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Winnipeg always a contender for NHL’s best dim sum

By Fluto Shinzawa BOSTON GLOBE

The joy of traveling around the NHL is experiencing each city’s culinary terroir. I know when I’m in Montreal, for example, when I’m eating the world’s best croque monsieur at L’Express. The ramen shops in Los Angeles are as good as those in downtown Tokyo. There is no better city in which to eat a hot dog than Chicago.

Winnipeg has its dining sweet spot too, and I don’t mean wind-whipped snowballs. Winnipeg does dim sum as well as any city in the league.

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Kum on down to Chinatown for dinner


Kum Koon's tables are covered with layers of plastic but there are touches of elegance in the lovely Chinese paintings and golden bas reliefs of dragons on the walls. This veteran Chinatown institution is a popular site for banquets and special events, and if you drop in for dim sum any Sunday morning you may have to wait in line for one of its 600-plus seats.

But turn up for a mid-week dinner and odds are you'll find an almost empty cavern of a place. At least that's how it was on two recent visits when even the smaller front room was half empty.

It probably isn't because of the food, most of which is delicious. Possibly the prices have something to do with it, since they are higher than the usual Chinese price range, with most entrees from $14.25 to $19, more for certain specialties. On the other hand, the portions are copious and the selection is larger than most, with 253 items on the main menu, and 34 more on the Chef's Specialties list, an embarrassment of riches that always leaves me dithering about what to choose.

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Kum Koon Garden - Ciao Winnipeg

As if it were entertainment, Kum Koon Garden orchestrates a certain understated show with its possibilities of exotic Cantonese chow coaxing diners senses via push cart.

The gigantic 650-seat eatery overflows with anticipating families, as food carts tempt with colours, aromas and textures. Favourites such as spicy curry beef wontons and semi-sweet pineapple buns filled with cream custard are eagerly anticipated.

Dim sum is a Cantonese tradition of petite portions and this busy gourmet speed-food hub is no exception with a rotating repertoire of 300 small dishes.

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