I tried dim sum for the first time at the Metropole Restaurant near the Admiralty stop – and I have to say, it’s probably the most addicting meal I’ve ever had.
I’m assuming it’s the MSG that makes it so wonderful, but really, dim sum is fabulous.
Dim sum’s literal “little bites” allow you to go with a big group of people and try a ton of different local dishes. I recommend a dim sum place with the trolley carts, to get the “real” experience.
Basically, dim sum works like this, at least, at this restaurant:
- Check out the trolley carts and the buffet options if the restaurant has those. See what looks good. If you know a bit of Mandarin or Cantonese, now is a good time to practice as you ask what’s in each item.
- Select what you would like to try.
- Hand the lady or man at the cart (or buffet line) your table card. S/he will stamp it and hand it back to you with the items you got (price categories, I think).
- Enjoy your selections.
- Repeat as much as you like!
- Waddle out and pay at the till for your dishes and drinks.
We tried a million dishes, it felt like. I discovered the delicious jelliness of chicken feet in a soy sauce, the pale gelatinity (my own word) of jellyfish bits near the boiled Hainanese chicken, a big hock of pig’s knuckle in five spice sauce, and perfectly round and tasty dumplings. Other worthy notes were the gooey and soft turnips, the stuffed green pepper tops, ground spiced pork atop a bitter melon slice, and the rolled eggplant bits. Actually, that’s a lie. I recommend that you try everything – everything except, perhaps the tripe. I couldn’t get over the webby, honeycomb texture enough to actually try it.
The dessert trolley is worth waiting for – and leaving room in your belly. We had puffy white jelly rabbits dusted with sweet coconut flakes, green pandan jellies, and a lovely bowl of Jello squares with a drinks umbrella pushed into the wobbly goodness. We also had some sweet rice balls with red bean paste in the centre as well. My favourite, above all the foods, was the pumpkin custard tart. The creamy, autumn-in-a-mini-pie-tin dessert was absolutely melty. I was in #pumpkinspice heaven.
The most entertaining part of the meal is trying to eat the dim sum snacks. Often times, this is a supreme test of chopstickery skill. Food will fly. It will slip off your chopsticks just as you’re about to bite it. The dim sum will hit the sauce trays and splatter it onto your shirt, your neighbor’s shirt, or the table. Our white table cloth was stained soy sauce brown by the end of it because the steam baskets kept hitting the tipsy little dishes.
Of course, sometimes, you’ll go to eat the food and get nothing but air because your dim sum is in your lap.
Or, in my case, it ended up in my tea …
Meh, you dim sum, you lose some.
It’s all in how you play the game. Dinner & a show, folks.