Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dim Sum

One of the things I really like about London is just about every restaurant in the city has vegetarian options. Even a restaurant that specializes in chicken dishes has a special section of their menu for vegetarians. You'd never see that back home with a place such as KFC.

I've often heard good things about dim sum, but never took a chance to try it back in the states since it's usually made with meat. I finally got a chance to try it here (at a restaurant called Ping Pong) and it's quite good.

For those who've never tried dim sum, here's my rough, probably inaccurate description. It's a Chinese meal composed of baskets of steamed foods, usually small breads or rice paper stuffed with meats or veggies. For a more complete and accurate description, check out Wikipedia.

Here's a snapshot of part of my meal.

I got some oddly named drink called a Chinese Mule - it seemed to be apple juice, sprite, mint leaves and lemonade mixed together. It looked a lot like swampy water, which seriously was a plus for me. I enjoy odd looking drinks which are tasty.

This last picture shows what a backet might look like inside. The larger puffy looking pastry is bread filled with vegetables and the other more shiny items are those wrapped in rice paper. I've never had bread that's been cooked via steam. It's has a much more delicate consistency than baked bread.

The item on the right in the basket is sticky rice wrapped in a large leaf (maybe a banana leaf?). When I first walked into the restaurant, I saw someone unwrapping one of those leaves and thought the person was pulling skin off a fried fish. Fortunately, I was terribly mistaken. The rice wrapped in a leaf is very good! Sticky rice is probably my favorite style of rice, when it's cooked properly. (There was the one time I ordered sticky rice from a Thai restaurant and it had the shape and consistency of a hockey puck. I literally could not even cut it with a sharp knife! That was definitely the worst rice I ever had. )