A Day in the Life of a Dim Sum Cart

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[Photograph, video, and GIF: Natalie Holt]

If you were a dim sum cart, what would you see? It's a question we asked each other idly one afternoon, only to find ourselves increasingly obsessed with uncovering the answer. There's an element of spectatorship that comes with visiting a bustling dim sum restaurant. You're surrounded by a blur of constant motion—currents of diners coming and going, dishes being whisked to and fro, and servers with pushcarts threading through it all. But, despite the wealth of sensory input, there are several perspectives diners rarely get to experience. There's that of the tireless kitchen crew, and of the patient servers. And then there's the POV of the iconic dim sum cart itself.

For our investigation, we turned to Brooklyn's Pacificana, which has long been one of our favorite places to get dim sum in New York City. The stellar dumplings are just part of the draw, though—Pacificana is a cavernous, rather glamorous space with a vast menu and a festive atmosphere.

Manager Jimmy Ching was kind enough to let us mount GoPros on multiple carts for several hours during a busy weekday morning. What followed was a whole lot of (mostly literally) steamy footage and a unique look behind the curtain. You can catch it all in the video above. Minus our, ahem, bird's-eye-view fail. NB: Mounting a GoPro on the ceiling doesn't always go as planned.