My mom came into town and being the dutiful Chinese daughter, I made a beeline for dim sum with her. I was hoping to capitalize on her Cantonese-speaking ability, only to be sorely disappointed when she could not identify a dumpling on the menu. Wassup with that?!!
Nevertheless, I still allowed her to partake in the meal with me and I was even gracious enough to let her pay for the bill. We made sure to get some of her favorites, too. Here was the roll call:
Pork siu mai. Not sure what happened, but that top dumpling got jacked on the roe. It’s like the little black sheep-pig of this quartet. Incidentally, you should know that they go heavy on the shrimp in their pork siu mai.Pan fried turnip cake. My mom loves these and was especially fond of this version because they actually shave pieces of the turnip, so there’s some textural contrast with the otherwise creamy turnip cake. I like mine with a really good pan fry, practically fried (shocking, I know). The pan-fried braised tofu skin that is stuffed with shrimp. I think I’ve only had this once before here and while I like the texture, it’s not one of my faves.Pea shoots with garlic. Oh, how I love these. So so so much. I don’t know why the dish is $8 when you can buy a bushel of pea shoots at New May Wah on Clement for about 2 bucks, but I keep paying the $8. Steamed custard buns. These were piping hot out of the steamer and when I broke into it, a bright yolk-colored custard awaited. I love having something sweet on a dim sum table, and this was it. It tasted pretty damn good cold 6 hours later, too.This is one of my all-time favorites. Cheong fun in XO sauce. They are like chow fun noodles, but not cut up. [Editor's note: My good friend Christine, whose Chinese is far superior to mine, corrected me on the meaning of "cheong." I initially thought it meant "chang" -- like "long" because the noodles are long and not cute up; instead, it's "cheong" as in "intestines." Those good ol' Chinese! Naming their food because it happens to look like intestines. Gotta love 'em. In any event, thanks for the correction, Christine, and readers, don't be afraid. It might look like intestines, but it doesn't taste that way...although that wouldn't matter to me, because I like intestines).] I just love the brininess the XO sauce gives, plus the preserved some-type-of-fish-or-shrimp that they add on top. The biggest hit for me, though, is the addition of the diced red peppers to give you a nice present, but not overwhelming, heat. This shit is goooooooood. (And oh look, the beautiful chasiu buns make a showing, too, behind the chang fun).
Some interesting tidbits for you all. My mom was telling me there are two ways to say thank you (both of which I knew, but didn’t know when to use them) — one is in response to unsolicited gestures and the other is typically in response to something you’ve sought or asked for (please, don’t ask me to write the words in a post, I really don’t want to bastardize the words with our alphabet). Also, I learned that if you ask for ice water in the middle of your meal (after you’ve been drinking tea for most of the meal), your waiter might — just might — laugh at you. You see, tea is the standard accompaniment to dim sum. It helps cut the oiliness of the dishes and supposedly helps with digestion. But hey, I’m cool with a 17 year old with thick rimmed glasses laughing at me asking for some water. Sometimes you just need WATER.