fun fact: dim sum is actually the Cantonese term for "snack" which is actually pretty appropriate for the style of dishes that dim sum includes. Dim sum is characterized by the carts of appetizer-like food that get pushed around from table to table (think tons of yummy dumpling-style dishes, bite-sized buns, and eat-with-your-fingers-because-you-can't-use-chop-sticks plates of deliciousness)
Henry and I took our friend, Lisa, who is 1. White and in no way of Asian origin... 2. a dim sum newbie.
We headed to Chinatown in Oakland, instead of Chinatown in SF, to test out the authenticity of Oakland's grub. we were NOT disappointed. And, since it was Lisa's first time, we obviously had to order triple the amount of food...
The cheesier the name of the restaurant, the tastier the food.. LEGENDARY PALACE in Oakland!!
We knew we chose the right place when the hostess told us there would be a wait... however, the wait went by super fast (which is a good thing because nobody wants a
We told Lisa that all the dumpling-esque dishes either had pork, beef, or shrimp -- we wouldn't traumatize her on her first visit by ordering duck feet and shark fin.
SOOO much of our food went unpictured, because I was way to excited to stop (yes, even to breathe... who knew you could hold your breath while you inhale food for an hour)
First up was pork shumai (left) and Lo Mai Gai (sticky rice filled with meats and wrapped in a lotus leaf).... YUM!
Then we ordered a series of what I like to call "Slurpy Noodles," because they are impossible to pick up with chop sticks, so you (or maybe just me) end up slurping them up from your plate.
Steamed chow fun noodles -- beef and shrimp!
(paused for picture) on our plates, you will see an assortment of Lai Wong Bao (custard buns filled with creamy milky custard sauce), Har Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings), and some pan fried pork dumplings.
Deep fried dumplings, Char Siu Bao (buns filled with sweet barbequed pork), and egg tarts.
Um, I ended up eating an egg tart and finishing both Lisa's and Henry's portions...
We also had an assortment of random pastries and, yes, more dumplings.
I don't know where this odd tradition of mine started... but I have this thing where I can't leave Dim Sum without being completely stuffed-past-the-point-of-comfort.
Oddly enough, I could still walk without clutching my stomach after leaving the restaurant, AND I had yet to get my favorite custard bun, soooo I convinced Lisa and Henry to stop... at every single bakery we passed along the way to our car.
First on our list of pastries... the sponge cake. Which you may recognize from this little mishap. By mishap, I mean the time when Sister and I ate and entire loaf... by ourselves.
Then, we saw a small bakery that had HUGE lines... so obviously, we had to wait in line. Little did I know, this would probably be the location of my future wedding - I will get married amidst the company of warm, delicious pastries.
Apparently, it was some harvest festival, which typically means one thing: moon cakes. If you don't know what a moon cake is, neither do I. Okay... lies... they are these super dense cakes filled with a thick lotus seed paste that kind of resembles red bean paste (in my opinion). They're typically eaten to celebrate Chinese festivals :).... I should probably start following the lunar calendar so I don't miss an important occasion to eat cakes.
They're also like a work of art! Hello intricate design and dense deliciousness...
Lisa had never been exposed to such crazyyy pastry choices, so I told her to pick out anything (and everything) to try -- she fell in love with the coconut bun. Moist, coconut loaf.... so bomb.
I obviously helped her out on the coconut loaf... but my favorite pastry of all time (seriously, no exaggeration -- for once) is the custard bun.
Huge. Warm. Filled with a sweet, thick custard. Topped with god-knows-what but it's delicious...
And a close second was my spur-of-the-moment Taro Bun purchase:
I think this will definitely be integrated into my usual list of must-have pastries in the future.
We walked around while I finished the two buns (pictured above....) and I finally met the traditional eat-till-you-can't-move requirement. So, I knew it was time to head home.
I promptly fell into a post-dim-sum food coma (yes, similar to the American Thanksgiving food coma). Then, Lisa came over and we put in Made of Honor and watched the Food Network (cupcake wars?!?!?) while "Reading" for our pol sci classes...
Gym: cardio kickboxing and abs&back.
Got way too confused in kickboxing and had to leave before I kicked some poor girl's face..
Then headed home for a quick dinner before hitting a 10:30 showing of Crazy, Stupid, Love. HANDS DOWN BEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN IN AWHILE. Like, buy it on DVD status.
Ryan Gosling + shirtless + scenes that include pizza = my definition of a good time.
Plus, apparently it's supposed to renew my "hope for love in the future"... ? Hmm.
Okay, don't judge me for this. But we might have been a tad starving after the movie. Luckily, there was a Denny's nearby, and my friends are foodies (they love food almost half as much as I DO!).
I had the buttermilk pancakes and a few bites of buttermilk biscuits and gravy (not good). BUT Lisa was a champ and ordered the best thing on the menu: Strawberry cheesecake pancake puppies.
These aren't the strawberry (and white chocolate) puppies, but just use your imagination.
Imagine powdered sugar strawberry donut bites dipped in cream cheese frosting... heavenly.
OKAY -- I fell into bed and woke up to frantic phone calls because I was late for work.
And now I'm trying to do homework and reading.
Isn't there a holiday devoted to no laboring or something?? Lies I tell you.
Catch yaaaa later!! Hope you're enjoying this long weekend with some good eats!