24 February 2010

Hong Kong: A desire for dimsum

Dimsum have been on my mind since I arrived.

Traveling means enjoying good food with great people. Hong Kong has provided several opportunities this week to do just that. And we did it again today!

Today, vegetarian versions were on the menu at Pure Veggie House in Coda Plaza. The same building also holds other restaurants serving hotpots, regular dimsum and more.

Here's their card:

Here's the regular menu (the dimsum menu is a printed list, something like a sushi order sheet, where you check off the items and how many of each dish):

We arrived at around 12.30, only one other table was occupied. By 1.15pm, every table in the place was filled; 1pm is lunchtime in HK.

We sat at a large round table with a revolving glass center.

Every dish looked delicious, but this group has gone there often and knew exactly what to order.

We started off with what turned out to be fried bean curd skins. They tasted a bit like vegetarian bacon bits - chewy, crisp, interesting.

The other dishes began arriving in bamboo steamers, small platters and bowls: transparent wild mushroom dumplings with black truffle sauce, steamed vegetarian BBQ buns (these were fantastic), turnip puffs (a yellow fried shell surrounding soft melting turnip), pure veggie siu mai, noodles in soup with sesame sauce and peanuts (very delicious), and wonton in red chili soup. Of course, green tea and jasmine tea were on the table. For our group of five, we ordered two of most items and stuffed ourselves silly. The bill? About US$10 per person.

We could also have had other deep-fried pastries - such as wild fungus spring roll, vegetarian cake, pan-friend pumpkin cake or vegetable turnover - or other steamed offerings - fried rice in lotus leaf, steamed eggplant with bean paste, bamboo fungus bundle or steamed rice flour pancakes with vegetables or mushrooms, or another 15 rice or noodle dishes.

Frequent diners get a 10% off card, which one of our group had today.

I learned that there are two types of vegetarian restaurants. One serves dishes that look, smell and taste like various meat products but aren't - such as platters of roast "pork." The other type doesn't try to imitate meat products, like Pure Veggie House.

How did I enjoy it? A simple one-word answer: YUM!

There were some interesting dishes on other tables and asked about them. One was a delicious looking spiced bean curd. Next time.

We didn't have dessert, but if we had room, we could have had sesame pudding, red dates and snow lotus seeds, red date pudding, or sweet rice dumplings.

Back to the hotel to prepare for tonight's talk. More later.

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