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The Dim Sum of All Things
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The Dim Sum of All Things

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  808 ratings  ·  103 reviews

Have you ever wondered:




Why Asians love "Hello Kitty"?

What the tattooed Chinese characters really say?

How to achieve feng shui for optimum make-out sessions?

Where Asian cuties meet the white guys who love them?

Then you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll realize this book is better than a Broadway production of Cats when you read scenes that include:




twenty-something Lindsey Owyang
...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,254)
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Melissa
1.5 stars. Never judge a book by its cover. *sigh* It was the cover and the little blurb on the back that had me buying this at a library book sale a while back. I should also stop with the habit of needing to finish books that I start! The book had potential, but the overly-flowery prose and the quick-to-judge, insecure, superficial main character was just too much. She goes around labeling any white guy she meets who seems slightly interested in Asian culture as a "Hoarder..." (and yet she onl ...more
Sherese
Disappointing fiction about young Chinese woman's struggle to intergerate her Chinese racial/ethnic identity with her typical Middle Class American upbringing in San Francisco. Four words - " Hoarder of All Things Asian", the author loves this phrase to describe white men who seek and only date Asian women because they want the "stereotypical" Asian female. What's disturbing is not this concept, because I believe there is some merit to this, but the fact the lead female character Lindsey could b ...more
Jocelyn
Absolutely hilarious. I finally feel like I am reading about someone I can relate to. This fictionalized ABC (American Born Chinese) and her (mis)adventures in dating, work, family and life in general ring far-too-true for comfort at times.

I cringed at my OWN memories while reading the equally cringe-worthy (though much more amusing as it wasn't happening to me) experiences she had while finding the right guy (what does she call those yellow-fever types again?) among other job and family related
...more
Sara
At first I was thinking of saying that this book is Asian Chick-Lit, but it is so much better than that. It is the humorous tale of an American Chinese woman in her early 20's, still trying to find herself. She lives with her grandmother in San Francisco and she has a crush on a white guy at work and she's not sure how that will be received by her family. She is a woman in two worlds, trying to come to grips and embrace her Chinese heritage and also realizing she is totally American. It was inte ...more
David Schwan
Not a particularity deep book but fun to read. Set in San Francisco it covers a lot of the culture of the city. A fair amount of the novel is set in Chinatown, and we are presented with a good view of working (non tourist) Chinatown--at least 2-3 times a year I go shopping on Grant street. The novel starts well but the last 100 pages seem rushed, as if a page limit was looming or a deadline for publication was looming. The comedy found earlier in the book was not sustained. The hippie ABC Aunt w ...more
Bliss
This book is hilariously enjoyable and an insightful journey into the main character's Asian-American struggle with BEING.

I'm not familiar enough with Asian/Asian-American culture to know how true some of the situations are. But it all rings so true that I feel like I'm right there with Lindsey Owyang as she bobs and weaves through life.

What I'm learning from this book is that Asian-Americans and African-Americans seem to have a lot in common...

As soon as I'm done with this one, I'm looking for
...more
pinkgal
There are plenty of Asian-American-struggling-to-reconcile-two-cultures books out there. This wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that great either. One memorable part, however, is the kitty-chan toaster and the drinking of ovaltine. =) Read to find out what I mean. If you're looking for a book about that particular struggle (and oh, I've read plenty of them) Gish Jen's Typical American is a good choice. Another one I'm quite fond of is, unsurprisingly, Amy Tan's The Joy-Luck Club.
Nikki
Keltner's wry observations kill me. I'm not sure if it's an Asian-American thing, but I see a lot of myself in her words. Her detailing of life as a product of two cultures is simultaneously extremely specific and completely universal and makes for a really enjoyable summer read!
Mbrown
I appreciate the honesty and quirkiness of the main character, Lindsey. I think it's hilarious that she dubs certain people (men) as Hoarders of All Things Asian and has a laundry list of qualities to look out for and avoid in men, although I think she realizes that having that kind of censor may cut off her from well-meaning people. Although I'm not Asian-American I appreciated hearing her perspective on growing up in San Francisco with a traditional Chinese grandmother and trying to find who s ...more
Joyce
Amy Tan she is not.

A "3rd generation" Chinese woman growing up in SF and her world viewpoint. I thought it might be funny and interesting to relate to Lindsey's story.

Turns out there is no story. I think the *aim* was for a Bridget Jones genre love story.
Plenty of authors don't have a story per se (David Sedaris), but Wong Keltner had little ability in creating a character. She merely listed observations of a Chinese woman's viewpoint with a wee bit too much snark and not enough humor. The bo
...more
Laura
I love books that make me laugh out loud, prompting my husband to ask, "What's so funny?" There are so many funny moments, funny because they're believable, that I feel like I read almost the whole book out loud to him.
Joy
It was a cute book and perfect for a light read. I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit. I related quite a bit. It is a light read and perfect to wind down.
Rachel
Apr 08, 2014 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sassy singles
I loved this book!

