Photo courtesy of Digital Tribe.
When I was a kid I hated dim sum. My parents used to force us to go every Sunday to a Chinese restaurant that was on the top floor of the Whiteley’s shopping centre in Bayswater and the dim sum was always terrible. We would order the same things – char siu bao (steamed buns filled with roast pork), har gow (prawn dumplings), cheung fun (a rice noodle roll, usually filled with different meats), pai gwat fan (spareribs rice; we called this ‘pee goo fan’ which means ‘asshole rice’ – I know, we’re a terrible witty family) – and we’d be horrendously disappointed by them but for some reason every Sunday, without fail, we were back again. I loathed Sundays, hated having to trudge all the way out to Bayswater just to eat sub-par food (usually wearing my Sunday best) and dim sum became like a swear word in my vocabulary.
That is until I was a little older and in Hong Kong with Momma Lee. For some reason we’d travelled out there by ourselves and spent our first few days wandering around her old haunts, eating Shanghainese food and dim sum. It was like I’d never eaten food before: I simply couldn’t get enough of it. I was hungry for Shaghainese xiao long bao (soup-filled dumplings), drank gallons of guk fa cha (Chrysanthemum tea) and ate blocks and blocks of lo bak go (fried turnip cake). When I returned to London all I wanted was dim sum, and though our usual haunt had long since been closed down (thank goodness) just up the road was a fantastic restaurant whose dim sum was authentic and delicious. This was several years ago and I still rarely go anywhere else for dim sum.
So when Ping Pong invited me to a blogger dinner at their Appold Street venue I was, understandably, a little dubious. I have grown up with dim sum, have had bad dim sum and excellent dim sum, have been to Hong Kong almost every year since I was born; this is not new to me, and the idea of modern dim sum, as Ping Pong claims to be, is one I find very hard to get behind. But I’m always open to having my mind changed and I had heard about Ping Pong for a long while, so off I trotted for dinner.