Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dim Sum Sensation

My family ventured into New York City Sunday for the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown. My daughter being Chinese, we try to do something every lunar new year.

A must on this day: dim sum. I first tasted these sumptuous dumplings of joy my freshman year in college when a Chinese friend of mine took to a dim sum palace in Chinatown. It was like discovering a new world you had no idea existed: carts laden with towers of bamboo and steel steamers holding dumplings of different sizes , some translucent, others opaque, stuffed with shrimp, pork or vegetable. Point, wait for the waitress to plunk a steamer onto your table and dig in.

I was hooked the moment I put the first dumpling in my mouth. Ever since, I've eaten dim sum at every opportunity, everywhere from New York to Montreal to China.

After meeting a friend and stopping for boxes of throw fire crackers (you throw them to the ground and they pop), we literally pushed our way through the crowds trying to get the trendy Dim Sum Go Go on Confucian square. No dice. There were just too many people and we figured Dim Sum Go Go would be too jammed.

Fighting our way down Mott Street, I spotted "Dim Sum" in the window of the Mandarin Court restaurant. We muscled our way inside, waited about 20 minutes for a table and feasted. The food was superb: pork, vegetable and shrimp dumplings, sticky rice, fried rice and General Tsao's Chicken washed down with traditional Chinese tea (the leaves come out with the tea and settle to the bottom of the cup). A find. We will definitely go back.

From there, it was back out into the street to watch the parade of dragons and pop off a couple of blow tubes of confetti. At the end of the festivities, street sweepers came down the street to suck up the carpet of multi-hued carpet of confetti and I snapped the shot below. Art, I guess: