Why Are There So Many Asian Dim Sum Cart Drivers? A Burning Question for the New Decade.

Push it! Push it real good!

While supping at one of my favorite dim sum parlors around town, I couldn't help but notice, between nibbles of my phoenix talon, that all, I mean, ALL of the people pushing those stainless steel dim sum carts were Asian! Has anyone else noticed this? I can't be the only one, right?

It was absolutely baffling at first and then simply mindblowing. The experience was akin to taking that red pill in the sci-fi flick The Matrix, my perception of the dim sum world was totally rocked off its foundation. There was no turning back, I was down the dim sum rabbit hole.

To confirm what every fiber of my being was experiencing, I inconspicuously took a tally of each dim sum cart driver as they cruised by.

Here is my count:

Steam Chinese broccoli cart - Asian
Har gow/shu mai cart - Asian
Har gow/shu mai cart #2 - Asian
Jook cart - Asian
Offals cart - Asian
Misc. dumplings that aren't as popular as the har gow & shu mai cart - Asian
Dessert cart - Asian
Person walking around trying to unload egg rolls onto White customers - Asian

Shivers went up and down my spine. Hairs on my hairless Asian back were raised as much as Asianly possible! Each and EVERY one of these workers were Asian! It was totally overwhelming. So I ordered another taro boba to calm my frazzled nerves.

And, my friends, not only were all of these dim sum cart drivers Asian but they were FEMALE too! I shit you not! I know this may be too much reality to handle at one reading. If you need to take a break, do so now. Otherwise, just know that this has been happening under our collective noses for some significant period of time and I don't think anyone ever realized it.

Why is this happening you ask? Who the hell knows?! However, I shall try to tackle this issue once and for all!

1) Theory A: Maybe, just maybe, Asian women like pushing shiny metal carts. Why? Because they're shiny and they're fun to push. Perphaps my strongest hypothesis, which is why I led off with it.

2) Theory B: Perhaps Asian women can't get jobs at McDonald's or Denny's? Or, with direct correlation to Theory A, McDonald's and Denny's don't have shiny metal carts to push so the Asian women don't want to work at said restaurants.

3) Theory C: Asian women can handle rejection better than blacks, Hispanics or Caucasians. Ever turn down a dim sum lady when she offers you soy sauce pig intestines? You know how many times a day that woman has to hear "No! Get that nastiness out of my face!", in several different Chinese dialects and English, no less? It can't be easy, and you need skin as thick as chicharrones. Asian women can hack hearing "no" all day long. It's in their DNA but not other races. (There is a study to back this up but I can't seem to get the Google result I'm looking for at the moment.)

4) Theory D: I started strong, so I'm ending strong. A very good reason why most dim sum cart drivers are represented by Asian women is because they are really terrible automobile drivers. I don't need to explain to you, the erudite reader, that Asians are god awful drivers. And it's practically gospel that women in general suck at driving. But when you do the simple math and add Asian with woman, you get the perfect storm of crappy ass driver.

As a consequence, Asian women, knowing that they are really bad auto drivers, manifest their drive to drive by driving dim sum carts. It's relatively safer. A dim sum cart is much smaller and lighter and can do infinitely less damage to an innocent bystander or somebody stuffing his face with a pork bun than, say, a KIA Sorento. The world is a safer place and Asian women can get their ya-yas out by driving dim sum carts. Everyone is happy.

There you have it. My theories of why there are so many Asian (women) dim sum cart drivers. I'm pretty sure I nailed it, but if you have your own ideas, why not leave a comment. I'd like to get over 100 comments if possible, so feel free to leave several.

Oh, yeah, that photo of me, above, driving the dim sum cart, that's just my new part-time gig as the first Asian MALE dim sum cart driver. We need to start tipping the scale somewhere. But still we can do much better. Yes we can.

(This in-depth analysis inspired by this food blog post and this one too.)


Juliet said…
You know, you are right. They are mostly women. And, in my experience, older women.
The dim sum place we usually go to has a check off menu, though. And the waitstaff is primarily male. After our last experience, I don't know if we will be going back there any time soon, though. Did you read about that? If not, here it is:

oddlyme said…

Are you at Hong Kong Palace in this pic? Those yellow tops look familiar.... I love that place!
Daily Gluttony said…
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (I think some of my salad just went up my nose)

Your theories make perfect sense; I am an Asian woman, but I pride myself on being a pretty good driver. That's probably why I'm not destined to push a dim sum cart. Genius!
Eddie Lin said…

you are oddlyclairvoyant. i am in fact at Hong Kong Palace. those yellow tops the dim sum ladies wear are the bomb. the reason i wasn't wearing one is because i'm still interning as a dim sum cart driver.


salad up your nose? i only hope it wasn't a vinaigrette. i'm very glad you're smart enough to agree with me completely. you may just be the genius by doing so.
Paiwei Wei said…
Maybe it's that darn language requirement.
SinoSoul said…
Why do so many Asians pimp their native foods as "deep end"?
Val said…
I'd be more curious if there were Asian women working the taco truck (Kogi excepted, of course).
Eddie Lin said…

There is no language requirement. Unless you count pointing at a dim sum tin "sign language". ;-)


Why do so many Asians overgeneralize? That, of course, is a gross overgeneralization which is the point of this satire.


Asian women can work on a taco truck but God help us if they start driving them.
MaxMillion said…
My vote is for "theory C."

I take issue with a part of theory D, specifically: "And it's practically gospel that women in general suck at driving..."

I am female and I am an AWESOME driver! So STICK THAT UP YOUR WAHZOO (to quote Eliz Taylor)!!
elmomonster said…
Goddam you Eddie! You made me spew Ginger Ale out my nose!
sku said…
I appreciate the thorough analysis here, but I fear that your limited sample has affected your results. For instance, where is the pork bun cart, the char siu and duck cart, the fried look fun cart and who is driving those?

