One food tradition that we were bound and determined to take in here in southern China was dim sum. It was our last full meal and we had to do a LOT of walking to find a restaurant that was reasonably priced, but once we located it, we knew we were in for a treat. Even at one in the afternoon the enormous dining room was full – I think it sat no fewer than 200 people. We had to wait for a while until a table became available – I felt bad taking up a table for eight for just the two of us, but those were the only kind of tables they had. As soon as we walked it, I commented that it smelled like a Chinese restaurant back home – that smell of egg rolls and sweet and sour sauce and deep-fried goodies and fried veggies that every Chinese buffet gives off. It made sense, as most Chinese restaurant fare in North America has a Cantonese base, and that’s what we were about to sample. We sat down and puzzled our way through the menu with some help from the friendly staff. It was almost like a buffet – you could order whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted – we ended up ordering a few dishes, not sure of their size, then ordering a few more after finding out we were still hungry after the first few.
We started with the ‘some of this and some of that approach’ – deep fried spring rolls (back left), steamed minced beef with bean curd (meatball-like things with ginger on top in front), and spare ribs with black bean sauce (in the back). They all came with their own attendant sauces. The deep fried spring rolls were exactly what we had expected, with a little bit of a vinegary sauce for dipping. Very well made and very tasty. The steamed minced beef turned out to look like meat balls, though it was definitely steamed – the texture attested to that. It was like someone had steamed hamburger meat, then carefully mashed it together. The bean curd was simply a form of tofu that tasted like the meat’s juices. I wish that people back home could accept that tofu goes with meat quite nicely – there is no requirement for it to be an alternative to meat. The spare ribs were also quite nice, with the black bean sauce making them absolutely succulent (we’re both fans of black bean usage here in Asia).
After discovering that we could stand to sample a couple of other dishes, we ordered deep fried cuttlefish, shredded chicken burgers (just to see what they were), and deep fried cream ball. The deep fried cuttlefish was quite good, the cuttlefish being quite fresh and well prepared. It disappeared rather quickly, assisted by its accompanying sauce.
The shredded chicken burgers turned out to be a kind of dumpling – made with rice flour, they were long and thin. I’m not really sure why they were translated as burgers instead of dumplings or something else, but they were OK. Nothing too special, I think next time we’ll just order another round of spring rolls instead. My personal favourite was the cream balls – really, deep fried cream/dough (?) that becomes all gooey when cooked. The whole ball is covered in sesame seeds. These were our dessert and they were a stupendous way to end the meal. Sweet, chewy, fully of delicious creamy flavour, I loved each bite and cried a little when they were done. A thoroughly-enjoyed meal and a great way to finish our time in Macau.