If you read my London blog (BubblesandSqueak)
you will know that I am an enormous fan of the dim sum restaurant Ping Pong. Well last night I was one of 400 lucky people to attend their Chinese New Year event at their first and only US location located right here in D.C.! The music was booming, people were dancing and the smell of steaming and frying dim sum was in the air. The first time I ever had dim sum was when I was in high school on a Model UN trip. We walked into this huge banquet hall (well, it used to be a banquet hall but was bought over the a restaurant), sat down at an enormous table and just started ordering foods such as dumplings and spring rolls. Plate after plate of fried, steamed and griddled foods were placed on the table and we all ate to our heart's content.
Every dim sum restaurant I have ever been to functions in this way. People come around with carts filled with plates of food, they check off a piece of paper which indicates what you took from the cart and you just let it all keep coming to you (until you get the bill, uh-oh!). Ping Pong is a bit different-- you first check off the food that you would like (and you know the prices ahead of time!) and then the food comes to you which will ultimately result in your mouth being so pleased that you will order more. Seriously.
The restaurant was set up beautifully, with the chairs and most of the tables cleared leaving room for mingling and dancing. They even set up a dim sum instructional station along with a Chinese calligraphy station, which I thought made the evening really special. Waiters and waitresses with blue/green-painted faces walked around with stacks of wooden steamers and placed the pieces of dim sum into eager hands using chop sticks as their utensil.
Here I am with my friend Bill holding a vegetable bun which is a soft, fluffy, white bun filled with vegetables such as baby corn, all drenched in a succulent brown sauce.
Other foods of the night included a chive dumpling filled with king prawns and chives, scallop and shitake dumplings, crispy hoi sin duck spring rolls (one of my personal favorites!), vegetable spring rolls, crispy prawn balls and fried banana with a chocolate dipping sauce... because there is always room for dessert.
On top of the great crowd, lion dancers, music and food, we were all given these fabulous gift bags containing flowering green teas, chopsticks, a copy of their wonderful menu, a gift card and (my personal favorite) a wooden steamer!
I can't wait to put that thing to use! Any suggestions?
Tomorrow I will be showing you how I make one of my favorite Green Monsters!
p.s.- I asked one of the calligraphers write out "health" for me. It is now on the wall above my nightstand as a mindful reminder of what I'm all about.