Out and about

October 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Family dim sum at Chinatown classic, Jing Fong:

Drinks at Dead Rabbit right by the office:

More dim sum, this time while working from home and ordered from Nom Wah:

A lunch of white wine and fresh, grilled seafood at Via Carota before my trip to Croatia:

Square pizza at Harry’s Italian as my first meal back in the U.S. after Yacht Week:

Simple summer meal at home with tomatoes and basil from the Union Square Greenmarket, Murray’s Cheese ricotta and Blue Ribbon country bread:

Late-night drunken eats at Crif Dogs on St. Mark’s:

Ordering in Xi’an Famous Foods for Laura’s birthday meal:

The #1 at Black Seed Bagels in Nolita (so good):

Dim sum at Oriental Garden

January 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Christmas Day, our family eschewed staying at home like we usually do and drove into New York City for dim sum in Chinatown (now that’s a Christmas brunch I can get with). Our usual choice, Jing Fong, wasn’t available since there were large parties going in at noon, so we ended up at nearby Oriental Garden, where the staff seated us in a different, quieter part of the restaurant.

This was probably one of the most relaxed dim sum experiences I’ve ever had. Usually, customers wait eagle-eyed for carts of their favorite foods and dim sum ladies yell whatever they have in loud Cantonese, but in this section of the restaurant, waiters just circled around quietly from table to table and even let us order directly off the dim sum menu in batches.

As typical with dim sum, most of the food we got almost instantly, including shrimp “noodles,” Shanghai buns, taro shrimp puffs, baked pork wedges, and bacon-wrapped shrimp balls (something I’ve never seen in a Chinese restaurant). Overall, the dishes were quite good, with the super crispy and light taro shrimp puffs being my favorite.

The next go-around, we ordered Hong Kong-style dumplings, which were fried and a bit chewy for my taste, and a whole slew of the classics, like chicken feet, beef tripe, shrimp-stuffed eggplant, shrimp dumplings, shu mai, black bean steamed spare ribs, bean curd with pork, and lotus leaf sticky rice. Stand-outs were the flavorful yet delicate shu mai, the savory spare ribs, and the shrimp-stuffed eggplant, for which I always have a weakness.

And one of our final items and my favorite, was the humble (fried) turnip cake, which I always smother with hot chili sauce and wolf down like a baby dinosaur.

So even though we weren’t able to eat at Jing Fong, I’d say we discovered another solid place for dim sum in Chinatown, with better service than most Chinese restaurants. After looking it up online, I’m also curious to try their supremely fresh seafood during dinner hours.

Also, Happy 2012 everybody! May all your dreams come true in the new year. šŸ™‚

Oriental Garden
14 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10013
212.619.0085

 

Christmas with the six

December 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

A little late, I know, but here’s a glimpse of how our family, just the six of us, celebrated Christmas this year. It was the first time in a long time that we were able to relax and enjoy the holiday together, and I hope it’s only the first of many fun, family-filled Christmases to come.

Christmas Eve Eve dinner

Empty stockings on Christmas Eve

Our Christmas tree aglow

Window decoration

Our Christmas Eve spread

Cheers

Chinatown, NYC

Dim sum at Oriental Garden

Four sisters in Central Park

Family photo at Bethesda Fountain

Inside St. Patrick's on Christmas Day

Dimsum at A-K (formerly known as 1-9) Seafood

January 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m back on the Hilltop and already missing home. In my first class on Keats and Shelley, our professor (who by the way had a posh British accent) handed out Keats’ “On first reading Chapman’s Homer” and asked us to write about one rhetorical device that “contributed to the poem’s overall meaning.” EH? I’m definitely not in study mode yet, so that was quite the rude awakening.

I was organizing the pictures that I took over break, and when I got to these dimsum pictures, I was salivating. CHINESE FOOD I’M GOING TO MISS YOU. A-K was formerly known as 1-9 because it was located at the juncture of Routes 1 and 9. Yeah, the owners weren’t too creative with the original title; I’m wondering why A-K for the new one. Anyway, I laughed when I saw the new sign where they just taped over the original name.

They offer your typical dimsum dishes, and that’s what makes it so great, in my opinion. Hardly ever does my family order something new. We go to A-K because we have certain expectations and we know they’re going to deliver. For example, their honeycomb tripe with radishes is spicy and tender and every fried dish they serve is surprisingly light and wonderfully seasoned. I also suggest any of their delicate shrimp dumplings as well as the egg tarts. YUM.

For all those living near Edison (or Avenel where it’s actually located) or somehow visiting (though there’s really not much here except ethnic restaurants and malls), I’d highly recommend it.

 

A-K Seafood Restaurant (a.k.a. 1-9)
1021 Route 1-9, Avenel, NJ

Father’s Day & Mom’s Birthday brunch at 1-9.

