I decided I should make good on Dong's tidings for a "Happy New Year" and start the new year off right with a delicious culinary expedition for Dim Sum, or Dim Yum.
My last experience with Dim Sum was in San Francisco. I took myself to Koi Palace, which I found courtesy of Yelp.
All I photographed before covering my fingers in sauce and tasty were some crispy delicious duckieness, and my first pair of chicken feet.
I think chicken feet are just an excuse to eat fat and skin, and since you are working so hard to chew them off the little knuckles, you loose more calories than eating it the regular way, therefore they are the more healthy way to eat chicken skin.
I'm not a big fan of Chinese food to begin with. I used to eat it all the time, then one night after spare ribs, I got sick. It was very traumatic and I didn't eat Chinese food again for years. To this day, I still eat Chinese food VERY infrequently. The only place I really get it from is Asean Bistro in Columbia, Maryland. They have awesome Hunan Crispy Eggplant.
Honestly, I think my problem is that everything can be steamed or fried, so crispy or gooey, and I love all those textures, but the overwhelming texture of everything is grease. Sauce or no sauce, everything leaves my palate feeling greasy. I just don't like that.
But New Years Day I decided to try again. We awoke bright and early and headed to China Garden.
1100 Wilson Blvd.
Twin Towers Mall Level, aka Floor M
Phone: 703-525-5317 (note: calling ahead of 900 people is probably a futile endeavor)
These Dim Sum places tend to be ginormous, as in seat like 2000 people. This one happened to be on the Mth floor of a giant office building, near Channel7 in Rosslyn. The Mth floor was strange because there was also a 3rd, 4th, and 5th floor, but when you descended you reached them in that order. Normally 3rd would be lower and 5th would be higher, right? And most of the time the only lettered floor is L as in lobby, and sometimes B as in Basement. And in addition, in this instance, I believe there was a BM floor, which if you medically trained you will be amused by. If not, look it up.
We decided the M stood for mmmmmmm as in Masticate.
China Garden was no different. Everything tasted wonderful, but even the beautiful rice wrappers were just oozing greasiness. It's not like the fried foods are soaked in grease that oozes out as you bite into it. They are just greasy.
I know this is contradictory but regardless, my favorite part of the meal at China Garden happened to be grease. This is the spicy grease sauce, it tasted and looked like pan drippings with hot pepper added. It was beautiful.
I couldn't identify half of what we ate, but it was a lot of food. Best thing to cure a alcohol hangover is a food coma.
Immediately upon entrance I spotted the bright green dishes of Chinese Broccoli and needed an order of that.
Of course a nice big pot of tea was in order. It was very nice tea. No photo, not an exciting tea pot.
Spare rib bits
Rice wrapped in Tea Leaves with Duck, Chinese pork and Mushrooms
This one was cool because we didn't know what to expect inside. I think the wait staff did speak enough english to explain the dishes to a small extent, had I asked. However, what is the fun in that? Not like I could have remembered every ingredient anyway. I like the guess involved in eating food from foreign cultures.
Someday you are eating something and your smell or taste memory is triggered and you can identify what it was you had at that meal long ago.
This is the Dumpling Cart to Sear the Fried Dumplings to Crispy Perfection
Fried Sesame Shrimp Dumpling
Fried Nest with a Dumpling filled with Beans and Pork and Gravy?
Rice Wrappers filled with Whole Shrimps
Rice Wrapper Roll-up with Duck Sauce, Sesame Seeds and Scallions
Scallion Dumpling, again more shrimp
There were lots of other dumplings and rolls of various types with a multitude of unidentifiable ingredients of delicious sorts.
Supposedly they do noodle dishes as well, but it was pretty empty in there so I think the best time to go is on a Sunday with a lot of people, then you get variety. I saw some clams passing around but my stomach just couldn't handle shellfish at that full state.
We finished with a fried pastry filled with chocolate bean paste and raisins. Dong assured us that they use lard for this. Chris responded "Oh God...Bless them."
Overall, I was still happy with the dishes, I just don't get the grease. Is this just how it is? Is it an american problem? Why?
I'm going to give Dim Sum at least one more American try, and then I will give up until I go to China someday.
I got some recommendations from the HowChow Blog. Check out their post about dim sum. At least their photos of the dishes at Red Pearl in Columbia look a bit less greasy and more delicate in the scheme of photos. Maybe its just that my awesome cell phone (its not a smart phone, it doesnt even't have a keyboard) just doesnt stand up against theirs.
Roast Pork and Shu Mai at Red Pearl
Any other votes?
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