Dim Sum on Sunday
I've been to China and I've been to many Chinatowns, but I know little about Dim Sum. My daughter picked this food feast for part of her Birthday Mother/Daughter Day!
What to Wear
The festive head gear was Heidi's idea. I was having a hard time trying to figure out what to wear that day and Heidi suggested head scarves.
You know you're going to have a good food outing when your daughter is up for head costumes!
It was a beautiful October day and we were able to walk from her apartment to the restaurant on the corner of the IBC Bank building.
There was a crowd dining on the patio and I could see full tables through the floor to ceiling windows.
We both were starving and glad we had reservations.
The sleek modern decor was a nice change. I'm used to waving kitty statues and fish aquariums and Chinese lanterns, so this was a treat. The host was friendly and ushered us past the jade colored community tables, towards the curtained wall in back.
Cool Austin Meets Traditional China
Heidi and I have been sharing Chinese food since she was small. She once burnt her tiny fingers on scalding crab rangoon. As a tot, she begged for her favorite, shrimp toast. At some point she carried her own traveling chopsticks in her purse.
Today Heidi still loves Chinese food, but she's got a sophisticated palate. I was ready for her to introduce me to one of Austin's most highly rated restaurants... where the Chinese chef uses local farm-fresh ingredients to prepare authentic Chinese dishes.
The crowd at Wu Chang looked very different from the diners in my Houston area. Houston's "Asia Town" caters to a mostly Asian crowd. Our go-to Panda Garden near Sugar Land gets an after church group, where you still see some suits and Sunday hats. This was a young Austin crowd, sporting fedoras and tattoos, drinking mimosas, instead of green tea.
But I was delighted with the change, because I knew I was going to have my first Shanghai Soup Dumpling Experience.
I kept the receipt to help me remember all our orders and of course I can't find it and I can't remember. But Heidi did most of the ordering and all we tasted was delicious. Most of these items are only available on Sundays, when Dim Sum Chef, Ji Peng Chen oversees the kitchen. Evidently all the pinching and folding of these little food packages is too time consuming to make them daily.
By the end I was finally growing full, but we had to sample the dessert, sesame fritters! It was a perfect ending. Much better than fortune cookies, which really aren't a Chinese thing anyway.
I took a few moments to head back towards the restroom, so I could enjoy the scenes along the way.
The bar was pretty empty by this time, but I could see the yellow tile work and the painted "fish scales" above the bar. I imagine at night, this cool scene is a happening place.
These fish greeted me when I walked into the Ladies Room. Wallpaper? I'm not sure, but it was lovely.
When I was a kid I rated bathrooms and I would have given this one an A+. They even had mouthwash available, which I've never seen in a Chinese restaurant.
The Best Wall
The place had emptied out by the time we finished, so I was able to get a look behind one large seating area. The whole wall was decorated with hand-laid mahjong tiles!
One server saw me gasping as I recognized what the tiny rectangles were. She told me the exact number of tiles that were used, but of course I can't remember. It made me want to go home and pull out my grandmother's old game... and do a little artwork!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.