A Moment in My Life – Tuesday, March 2, 2021
I love dim sum. Who doesn’t? That’s one of the foods I’ve missed the most during this pandemic. I didn’t give it a second thought, though. I figured my only option was to wait it out until shelter in place ends. Who knew the pandemic would linger and linger? “When will it end?” My dim sum craving got stronger and stronger, and as if the answer fell from heaven above, my friend told me she ordered dim sum takeout from a restaurant. “What? You mean we can order dim sum takeout? Totally new concept!” I didn’t act upon it, and as if I didn’t get the hint, I began hearing more and more about dim sum options.
About that same time, my older sister said she ordered dim sum for a Chinese New Year’s charity event she was coordinating. “Okay, you got my attention.” I wasn’t ready to order dim sum takeout yet because I am one person, and if I know anything about dim sum, which I do, I know it would be a lot of food for one person.
My sister’s suggestion to my dilemma was that I try Ranch 99’s dim sum, then I could control the amount. “Great idea!” I’m not a regular Ranch 99 shopper; therefore, I was not familiar with their layout. When my sister suggested dim sum, I imagined they would have a steam table near their bakery or in their hot food area. I was right. They had a small steam table display for dim sum. “Oh, so exciting!” My mouth watered as I ordered a few of my favorites they had available. They didn’t have much, but they had shrimp dumplings (Har Gaw), pork dumplings (Siu Mai), sticky rice in lotus leaf, spring roll, and the bao, which I thought was pork bun but I erroneously bought a chicken bao instead. I was glad they had dim sum available, but it was a far cry from the quality I am used to. I told my sister this, and that’s when she corrected me. She sent me to the freezer section and not to the steam table. “How was I to know that?” She knew the steam table option wasn’t that good. “Oh, now you tell me!” I love my sister dearly. She’s got a big heart and means well, but her communication needs some work.
I returned to hunt down my dim sum at Ranch 99, and whoa, did they have dim sum or what? There were probably a dozen freezer aisles, and each one had some form of dim sum. My eyes glazed over with my overwhelming options. How long did I venture up and down those aisles? I was determined to walk out with something in my shopping bag, and eventually, I made my selections. Yep, you guessed correctly. I bought a bag for each of my favorites: Har Gaw, Siu Mai, sticky rice, and pork bao. The bad thing, they come in a bag or tray with a few dozen each. What can I do? The good thing, I can freeze them and enjoy them piecemeal over time. And I did. I was so grateful to own a small bamboo steamer that was stashed away at the far back of my cupboard, which finally came in handy.
After this experience, I can add steaming dim sum to my resume. I wish I could include a raving review of this experience, too, but alas, I can’t. These frozen morsels appeared picture-perfect, but that’s the long and short of it. None tasted up to par with a restaurant’s offering. The worse part was the additives in them. Additives that I can’t pronounce. I only read the list of ingredients when my fingers tightened up, causing a weird sensation I wasn’t familiar with. I couldn’t tell which item caused it. I steamed another serving a few days later, but I wasn’t able to identify the culprit. It doesn’t matter after all because I didn’t like what I was eating, so why was I bothering with them? I couldn’t stand the Har Gaw skin. The texture was gummy, and the edges were hard like it was stale. I ate the shrimp inside and tossed the skin, so why am I bothering with this? The Siu Mai and sticky rice were bland with little personality but edible. The pork bao was the best and tasted close to my expectation. I might have kept the bag of baos had it not been for the additives. In the end, none were worth keeping and got tossed with the week’s trash.
I was finally ready to place an order with Dim Sum King for as many of our favorites as they had available because I wanted to celebrate Mark’s birthday in style worthy of his honor. This is where the saying, “You did well, Grasshopper!” comes into play. I selected well. Every morsel was satisfying in appearance, texture, and taste. Mark would’ve been so pleased as I was. Yes, it was a lot of food, but I got three meals out of this one order that included: Har Gaw, Siu Mai, sticky rice in Lotus leaf, pork bao, spring roll, and egg tart. If they made pineapple custard bins, our favorites would have been complete.
Having done my homework, I am now an expert on dim sum dining. Well, okay, maybe not an expert, but one can dream. At least, I know the only way to satisfy my dim sum craving is to order from a real restaurant that serves dim sum. I am so looking forward to ordering again. Dim sum, anyone?