Memphis Dim Sum
Today I had dim sum at Asian Palace, http://www.asianpalacememphis.com/ and was very pleasantly surprised.
Until about a month ago, when I moved to Clarksdale, MS, I was living in Los Angeles. The greater Los Angeles area is the city with the largest Chinese population in the world outside of a native Chinese country. The competition among dim sum restaurants there is ferocious, and so, the quality of the dim sum is extremely high - as good as in many of the places I've eaten in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.
I did not enter Asian Palace with high hopes. I left knowing that I will be back frequently and am looking forward to trying it for dinner as well.
The har gow was as good as any I've ever had - the shrimp snapping fresh, the wrapper thin but resilient.
A mixed seafood steamed dumpling (gau) was also excellent for the same reasons.
The siu mai was good, if just slightly missing the excellent mark due to not enough spicing (ginger in particular) in the pork mixture.
The cha siu soh (bbq pork baked pastry) was okay. The bbq pork was good but the pastry should have been flakier. Maybe there wasn't enough lard in the dough.
The eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste and served with a black bean sauce would have, I think, been very good if it was hot. Stupidly I ordered the last one on a cart that had been making the rounds for a while, so it wasn't hot enough.
The big surprise for me was that they had gau choy gau (garlic chive and shrimp, panfried buns? - they look a little like small hockey pucks.) Not only was it excellent - and it is quite possibly my very favorite dim sum item - but they are hard to find even in Los Angeles.
Another surprise, when I asked for boh lei cha (a Yunnan red tea rather than the Jasmine that they normally automatically bring) they didn't even bat an eye and brought me some.
My only regret was that I was eating alone, so while I made a valiant effort to sample a variety of dishes, there was only so much I could do.
I can hardly wait to go back and sample more.