For all the ethnic eateries in Minneapolis, it’s never been a Dim Sum destination. I’ve always headed to the ‘burbs—namely Richfield’s jumbo Jun Bo— for my shu mai fix, an authentic dining experience that’s unfortunately dampened by the drive down 494. Not exactly Chinatown. At the opposite end of the spectrum: Thom Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen. Smack in the heart of downtown, lit up like a Barnum & Bailey circus, this ambitious east-meets-west establishment has a bar, a lounge, a dining room that seems to stretch for miles, and yes—dim sum. Available on Saturday and Sunday only, it’s the classic carted affair with every dumpling, roll, and bun you’d expect—minus the chicken feet, plus mimosas and bloody marys. (Not a bad trade-off, if you ask me). Perfect for Dim Sum beginners. One of my favorite dishes is hardly authentic but undeniably devourable: a savory-sweet, Slim Jim-esque “Chinese hotdog” that looks like pigs-in-a-blanket. Pham says it will also appear on the restaurant’s Twins menu come baseball season. The only thing I missed at Wondrous Azian was the bustle and chatter of a crowded dining room that’s as much a part of the Dim Sum experience as the food itself.
Thom Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen
533 Hennepin Ave. S. , Mpls.
Dim Sum: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.