30 November 2009

Working with a Little Tech Help

Yank Sing, San Francisco

A suited manager straightened chopsticks at a place setting while uniformed servers pushed dim sum carts and tidy runners delivered special orders on trays. It was like witnessing a choreographed dance. Each Yank Sing staff was equipped with an earpiece and radio to expedite orders to diners' tables. This was clearly not my grandmother's dim sum house.

A cart rolled up to my table which didn't have what I wanted. Instantly, the server spoke into her cuff and three minutes later, my pork buns arrived by tray. Steaming. She was like a security detail for dim sum.

Another server approached my table:
"This is our signature dish: pork soup dumplings."
"Thank you. I'll take one."
"Thank you. Enjoy."

Fluent in English, the Chinese staff were quick, friendly and happy to deliver whatever was on the tip of my palate. They all worked together. A united front. Selling with a smile. As new tables of guests were seated, carts of fresh dim sum and servers with special dishes surrounded the tables like bees to honey, moths to a flame. It was a glutton's fantasy. Nowadays, it is rare to find dim sum houses with push carts, even in Hong Kong.

There were a couple of dishes that I hadn't seen on a dim sum cart before this time: Chicken Lettuce Wrap and Peking Duck, both served and charged per serving. This was very convenient because typically the lettuce wrap is served for at least four and the duck is served whole. Yank Sing also offers a dim sum box to-go. Nice touch.

So with a little modern expediency and a team working tightly together, selling good product can be easy and enjoyable for all. The only regret I have is that I should have gone with someone other than myself.

Yank Sing I www.yanksing.com

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