Tropical Chinese Restaurant, across from Tropical Park on the west side of Miami.
While Tropical has a full menu, I've visited (many, many times now) almost exclusively for the dim sum, which is served daily during lunch hours. Service is pushcart style, with roughly a half-dozen or more heated carts working the sizable room, a glassed-in open kitchen where you can see the chefs at work, and nicer, more polished furnishings than you'll find at many other more bare-bones dim sum houses. Frod Jr. and I observed our Christmas Day tradition this year with some other good eaters; since a good part of the joy of eating dim sum is the variety of little bites, this really is the ideal way to do it.
You can barely get your butt into the seat before people start plying you with food, so let's move to that quickly.
The selections at Tropical are fairly broad. Steamed dumplings on offer typically include shrimp har gow, shrimp and parsley, shrimp and scallop, pork shiu mai, and many others including both steamed and baked buns (bao). Their baked char siu bao, stuffed with Chinese bbq pork, have long been the favorites of Frod Jr. and Little Miss F despite several challengers. Rice pasta rolls (cheong fun) come filled with shrimp or pork (and possibly other options), sauced with a sweetened soy sauce. Fried items abound as well, including shrimp rolled in taro, spring rolls, and many others. When they're fresh, the pork and ginger stuffed potstickers are excellent (if they've sat too long they can get greasy and doughy). In the first picture above, you'll see, working roughly clockwise from the top: shrimp cheong fun; pork shiu mai; steamed pork bao; stuffed bean curd skin (x2); chicken feet; mushrooms stuffed with shrimp paste; more pork shiu mai; steamed chicken dumplings (x2); more shrimp-stuffed mushrooms; potstickers; turnip cakes; and in the middle, shrimp and parsley dumplings.
Tropical also has a decent selection of sweet dim sum as well. The favorite of Frod Jr. and Little Miss F is the egg custard buns (a/k/a Mexican buns), a somewhat doughnut-like shell that is filled with a super-rich, super-sweet egg custard. The egg custard tarts (in a flaky pastry shell) are slightly less indulgent but just as good, and other options include buns or dumplings filled with sweet lotus seed paste, sticky and rich like peanut butter.
There are several other dim sum options in Miami - Kon Chau and South Garden on the south end, Hong Kong Noodles to the north, plus more - but in my experience Tropical continues to be the most reliably good one. Merry Christmas to all, and for all my fellow members of the tribe - enjoy more Chinese food tonight.
Tropical Chinese Restaurant
7991 Bird Road
Miami, FL 33144