Quincy: China Sports Bar

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman

china sports Julie and I are dim sum fans. I don't remember when we started but it's long ago. Our new go-to is the China Sports Bar in Quincy. Sharing small hot dishes each carrying an element of surprise works. And while it was at one time daunting to know how to choose the right dumplings, we learned. We're anticipating the parade of carts, some steaming, others with cool colorful desserts so bring it on.

Yes, there's a certain amount of testing but then, where is there not? We go for our house specials. Special for us, usual for the house, and still. It's what you might call a buffet on wheels and it has more than its share of charm. Someone else's kitchen is always an adventure. Here, dim sum dishes are .25 so go for two of everything.

shrimp dumpling It turns out you find your favorites wherever you go. Which makes sense. There's a uniformity to offerings that makes choosing less of a game and more of a: "Look, there it is." Vegetables and protein with minimal seasoning make for a mellow meal. You can do it for breakfast since they start at 9; We're more apt to stop in for lunch. That way, we can beer and wine. And if you don't make it in time for dim sum that ends at 3, they're open til one in the morning with a full menu that includes lunch combination plates.

china sports I would like to tell you exactly what's inside but it's a secret. We're not sure and what's more, that's okay. We've had it before and we'll have it again. We go by the shape and crimp of the dumpling. This is one of Julie's many favorites. I see something green peeking through and the inside is a crunchy mixture with rice. We always have it. Most dishes come with four pieces. This one is more than enough with two rolls.

china sports Count on a liberal use of shrimp. It holds up to light cooking, it's mellow and balances whatever vegetables and rice it's with. Shrimp also takes well to soy, which you add, and this is our favorite part of dim sum: all the seasoning is up to the eaters. The chef does not decide for you. Unlike some places, whose names I will not share, where the presence of dispensers including salt and pepper somehow mars the table's decor, your soy and chili sauce are here. Nearly everything is ready to eat though at times, a drop of chili sauce works wonders. These shrimp wraps are always served with soy.

china sports China Sports Bar, on the corner of Hancock, is cozy. The bar has 20 seats and tables for maybe 40. Today is Labor Day, the crowd is smaller but eating is large and child-friendly. Servers help if you're less than adventurous. Know it's Cantonese style combos of vegetable, rice, pork, chicken and shrimp. Steamer baskets keep everything hot and sharing is expected.

the cart When my niece was in kindergarten many years ago, one of her class trips was going for dim sum in Chinatown. She asked if we could do a try out first so she'd know what to expect. Off we went. We are seated at a communal table in a well-known Boston spot. I don't remember who points but soon there are four baskets in front of us. She's game and digs in. After a moment, she looks at me and says politely: "There's something in my mouth that feels like a foot." We carefully remove it and it is in fact, a foot. I like diplomacy and this is her intro to the adventure of someone else's kitchen.

china sports Here is a condiment that looks to be chili oil with Sichuan peppercorns. It doesn't come from a jar; Someone puts it together in the kitchen. To us it's a badge of courage. Of course I try it. More like a plate of fire: fire you can't put out, no matter milk, sugar, rice or sour cream. There's something intoxicating about it that makes me want to go back for more and I know better so I take a picture as I step back.

sesame dessert We can't say no to bright yellow egg tarts but we do today since Julie's favorite buns are here. Actually, you don't have to save dessert dishes for the end if you like mixing sweet and savory. These are made with sticky rice that are, I think, lightly fried and filled with lotus seed paste and covered in sesame. It reminds me of a donut but better, barely sweet but enough to let you know you're wrapping up. I don't think a beer but wine and cocktails surely will and you get tea refills as you go.

It turns out we go for dim sum no matter the season. Today it's hot yet The China's charm with great air conditioning compliments a menu with something for everyone. And, you get to share. It may be the only time ever that we're both eating the same thing. If only for this, it's a keeper.

China Sports Bar
681 Hancock St
Quincy, MA 02170
617. 786. 8890

© October 21, 2015 Julie Moffatt is a good sport. Kitty Kaufman is a Boston writer. See more of their food adventures at Corporate Edge and Twitter
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