Yes, the main character is superficial, but it comes across as a very honest telling. I love that she does stupid stuff and gets herself into vulnerable situations, like where she could have been raped by some random stranger, and yet she goes on about life, and things turn out fine. Why do I love that? Because it's TRUE! Crazy stuff like that really does happen ... we get drunk and end up pooping all over ourselves because there was never any friggin' bathroom when you needed
...more
Lillian
My opinion of this book changed radically more than halfway into it. At first, it seemed a very light, humorous exploration of a mid-20ish American Born Chinese (ABC) girl just sort of floating through life. However, its sometimes offbeat humor and great descriptions charmed me into sticking with it. Keeping in mind that adolescence lasts well into the 20s nowadays, it became evident that this is a coming of age story, albeit an untypical one. Lindsey, living with her traditional Chinese grandmo ...more
Margaret
After a lifetime of eating Spaghetti-Os, watching The Brady Bunch, & listening to cheezy '80s music, 25-year-old Lindsey Owyang is a thoroughly modern 3rd generation ABC (American-born Chinese). In an effort to save money & placate her family, Lindsey lives with her tiny, mah-jongg-gambling grandmother, Pau Pau, who dispenses fashion advice, blind dates, & "stinky tiger balm." Like most young urban professional women, Lindsey agonizes over her body (she has one malformed toe, prevent ...more
Sandra Lopez
Now, I was a little worried about reading another book by this particular author because I read her YA novel, I want Candy, and it was totally horrendous! The details concerning the sexuality of 14-year old Candy Ong was just plain disgusting. What teenager goes through all this? I couldn't even get through half the book because I was too sick to my stomach.


But The Dim Sum of All Things was different.




Lindsay Owyang is a 20-something year old receptionist who doesn't like to show off her ethnic
...more
Nicole
Finished the last couple of pages of this today. I was actually looking for authors refrenced to in Rashomon, when i saw the color of this book. YES, its true, im attracted by the covers and titles. i dont research and get a book i want. i just end up very lucky by finding good books. i liked the pun on the phrase DIM SUM, which could be used in a chinese or american way. dim sum as in the chinese a la carte luncheon, or dim sum, as in a bleak outlook of things. i liked the cover as well. seemed ...more
Lisabet Sarai
Twenty something Lindsey Owyang doesn't speak any Cantonese because she cut Chinese school as a kid to watch kung fu movies. She lives on the edge of San Francisco's Chinatown with her chain-smoking, mah-jong-playing grandmother, in an apartment that reeks of Tiger Balm and herbal infusions, and works as a receptionist for Vegan Warrior magazine, where she has to hide her meat-eating tendencies. Lindsey spends her life worrying about her stunted toe, shopping with her Philipina friend Mimi, runn ...more
Gwen
Chinese American girl, Lindsey, living with her Chinese born grandmother has misconceptions (and just lacks information in general) about her family's life before coming to America and is trying to fit into her workplace while balancing her Chinese heritage with American life in general, of which hers is quite a strange world in my opinion (even for San Francisco).

This book was only okay. I think I was misled by the back cover. I thought it would be funnier than it was. It might be enlightening
...more
Lana.
"Konichiwa, Chinese princess..."

And if you understand why this phrase is funny, then this book might be for you.

Twenty-something Lindsey Owyang is a second generation Chinese-American living in San Franscico. Stuck in a dead-end receptionist job and sharing an apartment with her grandmother, she's given up on career and resigned in romance. However, inbetween daydreaming of her life as Hollywood-Kung-Fu movie mash-ups, and fending off "Hoarders (of all things Asian)", there seems to be just en
...more
Michelle
I read this book probably in high school, and it didn't hold up as well, I decided during my reread. I picked up the book because I was on my way to San Francisco and needed (1) a light read and (2) a book about San Francisco. Done and done, I thought. It was fun reading it while there, as Wong Keltner makes a lot of references to the city, mentioning specific neighborhoods, streets, and restaurants. And like the first time I read it, I appreciated parts of the book that appealed to Asian-Americ ...more
tawnie
The book would have been much more fun if it wasn't trying really hard to educate you on Chinese-American culture and if the heroine was more likeable. Some of the scenes, like the Miss Chinatown pageant, feel like they were thrown in just to illustrate some aspect of Chinese life in America and don't contribute to the plot or character development.

The way the Chinese heroine stalks her Caucasian crush comes across as immature and teenagerish, especially because she turns her nose up at other w
...more
Joni
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny C.
This is a very cute book. I think Kim Wong Keltner is quite funny in her observations and with her main character, Lindsay Owyang. However, some of the points about Chinese culture seemed so obvious (e.g. feng shui had to be explained). Albeit, this novel came out in 2004, and I just read it, so maybe it's that we're more aware nowadays. I had a love-hate relationship with Wong Kelner's cultural references; I liked that she kept alluding to special occasions, foods, etc. Sometimes, though, I fel ...more
BarbNZ
I lost patience with this book. Started promisingly enough and I enjoyed the subtle incorporation of explanations of Chinese culture. But... the main character lacked likeability and I found her a bit insipid.
Sharif
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Agatha
Funny, quirky novel about a 25-year-old, 3rd generation Chinese-American girl in San Francisco; she lives with her grandmother and works as an over-educated receptionist at a magazine called Vegan Warrior where she is one of two closet meat-eaters – tee hee. This is an example of the type of silliness throughout this book. She struggles to figure out who she is, what part of her is Chinese, what is American, and what it all means. Enjoyable, mostly b/c we have had to do some readings about this ...more
Pygmy
Meh. I coasted through the beginning for awhile, buoyed by the cheer generated from processing culturally-unique descriptions that I have experienced and/or recognize, but it got old after awhile when the story continued to meander with no purpose after 106 pages. The main character seems to find too much delight in bashing males, white or Asian. There is relatively few dialogue, with the majority of the story told to you rather than shown. And up to the 106 pages, I still could not see any reas ...more
Dox
Set in San Francisco, the story follows Lindsey through her daily life as she considers her Chinese family and what it means for her to be an American Born Chinese. She's on the cusp of many emotions--some of them conflicting--as she learns more about her grandmother and her family's history, and as she falls for a cute guy at work, who turns out to have a more complex background than appears at first glance.

This is a fantastic, slightly quirky, and perfectly humorous look at being the next gen
...more
Karen
Meh. Story itself was not gripping, but I liked it from an anthropological sense learning about how Chinese Americans view themselves, other Americans and SF Chinatown.
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