Finally, Cantonese-style dim sum dishes have arrived in Dayton.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the news, Chinese restaurants across the area took a hit. Diners went down, as did business. And when the Ohio government took steps to slow down transmission, many of them went to “take-out” and “delivery” only. As a full-on Chinese foodie, this hurts. You don’t need to be a forty-something Asian man to know that fresh Chinese food is better than what may arrive 30 minutes later to your door. So when I learned that a new restaurant had opened up at 2008 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, I had to check it out.
No frackin’ regrets.
Fu Mon Lau opened up at the South Town Center east of the Dayton Mall, where the Qdoba used to be (east of the El Toto). Someone clearly put a lot of love and attention into the decor: it reminds me of some Chinese restaurants from the Toronto area, right down to the lobsters and fish staring at you while you eat. Modern and clean, the place offers not just the expected American Chinese fare but also pleasant surprises which I have never had in this area.
I came for lunch and left as if I had dinner. For an appetizer, I ordered their potsticker dumplings and chose the beef ho fun for my main course. My compatriot had the wonton soup and the beef and broccoli lunch special.
Let’s start with the potstickers. In my experience, potstickers-from-the-package come with a thick outer shell, and are often deep-fried before serving. These were clearly fried-then-steamed, which is the proper way to cook them. And if they were frozen, they would have come out kind of chewy. These? Were definitely fresh.
The wonton soup. We’re talking some honking dumplings here. Again, you know it’s fresh from how the shells look: a little wilted, soft, and therefore likely not frozen prior. I didn’t get to have any, but they looked good and the scallions in the broth were green and fresh.
The “beef ho fun” is another story. Growing up Cantonese, this dish was known to me as “gong chow naw ho.” Tender beef; soft thick rice noodles; scallions; onions; and bean sprouts. Simple, delicious. And having lived in this area for almost twenty years I can say confidently that no one makes these noodles around here. If you want an authentic, real Cantonese dish? This is it.
The beef and broccoli? Looked amazing. The broccoli was green and crisp. The beef was not over-sauced. My compatriot enjoyed it and, frankly, I probably would have stolen some of it if she weren’t looking.
The food was awesome, but I’m missing something else important: the tea. Served hot and in pots, as one would accompany any dim sum sitting, they had jasmine, green, and oolong tea available. I probably could have even asked for chrysanthemum. All I know is that those teapots and cups were something out of my childhood.
I can’t recommend this place enough. The lovely woman that served us explained that they would have had dim sum on weekends, but for COVID protocols. Until then, though, please enjoy Fu Mon Lau.
— Asian Chinese Foodie