June 15, 2008 § 1 Comment

In Edison, there’s only one dimsum place that my family goes to – 1-9 Seafood. Their food is consistently good, service is decent, and if you get there early enough, the wait isn’t too long.

Today though, since it was Father’s Day, every seemed to have the same idea about brunch and when we got to the restaurant it was a 45 minute wait, longer than we’ve ever had before. My sisters and I amused ourselves by watching the Japanese-style reality show on the large-screen tvs, where poor contestants had to climb rolling piles of logs and vault their way over giant ponds. As each one of them smashed their faces into the ground or fell into the water, the entire restaurant would break out into fits of laughter and forgot about their food. I guess that’s why management changed the channel to CNN shortly afterwards.

Food-wise, there were new items that I’d never seen before at 1 and 9 – most of them lightly fried like soft shell crabs and baby squid. They tasted almost exactly the same as the fried frog legs they serve during dinner but were still quite delicious. It’s pretty hard to make anything deep-fried in flour, salt, and pepper taste bad.

Fried soft-shell crab

Fried calamari

Old favorites like shrimp in rice rolls, shrimp-stuffed eggplant (or is it the other way around? I’m too full to really care), and tripe with radishes were also present and met expectations but disappointments, however were the spring rolls, which had barely any filling at all and just oozed grease the minute I bit into one of them and the not-so-fresh-or-hot shumai dumplings that I ate anyway.

Stewed honeycomb tripe with radishes

This isn’t a dimsum item but I highly recommend it anyway: lobster pan-fried noodles. Yes, it’s hard to eat but that wonderful sound when you crack into the crispy noodles and smother them in the lobster sauce is simply music to a food-lover’s ears. A lot of restaurants have something similar, more likely with all different kinds of seafood like scallops, squid, octopus, etc. Try it next time if you see it on the menu!

Lobster pan-fried noodles

Dim sum spread

 

Dim Sum Go Go!

June 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

“Lunch. Dim sum. Find a place. 11:45.”

Basically the message I got from my friend Ameya as I was rounding up a project at work.Ā Dim sum!? To my knowledge, all the good dimsum places were in Chinatown, and I didn’t feel like trekking that uptown since lunch is only an hour. My search onĀ NYMag for decent dimsum places in theĀ Lower East Side gave only a couple names, but Dim Sum Go Go was a critic’s pick and only one stop away on the 4.

We were joined by fellow JP student Andrew Hsu who was in town for an interview and luckily managed to snag the last table in a tiny, barely decorated establishment on the outskirts of Chinatown. Go Go has regular sized entrees as well, but it’s rare to find dim sum on a weekday and they have a surprisingly extensive menu, so we helped ourselves to 9 small dishes, all in the $3 range.

Sesame balls are hard to mess up, and Go Go did a well enough job. These were petite but the outer crust of glutinous rice was thick (I like) and contrasted nicely with the crunch of the sesame-covered outside, and the filling was plentiful and perfectly sweet without being cloying.

Sesame balls

Out of the dumplings, theĀ shrimp and chive steamed ones were my favorite since neither ingredient overpowered the other (a mistake of most dim sum places) and they were encased so perfectly in the rice wrappers. Yet the bites were so small that we barely got to enjoy the dumplings when they already disappeared in our mouths. TheĀ snow pea leaf dumplings (the longer ones with green filling) were mediocre to me, but that might also be because they reminded me of jiu tsai (Chinese leeks), which I don’t really like in the first place. Go Go’s pork dumplings were the familiar fried potstickers that everyone loves, and I loved that the juices from the pork spilled out once I bit the crispy exterior.

Other dim sum staples like the shrimp rice rolls, the spare pork ribs, and the shumai dumplings, were satisfactory. Comforting and most times piping hot, they all lived up to the expectations of decent dimsum with the added plus of better presentation than usual. OneĀ gripe though: the shrimp rice rolls had too much rice roll, not enough shrimp (which weren’t dry and shrunken, another mistake of dim sum eateries). I like a lot of filling! The spare pork ribs, which are usually drenched in the black bean sauce and then cooked until dry, were tender and wonderfully light and vibrant due to a modest sprinkling of chives and a stayed hand with the salt.

Line of condiments

Dumplings!

Shu-mai dumplings

Black bean spare ribs

Overall, the food was well executed and well made, but service was horribly slow since Go Go, being such a small restaurant, can’t abide by the usual dim sum set up ofĀ circulating steam carts. They brought out items one by one, teasing us,Ā  and the sesame balls came first. And they’re supposed to be for dessert! However, if you have a decent stretch of time and wish for well-priced anddeliciously light Cantonese food, this is the place to go.

Dim Sum Go Go
5 E. Broadway,
New York, NY 10038
at Chatham Sq.

212-732-0797

 

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