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The Dim Sum of All Things

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,046 Ratings  ·  117 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 Owy
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 29th 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2004)
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Aug 10, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, asian-lit
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
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kenneth Horner
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book but not necessarily for the actual writing of it but due to one simple reason. It is slightly like how me and my wife got together in book form.
We are a mixed race couple. My wife Chinese and myself Caucasian. There was some racial barriers put in front of us that we got over. So I can relate in a way to the characters.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The protagonist of this book, a young Chinese-American living in San Francisco, is extremely annoying. She's whiny, self-absorbed, and is at the same time obsessed with and disdainful of her heritage. I don't think that was the author's intention in writing this book, but that's certainly how it came off to me. The author also overuses adjectives and other descriptive phrases, oftentimes repeating herself. The ending is pat and corny and the character has barely grown over the course of the book ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The main character was not likable in the least. It's hard to understand how a mid-twenty something year old can act so childishly regarding her crush. Also, the way this novel deals with stereotypes is confusing. I'm not sure if it's trying to reinforce the idea of Asian stereotypes or trying to break them down. Either way I was very disappointed in this book and how it portrayed immigrant families and Asian Americans. The writing became tiresome with too many metaphors and similes that hardly ...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
Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not funny or insightful, or even particularly well-written. The protagonist spends the book trying to avoid white men who have a fetish for Asian women but falls for one anyway. She doesn't spend any time at all examining why she (a Chinese woman) is attracted to white men. In fact, she and her (also Asian) best friend have never dated Asian men. Seriously, one girl tells the other, "I hear they (Asian men) have small penises." This book is the Dim Sum of unexamined interracial dating. Avoid.
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.
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Denise Tarasuk
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What fun! I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Dim Sum of All Things! There are so many lessons to learn from the characters. Kim Wong Keltner spins a story that kept me reading on! I had to go for Dim Sum this morning as I finished the book. Such a delightful page turner that made me feel good!
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sandra Lopez
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
I felt like this book was written by someone who had observed much of my own childhood. I feel like this book really didn't go anywhere and the main character didn't develop as deeply as I had hoped she would. She made some self-revelations, but they were top layer only. There wasn't any tension in the book; I just sort of got in the boat and let the current carry me because I was curious to see where it would go.

I will say that it was enjoyable for me simply because I am an ABC as well as a San
"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
Lisabet Sarai
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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