As an aside, I have also heard that Jews and Moldovans are overrepresented as dim sum cart drivers, perhaps the same criteria apply to those groups as well.
Eddie Lin said…

I'm pleased that you concur with Theory C, however, I feel there is much too much bias in your life experience because you are in fact, as you yourself stated, a woman of the female persuasion. Therefore you obviously will say you are , to quote you, "an AWESOME driver!" LOL! No, seriously, I'm REALLY LAUGHING OUT LOUD, cackling actually. You can not be serious. You can't even look your cat (or cats, since you're probably a female cat lady too) in the eye and say that, you're so full of it.

Stop being prejudice against the male superior analysis of any given situation. You're even throwing me off my original thesis. But I'm not going to fall for it. Bottom line: Women can't drive anything well, especially driving a point like yours home.

Hand over your keys, Max (dude, you even have a guy's name!) WTF??
Eddie Lin said…

None of my theories are meant to be funny so I'm not sure why you're spewing anything other than swine flu snot.


Are you insinuating that I'm friends with the dim sum cart drivers who I analyzed? My sampling was just fine. I sampled a little shrimp rice roll, a little bit of sticky rice and some pork ribs, so thank you very much for your OPINION! We are stocked up and don't need anymore UNLESS you agree with me.

As far as Jews and Moldovans being overrepresented, I have no idea. What's a Moldovan by the way? Are they from that Avatar movie?
Anonymous said…
I think it's Theory D. But you forgot to add that Asian women won't need to wear long sleeves and Apollo lunar landing face shields while driving the dim sum carts indoors.
MaxMillion said…
Eddie -- BITE ME!

I don't own a cat ON PRINCIPLE as I fear I might turn into one of those crazy cat ladies with stuffed toys everywhere and bowls of pot pourri and doilies and such.

How dare you cast nasturtiums?!


(when are we going for a spin in my car?! bwahahahahahaha!)
e d b m said…
Eddie, you forgot theory E. They are really trying to earn their free Jade bracelet. It's bling to older Asian women. great posting, you're officially out of your mind haha.
e d b m said…
To Daily Gluttony, I would die if I saw you pushing Dim Sum carts. I don't think you would give people the option of ordering anything haha. "No! you are not ordering that, eat this, i need more space for the incoming tripe."
Eddie Lin said…

You sound like an intelligent Man. Yes, and what is up with those welding masks on female drivers in K-town? Did they all just clock out from the Hyundai factory?


Bite you? Not unless you were wrapped up in a rice roll with soy sauce dripping all over and covered up by nothing other than a tin lid. That's hot.


Theory E!!! That shall be my hip hop moniker from this point forward!

I'm all for the Asian oldsters earning points for the jade bling. I'm all about the jade bling. In fact the grillz on my teeth are not made outta gold but jade. Made in the jade, baby!
streetgourmetla said…
No, it's conspicuous cosumption.Those shiny carts are quite the accessory.
Anonymous said…
Unfortunatley there are no dim sum carts in my country. So the girls stick to driving motorized vehicles.
ila said…
jeezus, this article is not safe for us cubicle workers!!! thanks for the good laugh.
Eddie Lin said…
street gourmet LA,

i got your conspicuous consumption right here!


that's a real tragedy. well, it looks like you got to open the first dim sum restaurant in your area and make your city safer for the children.


glad you enjoyed it and didn't get fired. the pleasure is mine, and by, the way, my name isn't "jeezus".
Das Ubergeek said…
It's a scam. They think they're racking up the practice hours required for their driving tests at the DMV, only to find out when they show up with the jook cart that they can't use it because there are no seatbelts.
Nancy said…
I'm leaving you a comment only because I want you to get 100 comments. And you must respond to me and every other commenter with deference or snobbish indignation, because that's what you have do to bump up your comment count.
Eddie Lin said…
Das Ubergeek,

Omigod! You were my DMV tester!

Bianca @ South Bay Rants n' Raves,

R U laughing with me or at me?


Thanks, mang.


Eff U. How's that for snobbish deference?
e*star said…
Until now, I had never considered dim sum cart driving as an alternative.

Thank you.
Eddie Lin said…

You're welcome but don't limit yourself to dim sum cart driving. There's screw, pile, hard, backseat driving and many more. There's also driving someone crazy. On and on. My message is that there are lots of alternatives to Asian women driving cars. Thanks for reading.
Nancy said…
Only 29 comments! I must leave another one. And while I'm at it, I'd love your opinion on the following: why does it take so many people to run a dim sum restaurant? The guy who pours the tea gets flustered if you ask him where the egg tart lady is. And the egg tart lady practically flips out if you want the check. God forbid you grab the wrong guy if you want some hot mustard.
Eddie Lin said…

You asked, "Why does it take so many people to run a dim sum restaurant?" Awww, girl, that's easy! Because Asians can NOT multi-task and have terrible short term memory. You answered your own damn question. You ask the tea guy for some hot mustard and he mumbles something in Cantonese and goes out the back to smoke his Marlboro Reds. Ask one of the ladies NOT pushing a cart for some ice water and she has someone bring over egg rolls. God forbid you need to break a hundred dollar bill and hand the money to one of the guys in the fancy vests. Good luck on that one.
mattatouille said…
I'm sure you saw recently that the Dim Sum Truck was started by an Asian dude. Your theorem proves (at least half) right again. This might be one of the funniest blog posts I've read this year.
Angela said…
I recently realized that I am an Asian woman and immediately, my driving skills slid sharply downhill. I've been having nightly dreams of pushing shiny things. Theory D PROVEN.