Eat a peach. When I was in college in Berkeley, I would emerge from the Ashby Street BART station and head directly for the baau stand. A minuscule woman would open the doors on her little wooden trailer and produce three to five types of baaus - warm, doughy and bursting with flavor. Although this was not my first encounter with dim sum, the experience sealed the deal. Since then, I've loved the Chinese breakfast food.
There are a few places in Bend that offer some dim sum items, but Double Happiness is the only place that does it as it is done in urban Chinatowns and the greater Canton Regions of China. Settled into their new Eastside location for over a year now, DH still offers the best dim sum this side of the Cascades.
It all happens on Sundays starting at noon. Diners receive two menus - the usual book form with all the combos and Americanized dishes, as well as a laminated photo of nine dishes denoted with the letters A-I.
On a snowy spring Sunday my dining partners and I arrived to a packed house. We didn't even glance at the standard menu, instead ordering A, B, C, D, G, and H from the dim sum menu. Each plate has four to six rolls, balls, dumplings or puffs on it, usually steamed, although some are fried. Dish A is chao zhow steamed dumplings, which are basically pot stickers that haven't been stuck to a pot - little rice wrapped pockets filled with pork, veggies and herbs that are moist and tasty.
Dish D is peach shaped pockets of lotus bean curd paste surrounded by rice dough that is shaped and colored like a peach leaves and all. It is a beautiful plate and the pockets are sweet and chewy. G features har gau, a texture treat comprised of whole shrimp encased in translucent, steamed rice wrappers that are pinched together to make a toothsome, mild mouthful.
Dishes B and C were our favorites. Dish B is the fried sesame balls (Jin deui) with lotus bean paste filling that proved warm, chewy and sweet like a dessert for breakfast. Dish C is a ham sui goh, a fried pocket filled with water chestnuts and pork chunks in a smoky, sweet plum sauce.
The only disappointment was the Char siu baau or BBQ pork baau. These rolls should be mostly soft white dough that is slightly sweet, fluffy - yet dense - and just barely chewy. Inside is a little treat of filling, in this case a chunk of BBQ pork. The baau's at DH are a bit too bready, with the texture of stale Wonder bread. There is also a custard baau (naai wong baau) on the menu that we didn't try - perhaps because it is a fully-closed roll (as opposed to turnover style) the texture would be better. It's on the list for next time.
Overall, our experience was a nice change from the standard breakfast or brunch items that dominate Sunday mornings in Bend (as well as a bit more economical). The wait staff is very helpful and will guide you through the dishes, as well as assist with accurate pronunciations. And don't forget to the tea. Dim sum is not dim sum unless accompanied by a pot of green tea (which comes with your meal).
Dim Sum at Double Happiness - $
2115 NE Highway 20, 318-7886
Dim Sum - Sundays 12-4