3 pm, but dim sum may be ordered off the menu daily). For some post-brunch entertainment, check out one of the kid-friendly museums nearby like the National Portrait Gallery, the International Spy Museum, or the Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Center. .
—Meghan Meyers and Shelby Settles-Harper