Monday, September 23, 2013

Dim Sum: Trays of nostalgia

I feel extremely blessed to stay in a part of California where dim sum is readily available. There's no greater comfort than watching steamy little trays of goodness being pushed around in metal carts. I think I'd have died if there are no dim sum restaurants around.
My favourite is actually Hong Kong Flower Lounge (at Millbrae) but the queue is always unbelievably long, so we go to this hidden gem called China Village Seafood Restaurant (at Belmont) to get our dim sum fix. ABC Seafood Restaurant (in Foster City) is my nearest hospital if I go cold turkey.
马拉糕 is my all-time favourite! Love this sponge cake.
Also tried Koi Palace (in Daly City), which has a more 'atas' aka premium selection like scallop dumplings, but you will have to be early to beat the crowd. Zen Peninsula (in Millbrae) is sort of OK if not for the queue.
I actually owe my appreciation of dim sum to Grandpa. I stayed with him when I was young. Every morning, he would bring us to a cha lao (tea place) a few blocks away from his house to yum cha (drink tea). When we say yum cha, we really mean eating loads of dim sum. 
We'd drink tea, of course. He prefers the thicker 普洱 (Pu'erh) with his dim sum while I like lighter ones like 香片 (Jasmine) or 铁观音 (Iron Goddess of Mercy). Till this day, I'm quite glad I can still tell the server what kind of tea I like. I know friends who give a total blank face before saying 菊花 (Chrysanthemum).
Nothing wrong with Chrysanthemum... except that it's not really a dim sum tea? I don't know... there are no tea leaves inside and it's sweet!
Anyway, over the phone a while ago, I told Grandpa that I will go yum cha with him when I'm back in December. It has sort of become a ritual whenever Sis and I head back. It's more than just eating har gows and char siu baus together; it's a sign of respect.  
If I ever have children, one thing I'll always nag about is: "Remember to go yum cha with your grandparents!"

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