poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Christmas in Chinatown, Part I

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Sincere apologies for being the slackest blogger ever. I have no real excuse, except that I was lazy and busy… all the usual suspects. It’s especially shameful that I still have material from Christmas (Christmas!). But enough complaining… on to the post!

I spent Christmas and the days following in New York City and we went into Chinatown for one meal everyday.¬† I think I’ve only really eaten in NYC Chinatown a couple of times, so this was pretty interesting. On Christmas day, I met up with my family after Christmas Mass for dim sum at East Market. It was a no-frills, affordable place with spotty service and dated decor. Some of our food was cold and when we went up to the hot station for daikon cakes, the lady frying them kept yelling, “They’re not ready yet!” when we asked her when they would be ready. Grrr. As you might be able to tell, I was not pleased. But, like I said, it was super affordable and fast. It ended up being less than $10/person, which in NYC is a steal. Sorry, no photos. I was not moved to take any, except of the awful decor, but I decided that I’d rather not.

The evening after Christmas, LO had arranged for a big group dinner at Peking Duck House. I noticed a few interesting things immediately. First, we were the only Chinese people in the two-story restaurant, which is never a good sign of authenticity. Second, the Chinese banquet menu was very different from the English one. Overall, I thought the meal was good but not great. The standard banquet items, such as the lobster with ginger and scallions and the cold appetizer platter, were just so-so. I’ve definitely had better elsewhere. Moreover, the Peking duck was especially disappointing, given that it’s their signature dish. The duck was ok but not great and the pancakes were too thick for my taste. On the other hand, there were some dishes that weren’t your typical banquet food, such as the pulled pork on a bed of greens and the abalone mushrooms on bok choy hearts, that were really great. My sister and I both agreed that those were the standout dishes. Scroll through the gallery for more details and description of each dish. Apologies for the wonky color on a lot of the photos; the lighting in the restaurant was not particularly conducive to my picture-taking.

Oh, I guess it’s worth mentioning that the decor is quite nice and the service is attentive. Let’s be honest — both are usually lacking in the Chinese restaurant experience. My advice/conclusion? Go to another restaurant with more Chinese people. Then, just point to what everyone else is eating and say, “I’ll have some of that!”

Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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