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Bo Lings: Enjoy the Traditional Dim Sum Dining Experience

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Bo Lings dim sum is everything I love about dining out. It’s tasting a variety of delicious food, enjoying gathering with friends and family and, most of all, exploring the traditions of a culture that is different from my own while learning about ethnic foods.   

The translation of dim sum is “the point of the heart,” and it is the most popular Cantonese ritual of gathering with family and friends to eat together. Think traditional Chinese brunch! Some believe that dim sum inspired the whole idea of Western brunch. 

In Southern China, if you’re going for dim sum, you are also going for yum cha, or to drink tea, because these two customs are always enjoyed together. Traditional dishes, tea and personal connections are the heart of dim sum, and Bo Lings brought this unique dining opportunity to Kansas City in 1987. Bo Lings owners, Richard and Theresa Ng, are celebrating the 40th anniversary of becoming restaurant owners. The two young entrepreneurs created the Bo Lings concept in 1981, opening the first location at 91st Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas.

Even today, it’s rare to find a restaurant in the Midwest that serves dim sum, probably because it’s incredibly labor intensive, requiring expertise in traditional Chinese cooking and countless fresh ingredients. But these challenges haven’t been too much for Bo Lings. They regularly welcome entire families who’ve traveled from Wichita, Omaha, Little Rock or another town outside of KC, just to enjoy the traditional dim sum experience.

“It’s really hard to get dim sum in middle America,” Theresa told us as we were appreciating our sampling of dim sum amidst many tables of other families doing the same. “We enjoy doing this and sharing our culture in this way. It’s great to see all of the families and groups in here on the weekends.”

Traditionally, dim sum was served via push carts and guests chose their food as the carts stopped by each table. Today, most restaurants have dispensed with the cart system, including most of the upscale restaurants in China. Instead, today’s dim sum servers distribute a menu with photos, guests select the items they’d like, then mark it accordingly with a pen. The food is served at the table in steamer baskets to keep it warm. I’ve experienced dim sum with the push carts and now without. I prefer having time to peruse the menu, select my items and then be served all of my favorites on the table at just the right time.

And speaking of the right time, all dim sum items are freshly prepared, something that goes without saying at one of my favorite restaurants in KC! And you never stop at the first round. We ordered a second and third round so we could be sure to sample as many items as possible. It’s not about how much food you eat; it’s more about the dining experience, the amazing flavors, engaging with friends and family, sipping tea and lingering over a great meal.

Rather than ordering your own plate or sharing a plate for the table, you and your dining companions will enjoy several smaller platters over the course of the meal. This allows you to taste-test many unique dishes so you can truly experience the different flavors available.

I sampled so many items that this article would be 50 pages long if I tried to describe every delicious, mysterious bite! But that’s my favorite thing about dim sum. It’s my chance to try new items without committing to a full plate of one thing.

We were given instructions on how to properly eat the very traditional Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce and each of us tried a small bite. Theresa Ng said this is a beloved favorite among her Chinese guests, and it would be sorely missed if she took it off the menu.

The full dim sum menus are available Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Bo Lings on the Plaza as well as the Bo Lings at 8973 Metcalf. A daily dim sum menu is available at the Bo Lings Plaza location featuring a limited but popular selection of menu items every day at lunch and dinner. All other locations now carry eight items daily.

For more information about Bo Lings, visit 

Megan’s short list of favorite dim sum tastes.
Stuffed Crab Claws
Shrimp Toast
Garlic Cucumber Salad
Pan-fried Pork Dumplings
Stuffed Chinese Eggplant with Shrimp
Baked BBQ Pork Buns
Stir-Fried Yellow Noodles
Baked Custard Cream Buns

Written by: Megan Neher

Journalist-turned-PR-professional Megan Neher has never forgotten her true first love: writing. Today, Megan owns her own PR firm, Megan Neher Public Relations; she’s a wife, mom, marketer, student and spends a lot of time cleaning up after her four pets and two teenagers. Her dream is to live on a tropical beach somewhere where she can stroll barefoot to a nearby grass hut for a fish taco and margarita.