Sunday 16 January 2005

eat drink man woman (and children)

Melanie suggested that we meet up for dim sum today, and I think I can speak for everyone at our table when I say thank you and "Again! Again!" We went to Charlie Chan's on Regent Street in Cambridge and sat around a large table with a lazy Susan (not referring to our friend Susan, who is most definitely not lazy). You are given a menu on which you put a quantity next to the items you want to order, the waiters whisk it away and then proceed to bring out dishes upon dishes of food. Steamers and plates and bowls filled with dumplings and rolls and buns, oh my. If you are still hungry, they will bring you another sheet for you to fill out and even more food will appear. We had several types of prawn and pork dumplings, pork buns, sticky rice with "assorted meat", spring rolls, veggie rolls, veggie dumplings, crab dumpling soup, beef dumplings, rice with chicken and Chinese sausage, and finished the meal with steamed and fried custard buns.

Damn, it was good.

I haven't had dim sum since I left Montreal. We had brunch at a fantastic place in Chinatown (the name escapes me, sadly) that looks like the lobby of a hotel. The staff wheel trolleys by you throughout the meal and you select what you want. I went with my friend Kitty (a Hong Kong native) and instructed her to make sure I didn't end up ordering anything involving chicken feet. It was absolutely delicious and I was a bit worried that today's lunch would pale in comparison. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed Charlie Chan's and would go back in a heartbeat.

I love being able to sample a variety of dishes during a meal, rather than consume one plateful of a particular item. Tapas and dim sum are brilliant for this (even a decent buffet makes me happy). When we have friends and family over for lunch, we tend to put out several different dishes on the table like cheese, salads, dips, meats, breads, and olives - and everyone always remarks that this is their favourite type of meal. Don't get me wrong, I could bury my face in a plateful of pasta and be perfectly happy with a dinner like that, but there is something about the sharing of food with a table of friends that's a wonderfully unique experience. Casually nibbling on bits of food, pausing to converse, instead of shovelling a plateful into your gob before it gets cold. Fantastic.

Of course now that it's two hours later, I'm hungry again.

No comments: