In NYC I used to love going to Chinatown for dim sum: taking the train to Canal Street, walking up a dodgy stairway to a giant tackily-decorated-yet-somehow-utilitarian restaurant, getting over my shyness to aggressively wave down people pushing carts full of goodies (usually not knowing exactly what I was eating) and filling my stomach with too much delicious Chinese food. In Johannesburg we’ve found a place that is pretty darn good. Shun De, located in the new Chinatown in Cyrildene offers dim sum that hits the spot. There isn’t enough room for carts but there is a counter stacked 4 feet high with bamboo baskets full of dim sum staples and a table crowded with desserts like glutinous rice balls and salads. Along with your appetite you might as well bring your aggressive side to demand attention when competing with other Chinese-speaking customers at the food counter. Our friend who is Chinese-Canadian taught us some dim sum manners: always refill the tea of those sitting around you before your own, tap the table to signal “Thank you” (with one finger if you’re single, two if you’re married), and leave the tea pot cover upside down or on the edge of the pot to signal for more. Along with what’s visible in the bamboo steamer baskets, you can also order other dishes from the kitchen (like steamed spinach, fried rice or noodles, etc). Prices are cheap, with 10 people we ordered about 30 dishes between us (maybe 30 is an exaggeration but there was sooo much food) and paid ZAR80 per person. I especially recommend the pork Bun Xao (a fluffy white dumpling with delicious pork inside).
Shun De is located in Cyrildene on the corner of Derrick Avenue and Janelea Street (on the second floor). Call
(011) 615 7168 for reservations especially for Sunday dimsum