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A dim sum bailout for Father’s Day brunch

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Shrimp har gow from Chang’s Hong Kong Cuisine.
Photo: Jerry C. / Courtesy of Yelp

In my house, Father’s Day typically goes something like this:

“Hi, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.”

“Thanks.” (Hug.)

“Ready for brunch?”

“OK. Let’s go.”

What follows is the American invention known as Sunday brunch. We sit at a table populated by eggs, pancakes, home fries and coffee and with a few dousings of maple syrup (only the real stuff made from trees, thank you) and Tabasco, and carefully we begin to disassemble the array. In short, we stuff our faces. But this past Sunday morning – OK, it was noon – I found myself with two parents sitting on my couch and no brunch plans.

I was up a creek with no croissant, and dad was getting hungry.

My Sunday staple, Simon, was out of the question with tables booked until 2 p.m. for their $38 per person extravaganza and $18 omelettes on the Strip seemed too expensive to even consider. So, I reached way into the back of my culinary bag of tricks and turned to a place that rarely disappoints and is always an adventure: Chinatown.

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Beyond the Weekly
Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine

Chang’s Hong Kong Cuisine isn’t on Spring Mountain Road, but a block and a half away on Decatur Boulevard between Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue, the bustling Chinese restaurant is the real deal: sparse decorations, fish tanks that aren’t decorative, a crowd of Asian families that spills out the door and a packed dining room where servers push carts laden with dim sum favorites until 3 p.m. daily.

Within seconds of pouring a shot glass-sized cup of tea, our table was piling up with plates of delicious dumplings and buns, each ticked off on a running tab divided by price range from $1.85 - $5 per serving.

For me, dim sum is a point and pray affair. Since the servers speak limited English and I speak zero Cantonese, I order with my eyes, scanning the cart for something that looks delicious and hopefully doesn’t involve chicken feet. Our Father’s Day selections included tiny shrimp dumplings called shrimp har gow, barely sweet turnip cakes, shrimp and chive dumplings, pork shumai, Chinese broccoli and a variety of other bite-sized treats. At nine for nine in terms of successful orders, we outperformed even my expectations.

There was no coffee, no bacon and the only egg I encountered was a sweet yolk the consistency of fudge at the center of a sticky egg bun, but Chang’s did Father’s Day brunch right. And at under $36 for three including tip, it did it for less than a single brunch serving at Simon. Even with his daughter footing the bill, what dad doesn’t appreciate that?

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