I’m starting to feel real guilty about this blog. I was so excited about it, still am in fact, but I’ve started working (gasp) and this has seriously cut down on my time to go out and try random restaurants. This is especially frustrating because I work at a food magazine, so I spend all day looking at all of the snackies I could be eating. The job has also shown me how little I really know about the Hong Kong food scene. I started making a list of places I have to try from noodle shops to Michelin starred fancy pants spots but the list is already like sixty spots deep and I haven’t gotten to try even one of them. I have had the opportunity to interview some of the chefs at some of the swankier spots so that’s been fun and maybe soon I’ll start to actually eat a little professionally and that would be pretty tight.
Anyway, it occurred to me that I haven’t really touched on dim sum. And that’s a shame because dim sum makes me really extraordinarily happy. Pretty much every Sunday, if we wake up before dinner, Lucky and I switch off between getting a fat sushi brunch or an equally fat dim sum brunch. This Sunday was dim sum. We went to the neighborhood spot just down the street. This spot is especially bangin because it is 24hrs and often I will go twice in a day, once for dinner and again at like one or two in the morning. This restaurant isn’t amazing or anything. It’s typical of a thousand other teashops around the city but that’s just the thing, if it were in NYC or San Francisco it would be BY FAR the best around. I just can’t believe how much cheaper and better the dim sum is here than in the states. Although, truth be told the very best single bite of dim sum I’ve ever eaten was a steamed jade shrimp dumpling in Millbrae California at the now deceased Fook Yuen. But that was just a fluke. This shit here beats all the rest by a mile.
This is the restaurant. Notice the fat stacks of steamer baskets out front. You can alway order to go dim sum if you want but seeing as how the food gets to your table within thirty seconds of ordering it I always just kick it. Also that way I can have a milk tea and watch the cooking shows on the tv. That reminds me! The TV here is wild. I'm pretty sure its all about food in someway. Even the soap operas have scenes of people eating or cooking or talking about food. There are basic cooking shows, restaurant review shows, food game shows, a show where they make models with no cooking experience prepare really complicated dishes then laugh at them and there's my favorite show in which around ten super attractive friends go to wild restaurants, order a thousand different dishes then spend half an hour stuffing their faces and looking pleased. The first week I got here there was what seemed to be a really important press conference on the big screen tv at the neighborhood mall. It was zoomed in on two really serious looking Chinese businessmen's faces, one had a little Hong Kong flag lapel pin and one had a little Mainland Chinese lapel pin. When the camera zoomed out you could see they were both holding the same over-sized golden carving knife, then a roast pig was wheeled out and the men sliced it in half pausing for a photo opp. Perfect.
Anyway, so this was the first dim sum I ordered. Its a meatball. They are so good. The meatballs are held together with tofu skin and very heavily spiced. They're big too, about the size of the palm of my hand and I can usually only eat one or two because they are so juicy (greasy). Seriously they spray and squirt juice everywhere. Sometimes in a concentrated scalding stream, sometimes in a fragrant grease colored mist.
These little guys are wild. I'd never seen these before coming here. I can't remember what's in them... I think its pork but what really makes them special is that there is a hard boiled quail egg stuffed in each one. Damn Hong Kong knows how to push the health envelope. Nothing goes better with pork fat than rich quail yoke.
These are actually my favorite dim sum. No funny business, just plane old steamed shrimp dumplings. Man when these things are done right it's on a whole other level. I wake up most mornings craving these. When their perfect they have skin thats so thin its see-thru but strong enough to get roughed up with my chop sticks without ever breaking. They should never get stuck to the paper in the basket but should have a slight tackiness in the mouth. Inside one medium sized, recently deceased shrimp, quietly curled and just barely steamed to firm, crunchy perfection. A little soy sauce and holy god.
These are another favorite. You can't see in the picture but the rolled up rice noodles contain cha siu pork, the famous Cantonese sweet bbq'd pork. They're always swimming in a really mellow, not too salty soy sauce that when combined with the sweet pork really gets going.
Here it is. The reason I can no longer walk up stairs without taking a rese. Look at the beautiful chunk of roast piggy. Portioned perfectly so every bite contains equel amounts of pink salty flesh and creamy fat, all topped off with a crunchy porky bit of roasted skin. The photo can't convey the crunchiness of this skin; the sound you make eating this sis the same one you make when you eat corn chips. On man, you take one of these little guys, drag it through the green onion infused oil, then a good long thorough bath in the fiery yellow mustard, and its worth the inevitable coronary episode.
Ok, I'll leave you with that. I'm actually too hungry to keep this up right now. Much love.