All You Can Eat
Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.
April 24, 2008 11:30 AM
Posted by Nancy Leson
Christine Atkins asks: "My family loves to go to dim sum about 3 times a month. I'm never sure if we're supposed to leave a tip, and if so, how much?"
As someone who always leaves a generous tip to my dim sum servers, I thought I'd pose this question to a professional. So I called Janet Lau, owner of Top Gun in Bellevue, and O'Asian in Seattle -- where dim sum is a specialty. Here's what she told me:
"Just like at any other sitdown restaurant, it is customary to pay gratuity to the dim sum servers," Janet says. She notes that the gratuity should range from 12% to 18% and that tips are usually pooled and divided among the servers based on time worked and their various responsibilites. "Looking at our records, Top Gun generates a 14% average. At O'Asian, as our customer-base is comprised of mostly business professionals, the average percentage is a little higher, usually between 15% and 20%."
And while we're on the subject: Attention trolley-pushers and tray-carriers at dim sum parlors everywhere! Non-Chinese dim sum lovers like me promise to pony-up a little "extra" if you promise to stop assuming we we have no interest in chicken feet, congee and tripe, OK?
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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.