MingHin Cuisine | Chinatown, Chicago

Late-night dim sum at MingHin in Chinatown

Our midnight snack fantasy goes a little something like this: a parade of hearty little dishes, each just a few bites, that cover the table with sweet, savory and everything in between.

That fantasy is reality at Chinatown's MingHin. The sleek, three-year-old restaurant in Chinatown Square offers some of the neighborhood's finest dim sum, served for breakfast and lunch daily, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

But here's where things get special: Dim sum returns for an encore every night from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

There are no rolling carts at MingHin. Order from the photographic menu and a flurry of small plates and bamboo steamers will soon arrive. They come filled with translucent dumplings packed with shrimp and pea tendrils ($3.50), pillow-like buns swaddling sticky sweet barbecued pork ($3.50), or bean curd skin wrapped around minced pork, vegetables and shrimp ($3.50).

Sticky rice studded with Chinese sausage, wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed ($4), is a starchy masterpiece, as are wide crocks of congee ($9), and deep-fried taro puffs ($3.50), crisp croquettes filled with savory, pork-studded mashed taro root. You won't wake up feeling spry after eating these at midnight, but they're certainly the stuff of sweet dim sum dreams.

With a dim sum menu 64-deep, one thing is certain: We'll be back next time it's dark and we're hungry, and in search of dumplings.