I don’t think sum

After an entire day of visiting and walking around London, it is only normal to feel the need  for (or better yet, crave) a nice, warm and comforting meal. Personally I love trying out new gastronomies from around the world and hate having the same kind of dinner two nights in a row. Accompagnied by two friends from home with a tourist guide in hand, we read a good review about Ping Pong, which was refered to as a great Chinese restaurant with affordable prices. We were immediately convinced.

The funny thing about this is, I wouldn’t even know how to review the restaurant. Well, I can say that I liked the decoration, can’t complain about the service and enjoyed the atmosphere. But the problem is that Ping Pong is not just a Chinese restaurant, it is a dim sum restaurant. Can’t tell the difference?

Photo: Courtesy of Haute Living

Dim sum is a specific type of Chinese dish that contains small individual portions of food, usually served in a steamer basket. Traditional dim sum are a kind of steamed buns and dumplings filled with a range of different ingredients. They can be cooked by steaming, frying or baking, and sizes are usually small. It is customary to share the dishes among all members of the dining party, kind of like the Spanish tapas, the Chinese way.

So as you can probably tell I was expecting sweet and sour pork, not tiny dumplings the size of a golf ball. To be honest, fried dim sum are just like spring rolls, which I love. Apart from that, I felt like I was eating hospital food with barely any flavour. Even if the Evening Standard tells me that Keira Knightley maintains a diet of dim sum to keep her figure, it won’t change my mind; however healthy it is, I’d rather eat cooked vegetables all my life.

This notion that seems to have become established as common sense that dim sum are really healthy was peculiar to me. I get that about the steamed buns, but what about the fried and the baked ones? And what about sauces such as black bean sauce, which only to the taste is extremely salty?

While researching about the benefits of Chinese culinary and dim sum in particular, I came across a press release by the government from last year, and it was easy to conclude that dim sum is like any other food: any excessive intake is bad for your health and you need to complement it with other healthy habits, such as eating fruit and vegetable, exercising and not exaggerating on the fried products. You have to be especially careful about sodium and fat levels if you consume dim sum regularly.

When leaving the restaurant, me and my friends felt unsatisfied, craving for some (from our point of view only) “real” food. However, I quickly realised the problem wasn’t the restaurant; it was the dim sum. Quite obviously I was not very excited about this new culinary discovery and couldn’t blame anyone else but me.

Maybe it’s because it’s not part of what I’m used to eat, or my taste buds don’t scream with excitement at the thought of rice wrapped in lotus flower. Whatever reason, everyone is entitled to their tastes and opinions, and I am still proud to say that yes, I have tasted dim sum; one more thing I can cross off my personal world gastronomy list. And anyway, I wouldn’t lose hope about dim sum just yet: after all, “a man’s palate can, in time, become accustomed to anything”.

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12 Comments

Filed under To do in London

12 responses to “I don’t think sum

  1. mAna

    Inês, o título é genial e o artigo lê-se com um apetite inversamente proporcional ao que os dim-sums te provocam! Realmente genial. Comentários para quê: é com certeza uma Inês-a portuguesa!

    • Inês Azevedo

      Hehe, obrigada! Realmente o título até me saiu bem… 😉 Tal como o teu comentário: witty, como sempre!

  2. vaf

    Me neither! Can’t we just grab a couple of take away portions from Thai next door? Just kidding…

  3. nsdogss

    I know it wasn’t the point of this post, but this has made me so, so excited! I’ve been looking for a dimsum place in London for a long time. Next time, get the waitresses to recommend dishes. They’ll know what tastes good and what just tastes bland.

    • Inês Azevedo

      Haha! Well I don’t want to discourage people from eating dimsum, I just personally didn’t like it. I’ll follow your advice next time I go to a similar restaurant though. 🙂

  4. FC

    Inês, I did enjoy your 2 last posts a lot! well written, witty…well done!

  5. ME

    A Dim Sum restaurant ?? What will they come up with next ?? Talked with a chinese friend of mine who said “Dim Sum ?? Yes, but with two bowls of rice for starters !!” :-)))

  6. lrainho

    I’m more into custard…I mean pastéis de nata myself…but as the saying goes: “de gustibus non est disputandum”!

  7. I loove pingpong haha which ones did you get?

    • Inês Azevedo

      Hahaha! I got the Ping Pong Collection menu because I couldn’t be bothered to chose individual items…plus I didn’t know what each of them were anyway, HAHA! My friends got the vegetarian one.

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