Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hong Kong: Dim Sum and then some

When we arrived in Hong Kong, we were famished and started wandering the streets in search of food. We stumbled across a seafood restaurant called Chuk Yuen. Even though it was 3 p.m., we still had to wait over 30 minutes for a table and the good-sized restaurant was packed. But oh my — the food was fabulous. Good thing I enjoyed it because when the check came, it was HK$1163. Wowza, that seemed like a lot of digits. As I was ordering, it vaguely seemed like a lot of money, but I wasn't too worried because there are a ton of Hong Kong dollars per one U.S. dollar. My mind must have been addled by traveling with three kids, hunger and the exchange rate conversions, because I inadvertently spent US$150.00 for lunch. Oops. We had McDonald's for dinner to compensate.

Hong Kong is famous for its Dim Sum, a style of Chinese cuisine in which a variety of small, bite-sized portions are served family style. It's like the Chinese version of tapas. We always went out for Dim Sum when I was growing up in Houston, and I wanted to compare it to the more "authentic" version. The hotel concierge recommended Serenade in the Hong Kong Cultural Center.

Deep-fried Crab Claws (back) and
Pan-fried Dumplings with Shrimp and Vegetables (front)

Before entering, we saw not one, not two, but three different bridal parties being photographed on a Monday morning. They were dressed in Western attire, but a fourth wedding couple entering the restaurant was resplendent in traditional Chinese wedding clothes and makeup.

It was definitely one of the fanciest Dim Sum joints I've ever dined in. Luckily for me, the menu was in both English and Chinese as well as having pictures of some items. Even though I've eaten Dim Sum all my life, I've never learned the names for my favorite dishes. In Houston, they wheel carts laden with towers of food around the to all the tables, and you just point at what you want.

This was the first time I've seen animal-shaped dumplings like the ones on the left.
The dishes on the right are very traditional.

Overall, the food was delicious but did not surpass what I've had in Houston's Chinatown. While my expectations had been higher, it's comforting to know that I can still get Hong Kong-quality Dim Sum in the USA.

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