Dim sum parlors originated as roadside snack stops for weary travelers, but today the daytime feast can be an hours-long, destination-worthy affair. In Denver, you'll find the heaviest concentration of buns and dumplings around the intersection of Federal Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, where several restaurants serve up cartfuls of transportive delicacies. The collection is most impressive at Empress Seafood Restaurant, where waitresses push trolleys full of such staples as pork-stuffed shu mai, shrimp-filled har gao, crispy turnip cakes and peppery pork buns. You can order other specialties from the menu, including delicate crabmeat dumplings, pork ribs in black-bean sauce, and pan-fried bean curd (i.e. tofu skin) roll. We never miss an opportunity to eat Empress's custard buns; the doughy puffs crack open into sweet, eggy centers. Like all the dim sum purveyors in this corner of the Mile High, Empress sees huge crowds on weekends; go on a weekday if you want a more leisurely paced lunch.
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