Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chinese New Year

I'm super excited.  Sunday is Valentine’s Day. Chinese New Year also happens to fall on February 14th this year, which means only one thing. My Valentine and I will be headed to Chinatown for a feast of Dim Sum.


Dim Sum, which roughly translates to “heart warmers”, consists of small appetizer-size dishes featuring dumplings, meat-filled buns and fried delights, usually served with hot tea. I adore the Dim Sum experience and all that goes with it, from choosing the restaurant to the frustration of waiting for the rolling carts to arrive at your table filled with glorious steaming bamboo baskets, to the delicious sampling of every bite, followed by the soy sauce-induced swelling of my fingers the next day. I am like a kid on Christmas morning when I wake up on Dim Sum day, with visions of steamed shrimp dumplings and sticky rice dancing in my head.

Dim Sum at Three Happiness in Chicago

I always go into Dim Sum with a game plan. Here are my top five dishes:

1. Salt and Pepper Squid – crispy, buttery fried squid in a salt and pepper coating served with jalapenos. This isn’t always available on the Dim Sum carts so you’ll often have to special order it. This dish is my absolute fave.

2. Sticky Rice and Lotus Leaves – warm sticky rice filled with Chinese sausage and veggies, steamed in a lotus leaf.

3. Shrimp Dumpling - a delicious classic.  Succulent, juicy shrimp wrapped in a translucent flour dumpling skin.

4. Siu Mai - pork and mushroom dumpling garnished with roe.

5. Surprise Me – each time we visit we try to sample something new to add to our rotation. 

My wonderful husband isn’t quite as enamored with Dim Sum as I am, so we typically stop at Gold Coast for a Chicago dog for him on the way home. Sounds like a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day and usher in the Year of the Tiger, all in the same day.

How will you spend your February 14th?


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