Oriental City a.k.a 747 is my go to spot for dim sum in Amsterdam. It’s a definite eat, drink and get out spot where both tourists and locals flock to to get their fix of dim sum. The staff are all very friendly and more than willing to assist dim sum newbies with suggestions, but this place is b-u-s-y so keep it short and simple.
Traditionally dim sum or yum cha is the drinking of tea with little nibbles in the morning or afternoon. This tradition stems from Canton in the South of China but has become well known throughout the world. I guess nowadays dim sum is more like a food fest with the occasional pot of tea thrown in… That being said, me likey!
Dim sum can constitute of many different things. It can be steamed, baked or deep fried, but it will always be a small bite sized dish. Oriental City has a wide selection of many delicious dishes and I have yet to try all of them, but let me share some of my favorites with you.
I cannot not order this: sui mai/ shu mai/ 烧卖. Of course there are many varieties but the one I love is a steamed dumpling of minced prawn, pork and shitake mushrooms. As a little girl in Suriname, we would go and get them every weekend. It would be served in a simple plastic cup with a dash of soy sauce but I’d be blissfully happy!
Deep fried prawn wantons aka siu kau. Crispy on the outside and super juicy on the inside. My sis loves these, I won’t say no to them either ; )
This baby octopus dish is actually Japanese… but I like how the fresh flavors break up all the fatty food you’ve been munching on. Oriental also has a mean sliced squid (orange squid that is), ask they will know!
Eggplant cakes. Not a very well known dish but I like it a lot! Served with a delicious sauce to dip the creamy cakes in. Hmmm. Not on the regular dim sum menu, look for the small Chinese card or ask the staff.
I like to end the meal with something sweet. These steamed buns with a creamy lotus seed paste filling (莲蓉包) get the job done perfectly. But I’ll settle for some sponge cake or pudding as well.
Some other favorites include steamed rice rolls with barbecued pork (char siu chang fen/ 叉燒腸粉), steamed sticky rice in lotus leave (loh ma gai/ 糯米雞), flaky taro puffs filled with meat and mushrooms (wu gok/ 芋角), steamed barbecued pork bun (char siu bao/ 叉燒包), turnip cake (lo bak gou/ 蘿蔔糕), steamed sponge cake (烤鸡蛋糕) and water chestnut cake (mati gao/ 馬蹄糕). Plenty to try!
Another thing I really like about dim sum is that it’s not expensive at all! You can have a VERY filling meal for €15 per person. As things are often served in servings of 2-4 parcels per dish I would recommend to try and bring at least two friends along, that way you can try many different dishes. If it’s just the two of you, ordering 4-5 dishes would be plenty but my greedy side always gets the upper hand and I end up ordering at least 5-7 dishes… Sssst don’t tell.
Oriental City serves dim sum daily from 11:30-15:00. They don’t take reservations but expect to be seated within 15 minutes, though Sundays can be slightly busier.
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If you’re feeling adventurous try to order something of the Chinese menu. My mission is to try a new dish every time I go for dim sum. That’s how I first came across these eggplant cakes and they are delish!
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 177, Amsterdam