Sino Chai is tucked away in Healthcare City, and is a bit hard to find. But it is worth the search. Parking is not free, but is ample on weekends. But let’s talk food, let’s talk dim sum.
We’ve been to Sino Chai many, many times, and this last weekend we went for the Friday all-you-can-enjoy Friday dim sum special with visiting family, and were delighted, as always. It’s a tea house with a chinese twist out of Taiwan, and it also sells an interesting range of teas, sauces, tea sets and grains. Authentic chinese, and unusually good. But let’s stay on topic: dim sum.
Our lunch set off with a light, creamy aromatic pumpkin soup. So good, you could have gone on and filled yourself. But we had lots to come, and didn’t know where to start – or stop – so we asked for what would be a great Buddhist saying – make me one with everything.
We had vegetarian dumplings, beef dumplings, really well done su mai, spring onion pancakes (like Indian parathas, but superbly light), pineapple and prawn dumplings, germinated rice wrapped in lotus (authentic brown rice that wasn’t filling, but was a wonderful interval between other dim sums), and the favorite dish on our table – the seafood and tea leaf wrapped in tofu skin! Our guests were so impressed and intrigued that we kept referring to the menu – like a short wiki on what we were enjoying with every fresh basket that arrived.
Most of our dim sums were fresh seafood and tea based, (the prawn dumplings are soft, succulent and top notch) – and each one was different, each one was great. The best part was that everything was done fresh for us (yes, there’s a few minutes waiting, but once you start, it just keeps rolling in). We asked the kitchen to stop after a few servings, because we had really enjoyed everything we had, and didn’t want to spoil the experience by over-indulging. The steamed dumplings are fantastic, the fried ones are good, but they fill you up a tad too soon. So, choose wisely off the menu if you know your dim sums.
Value for money – at under AED90 per person, the Friday dim sum is fantastic. If you haven’t been before, ask for a basket each of the favorites – but do include the su mai. And we have to mention the complimentary cups of Oolong tea – fantastic to keep your chi flowing as you eat.
On other occasions we have eaten a-la-carte, and had their delicious desserts – the home made ice creams are a must. We also enjoy their large bowls of soup – perfect for the season ahead. Sino Chai is an unique experience. The ambiance is quietly comfortable, the food is delicious, and the service, sometimes a tad slow (everything is fresh, and fresh takes time) is very attentive. The food is not what you expect at your average Dubai chinese place. This is dim sum with a difference, and you’ll know right away that it’s genuine and set apart from the in-mall quick dim sum places that have cropped up in Dubai. This is genuine chinese via Taipei, and it has the magic of tea infused into most of the dim sums. That’s what makes the Sino Chai experience one you would go back for over and over. We do. And we love it.