A Breath of Fresh Air Part 2

Okay ladies and gentlemen, part deux.  Lets talk dim sum and pizza (the staple of NYC).

Before I dive right in, let me explain a little bit about dim sum. It is Chinese food usually served in steam baskets (but not always) and served in individual portions.  Typical dim sum fare includes any and all types of dumplings, soups, noodles, spring and egg rolls, buns, etc.  The fun part about dim sum is that you get to pick out what you want by peering into a hand-pushed cart that is constantly traveling around the restaurant.  Dim sum is all about what appeals to you at the time the cart passes by your table and having no idea what you have just picked out.  No joke one time I was at a dim sum restaurant but situated on the far end of the table.  When we stopped the cart and I saw something that looked good.  I pointed to the item and the lady pushing the cart simply shook her head and said “you no want.”  Later when the cart passed by closer to me I found out that what I had pointed to was not sweet and sour chicken, like I had thought, but chicken feet.  Thank goodness this woman looked out for me.  Little did I know that a year later I would purposely order a chicken feet dish.

Yes, this weekend I ordered and enjoyed my first chicken foot. The sauce on them was good, the meat was a little gelatinous.  If you’ve ever eaten pork belly, then you are familiar with the consistency of chicken feet meat/skin (whatever it is).  We also ordered some other less adventurous dishes:a number of different pork, seafood and shumai dumplings (some were steamed others pan-fried).  We got pork buns, some kind of spring roll, pork ribs and noodles, stuffed eggplant, crab claws and a few other things.

The crab claws are awesome.  They essentially are crab meat mouse balls with a crab claw (with meat) on the end.

I love pork buns.  I usually eat the steamed pork buns but you can also get them baked.  These happened to be steamed.

They have a sweet barbecued pork mixture inside.  mm mm good.

The  restaurant we went to  this weekend was in Chinatown.  Walking through the neighborhood is pretty fun and the experience is so much more about the environment than just the food.  Dim sum is a dime a dozen in Chinatown (served until about 2 or 3pm) so depending on the experience you want, there are plenty of places to choose from.  There is one place I went to in Chinatown that was literally a giant ballroom with about 30 communal tables that fit about 10 people each.  I’ve also been to more intimate, hole-in-the-wall places or even up-scale restaurants that serve dim sum.  Since I have experienced a few, I’ll just throw out one or two recommendations.

If you don’t mind spending more money and eating outside of Chinatown, I have a great recommendation.  There is a Chinese restaurant called Shun Lee that is very close to Lincoln Center (at 65th and Broadway) that does dim sum on weekends until about 2-3pm.  My dad used to live walking distance from this place and it is soooo good.  Its pricey but worth every penny.  You can not only eat their dim sum options but you can also order off their regular menu.

The place I went to on this particular trip was called Nom Wah Tea Parlor (13 Doyers Street).  I found it because it got fairly good reviews on yelp. It was not as exciting as other dim sum restaurants because they did not have the carts, you simply ordered by marking off items listed on a piece of paper.  The food was good but if you want the full dim sum experience this isn’t the place to go.  It might be good to just walk around Chinatown and peer into the dozens of restaurants serving dim sum to pick out where you’d like to go.  I find that everyone has their own preferences  about dishes they like and each restaurant serves essentially the same thing.  One restaurant might serve a better dumpling while another place does a better roast pork.  I think that opinions about which place is the best is very subjective.  I’d love to hear if any of you have been to any notable dim sum restaurants either in NYC or DC.

Now lets switch gears a little bit and talk about one of my favorite foods in the entire world, Pizza.  Now I just quickly have to say this so bear with me for the next few sentences. New York pizza is the best.  Pizza is supposed to be thin crust with equal amounts of cheese, sauce and bread in each bite.  If there isn’t enough sauce, you’re eating cheese bread, if there isn’t enough cheese, you’re eating a flat bread.  You should be able to grab your slice with one hand, fold it in half and munch away without any problems-no sogginess, no toppings just glopping anywhere.  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Oh and lastly, I think the only people who prefer Chicago style deep-dish are Chicagoans but that’s just my opinion.

I really like Sicilian pizza, which is constructed the same way as pizza but is taller (more bread), square and crispier. This was my final meal in NYC and a real crowd pleaser.  If you all have any questions about where to eat in NYC or where else I went on my trip just comment on this post and I’ll fill you in.

Managed to take a break from eating and take a little bike ride with my dad, love you dad!


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