Dim Sum Garden’s Sally Song Debuts as Chef in Residency at Volvér on Kimmel Cultural Campus

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events

Chef Jose Garces welcomes Sally Song of Dim Sum Garden as the next Chef in Residency at Volvér at the Kimmel Center (300 S. Broad Street). This award-winning program supports the collective vision of the Kimmel Cultural Campus and Garces to foster an inclusive, innovative cultural future for Philadelphia by supporting emerging minority chefs. The residency for Song runs through June 3, 2023 with exclusive dishes that celebrate Song’s handmade, authentic Shanghai-style dim sum. Song’s exclusive menu will include Steamed Chicken Dumplings, Pork Soup Dumplings, Scallion Pancakes, Pork Noodles, Chicken Curry, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Black Pepper Sauce Steak and more. During the residency, Song will raise funds to expand Dim Sum Garden and relocate to a new larger space. Garces will match patrons’ donations, dollars for dollar, up to $5,000. Reservations are available now www.volverrestaurant.com, via OpenTable, or by calling 215-670-2302.

“Congratulations to Sally Song, the latest talent bringing passion and a unique culinary perspective to Volvér,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. “Song’s authentic recipes honor her Chinese heritage, and we are thrilled that Chef Garces’s program can assist in growing her business here in Philadelphia.”

“I am so thrilled to have Sally Song join us for the Chefs in Residency Program at Volvér,” said Garces. “I’ve been a huge fan of her cooking for over a decade; as a matter of fact, I used to purchase her dumplings wholesale for one of my restaurants. I’ve never made a secret of the respect I have for her cooking game. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the table at Volvér.”

Dim Sum Garden and Song’s journey to Volvér dates back to 2003, when Song’s mother Head Chef Shizhou Da came to the United States with the original recipe for Xiao Long Bao – Chinese steamed soup dumplings. She is the 5th generation of the original chef who created the very first Xiao Long Bao in China and has over 30 years of experience in making fresh, traditional homemade Shanghai style dim sum.

Song would later come to the United States in 2008. Both worked in the restaurant business in North Jersey and New York for five years until 2013, when they decided to bring Shanghai’s finest dumplings to Philadelphia in 2013. They chose a great restaurant location in Philadelphia’s Chinatown at 1020 Race Street. Over the years, the duo and their new restaurant would receive accolades as one of the region’s best soup dumplings – and they attracted large numbers of avid followers and fans who enjoy their special Shanghai style dim sum.

“When I was a child, my mother told me that women who know how to cook will be happy when they grow up,” said Song. “However, as I got older, I realized that knowing how to cook has nothing to do with happiness. Nonetheless, I developed a passion for cooking.  My mom is the 5th generation of the original chef who created the very first Xiao Long Bao in China and has over 30 years of experience in making fresh, traditional homemade Shanghai style dim sum. I consider myself very lucky. My mother passed on to me all the traditional Chinese cooking skills she had learned. I now understand what my mother really meant. Your happiness lies in your own hands. I look forward to bringing that happiness and those skills to everyone at Volvér and the Kimmel Center.”

When the opportunity arose to join the line-up for Volvér, both Song immediately was interested and accepted. She said, “Chefs in Residency program is a testament to Jose’s legacy in Philadelphia. I believe this program is a great opportunity. We’re extremely grateful to be among the selected chefs and hope to use the platform to further push the strong presence of Chinese cuisine in Philadelphia. Our restaurant is a celebration of authentic Shanghainese cuisine and we look forward to bringing our cuisine to a larger audience.”

For Song’s exclusive menu designed for Volvér, guests will find:

Small Plates:
Steamed Chicken Dumplings – Crispy Shallots, Chives, Dumpling Sauce, Chili Sauce
Pork Soup Dumplings – Chives, Dumpling Sauce, Chili Sauce
Cucumber Salad – Enoki Mushroom wrapped in Cucumber, Dim Sum Garden Vinegar Sauce
Scallion Pancakes – Dumpling Sauce and Chili Sauce

Pork Noodles – Handmade Flour Noodles, Ground Pork Sauce, Scallions
Chicken Curry – String Beans, Onions, Bamboo, Jasmine Rice
Honey Walnut Shrimp – Honey and Whiskey Sauce, Jasmine Rice
Black Pepper Sauce Steak – Wok Style cooked Steak, Red Pepper, Green Pepper, Onion, Jasmine Rice

Mango Tapioca Pudding – Diced Mango, Tapioca, Mango Milk

For inspiration for the menu, Song said, “First, I chose five of the most popular dishes in our restaurant as appetizers. The process of making Pork Soup Dumplings (Xiaolongbao) is very complicated. Each of the soup dumplings will be made with our family’s exclusive recipe combined with a traditional production method. The finished product has an endless aftertaste. I think it is a must try appetizer. Then, I chose three dishes with completely different flavors as the main course for the guests to choose – with a beef, chicken and seafood. But I will cook them in a special way. I hope that guests can feel the surprise that seemingly ordinary ingredients can bring to them. Last will be the dessert part. I want to be different from traditional American desserts.”

She added, “I prepare such a menu mainly to give guests a special and delicious dinner. I hope customers can remember these tastes and support me to open a new restaurant in the near future.”

Looking toward the future, Song is looking to expand Dim Sum Garden and relocate the restaurant to a new and larger location.

“I am raising money to fund the expansion of my restaurant to a new location at 1024 Race Street,” said Song. “We are currently in the process of renovating the space and we anticipate that it will be completed next year.  The purpose of participating in this great event is not only to raise funds, but also to increase brand awareness. I hope more people can taste and like our traditional Shanghainese cuisine.”

For arts patrons, diners, and community members looking to support Song, they can donate during their meal at Volvér before heading to a show or they can donate online at:

A financial gift made within the restaurant can be made, like tipping a server, when the dinner check is presented. The Garces Group will match these generous gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $5000.

For more about Song and Dim Sum Garden, follow their journey on @dimsumgarden and visit their website at https://dimsumgardenphilly.com/

Volvér’s Chefs in Residency program has won local and regional awards and received national praise. In 2022, Philadelphia Magazine honored the program with a “Best of Philly” Award.

Hours for the season are Wednesday to Friday, from 4:00pm to 9:00pm, and Saturday/Sunday from Noon to 9:00pm, with a special three course pre-theatre menu from 4:00pm to 6:30pm. The fixed price menu is $56 per person, and it includes items from both Volvér’s ongoing menu as well as items from each resident chef.

Celebrate the art of fine dining by following @volverphl @chefjosegarces @garcesgroup. Celebrate the power of the arts by following @kimmelculturalcampus @philorch.

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