So for our second to last field trip we traveled down to Chinatown to try some Dim Sum. Now, I have had Dim Sum before but this experience was like none other. We walked into New Asia and I was instantly overwhelmed. It was huge, with gold pillars, flat screen TVs, and about 50 tables filled with people talking and eating. I immediately sat down in the waiting section and observed. There was a lot going on, people pushing around steel carts full of food that looked completely foreign to me, 12 people seated at a table chop sticks almost flying trying to get a piece of pork bun before someone else did, waiters shouting across the restaurant to get a cart pushers attention. It was full of life and interesting food. I went upstairs to the bathroom and noticed that the woman waiting behind me had a live chicken in a paper bag. The bag was rustling around, so I asked her “Is there a chicken in there?” she smiled and made a hand motion that led me to believe that there was a snake in the bag, I smiled back and then proceeded to use the restroom. After the hostess shouted our parties name over a loud speaker we sat down. The ladies with the steel carts starting coming by trying to serve us whatever they had, we selected a couple dishes and turned down a bunch. (I sat at the less adventurous table, at Michael’s table there were all kinds of animal parts). We tried some pot stickers, and some of shrimp stuffed noodles. I found out later from my friend Catherine that it is called ha cheung, or shrimp sausage literally (roll maybe?)… whole shrimp wrapped in a thin rice noodle. Unfortunately I didn’t try it, I wish I could be more adventurous but the texture didn’t thrill me and I have a very sensitive gag reflex.
I noticed throughout the meal that a lot of the dishes were made up of the same ingredients. The clear noodles, shrimp, pork etc. For example they have shrimp dumplings, shrimp rolls and shrimp buns with broth, all of these dishes are made with the same noodles but vary in taste and design. This reminded me a lot of Sushi, they make a classic California roll and then add Avocado and it is transformed into Dragon roll. This is a good way to utilize a few ingredients to make a variety of dishes.
Later we also ordered some Chinese broccoli which looked really beautiful, it was such a vibrant green, it had sort of a fishy taste because of the oyster sauce but it was nice to get some greenery in our meal. Then came another dumpling that was different than the others we had previously ordered. This one looked more complex and like it had more than just a few ingredients. After talking to Cat about it she told me that it was Shumai, also arguably one of the most famous if not the most famous dim sum (since you can find a similar item in many Japanese restaurants that offer bento; similar but not the same), is a pork & shrimp dumpling (open on top) in essence. She said that this was hands down here favorite.
(I didn’t get a flick of this dish so I stole one from the New Asia Yelp review)
I am certainly not as adventurous as my classmates who between 5 of them bravely nibbled on one chicken foot . Sorry just couldn’t do it, I applaud you guys! The Dim Sum meal was definitely a experience, and the next time I go I will certainly try to be more open about trying new things. New Asia, I don’t know if I will be visiting you again but Dim Sum you cant count on it!