Adventures in Eating & Cooking
On Sunday, Ninja-Kitty and I got up early to enjoy Sunday brunch, Hong Kong style. We went to Ocean Harbor for dim sum, supposedly one of the best places in Chinatown. Oh, and what a relief it was to see the little carts being pushed by little Asian ladies! (I had not eaten dim sum in a while and was immensely Chinese food-deprived.)
I liked the fried taro dumplings, although I would have preferred the crunchy shell to be lighter and crispier. But the delicious mashed potato-ish taro made up for it. The warm taro had a pure, untainted flavor (probably since they were cheap on the meat stuffing.)
Xia chang (shrimp in rice noodle), one of my personal dim sum favorites was also decent. It’s hard to mess this one up because the sweet soy sauce is always stunning and who doesn’t love shrimp wrapped in thick rice noodle skin? My main problem with this dish was the tiny size of the shrimp, which screamed rip-off to me.
You can tell the authenticity of a dim sum restaurant by its feng zhua or Canto-style chicken feet, the classic dim sum dish. (I was shocked that Ninja-Kitty had never eaten this before!) Ocean Harbor’s feng zhua’s intense bright redness perplexed me, as these tend to be darker in color. I bit off each claw while grasping the foot between my chopsticks, the traditional way to eat these, but I was sorely disappointed. The flavor was boring, lacking in sauce, intensity, and tenderness. Maybe if the cook spent more time improving the dish’s taste instead of creating an enticing color, I might have actually liked it.
I adore sticky rice… especially the kind steamed in bamboo leaves! So it’s pretty hard for me to not like sticky rice, unless it’s hard and undercooked, or stuffed with some strange stinky material. So I ate a whole helping of the sticky rice, recounting the other wonderful times I’ve eaten this dish.
We also got a plate of Chinese broccoli in hoisin sauce for our daily dose of veggies. Crisp fresh leaves dipped in a sweet, characteristically-Chinese sauce makes eating vegetables a lot more fun! The roots were very crunchy and bitter, but I ate them with a clean conscience knowing that they were good for me.
I was massively disappointed by the egg tarts. The pastry shell was thicker and harder than I’m accustomed to, and the egg custard was kind of runny, sweet, and gooey. Furthermore, the crust-custard proportion was completely off with far too much crust. I am never getting these here again!
Overall, this was a pretty okay experience. Not exactly one of my better dim sums, but not bad. Just hanging out with Ninja-Kitty for an early morning food trip was fun! I feel that as Asians who grew up having dim sum with parents, dim summing together is just so much more meaningful. Although I still prefer NY or Cali dim sum, Ocean Harbor would be fun to come back to.