I’ve been to several pop up night market events around town and DIM SUM CITY draw me in EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. They’ve recently found a home in Chinatown Centre (downtown Toronto). Move over Hello Kitty…I am crushing over this absolutely adorable line of dim sum inspired plushies! ….okay, and every fricken thing in this shop!
Jon Pong is a local artist and the designer behind everything this shop has to offer and he’s noticed that I’ve kinda been stalking him. I think we’ve started a friendship thanks to instagram.
The plushies include har gow and siu mai — the two most popular dishes of course! I love the gifting presentation in the steamers! The range of tees (adults and kids) are absolutely delicious. The playfulness of each design has me wanting everything — go see the curry fish baller, noodle girl and rice boy designs! So fun!
I’m always searching out something a little different when it comes to gift giving and love the story behind a great idea. So, Jon opened up about his shop and the concept for us to share here…
How did DIM SUM CITY all start?
It started with a passion for food and dim sum in particular, which is my absolute favourite food and an itch to start a business. Being a graphic artist I looked at how to combine my passions for graphic arts and food and started trying some designs on tshirts, which appealed to me as they’re like a wearable blank canvas. I didn’t see much food-related designs out there at the time, let alone Asian food related ones. So I made designs I wanted to wear of my favourite foods in illustrated form and the rest is history.
What’s in your product line ? I LURV the dim sum plushies!
Our line of apparel starts with Asian cuisine themed designs with quirky phrases and names on graphic tees and hoodies, accessories like hats and buttons and dim sum plush toys starting off with har gow and siu mai.
The design team consists of just me at the moment. Keeping it in the family, my brother, wife and mom help with the pop ups that we do over the summer.
Yes, we have been doing pop ups at various events that take place over the summer such as Dragon boat, Chinatown fest, Dim Sum fest, Taste of Asia, T&T Waterfront and Night It Up night markets. This year we were at the Toronto Animation Fest as well.
Who else loves your products, besides me?
It’s a pretty wide range from kids to adult; even aunties have gotten plushies for themselves. Asians and non-asians alike have shown appreciation for the artwork and the word play in the designs.
Speaking of dim sum, where do you go?
I go to a lot of different places for dim sum. In downtown Chinatown, for traditional old school with cart service it’s Dim Sum King. Otherwise, it’s Rosewood. Elsewhere downtown, Susur Lee’s Luckee for the fancy stuff. Uptown: Dragon Boat, Crown Prince, Casa Victoria and Fancy which is a family fave.
Your favourite dim sum dish?
I have many faves but I’d say for Cantonese dim sum, Siu Mai is my top fave. Just something about a delicious open-faced dumpling topped with roe that is hard to resist. For Shanghainese dim sum it’d be Xiao Long Bao. Those little savoury soup-filled pork dumplings bursting with delicious goodness. Ok now this is making me hungry.
What dim sum dish is over-rated?
The steamed char siu bao. It’s thick bun makes it rather filling. To enjoy and get the most out of the dim sum experience you should have a wide variety of dishes so you don’t want to fill up on buns.
The strangest dim sum dish you’ve ever had?
Duck feet. The webbing on them is just not particularly palatable to me.
What the gweilos should know?
Eat the chicken feet. Trust me it’s good!
Best place in the world you’ve ever had dim sum?
TIm Ho Wan in Hong Kong with their signature baked, crusted bbq pork bun. (not too filling like the steamed kind as I mentioned before)
Okay…now back to the shop….do you ship? and cut off for holiday shopping?
Yes, we ship worldwide through our online store. The cut off for holiday shopping is Dec. 24, in person of course.
What can we look forward to seeing in the near future?
There’s winter gear coming in such as scarves and hats as well as small size plushies. Also have an animated web series is in the works featuring dim sum characters. So as I always say, stay ‘tooned’ for updates!
Haha! That’s cute.
Website & online store: www.dimsumcityshop.com
Flagship Store: Chinatown Centre, 222 Spadina Ave. Unit C-19A
*holiday special: 10% off everything in-store and online (code: MERRYDSC)