Start your day with a thick scallion pancake, wonton soup, seaweed salad, dan dan noodles and a pot of hot tea from the dim sum menu at the Fruitiful Café at 9889 Bellaire. This new Shanghai-style Chinese restaurant opens for business at 9:30 a.m. and serves dim sum daily, according to the sign in the window. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the earliest Chinese breakfast in town, right?
Be forewarned, it's not the Hong Kong-style dim sum you may be used to. There are no carts, just a menu. The tea is made with tea bags, not loose tea. The dumplings come in orders of 15 instead of three. And instead of the crunchy, finely minced, iridescent green seaweed salad you usually get from the dim sum cart, here you get a tough black seaweed served in large clumps. "It looks like the stuff that washes up on the beach," a breakfast companion complained.
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The Fruitiful's décor is modern and inviting, the booths are comfortable, and, as a bonus, the Southern Chinese Daily News, published in Houston, is delivered early.