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SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PAGE
SOL VANZI's 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' & LIFESTYLE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

BEST 'DIM SUM' DEAL IN TOWN
[
Manila Hotel’s Mabuhay Palace offers delicious, all-you-can-eat dim sum with add-ons]


Steamed pork and shrimp dumpling with zhen jiang vinegar sauce Back in the 1960s, dim sum was the exclusive domain of Chinese eateries like Ma Mon Luk, Kowloon House, and small eateries in downtown Binondo district. The choices were limited to pork buns and dumplings (siopao and siomai), hakaw (shrimp), and wugok (deep-fried taro puffs), with dan tart (mini egg pie) for dessert. Today, dim sum has become so common they are sold at sidewalk stalls, mall food carts, and school canteens. Several Facebook ads even offer them wholesale at rock bottom prices of almost P2 per piece, making one wonder what cheap and questionable ingredients they are stuffed with. Searching For Real My foodie friends go all the way to Chinatown when hankering for dim sum. Others, frustrated with downtown traffic (and lack of parking space), prefer to dine at Chinese restaurants in hotels. READ MORE....

ALSO: Dim Sum - A Charming Custom Originating in Chinese Teahouses


Who hasn't spent a lazy afternoon in their favorite Chinese restaurant, sipping tea and feasting on the innumerable assortment of delicacies that make up Chinese dim sum? Literally meaning "to touch your heart," dim sum consists of a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes and other goodies. They are similar to hors d'oeuvres, the hot and cold delicacies served at French restaurants.
Dim Sum Origins: Originally a Cantonese custom, dim sum is inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of "yum cha" or drinking tea. Teahouses sprung up to accommodate weary travelers journeying along the famous Silk Road. Rural farmers, exhausted after long hours working in the fields, would also head to the local teahouse for an afternoon of tea and relaxing conversation. 0:11 / 0:16 Still, it took several centuries for the culinary art of dim sum to develop. At one time it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food: a famous 3rd century Imperial physician claimed this would lead to excessive weight gain. As tea's ability to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate became known, tea house proprietors began adding a variety of snacks, and the tradition of dim sum was born. Today, dim sum is served throughout China. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORT HERE:

Best dim sum deal in town
[
Manila Hotel’s Mabuhay Palace offers delicious, all-you-can-eat dim sum with add-ons]

MANILA, AUGUST 17, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi August 13, 2015 - Back in the 1960s, dim sum was the exclusive domain of Chinese eateries like Ma Mon Luk, Kowloon House, and small eateries in downtown Binondo district. The choices were limited to pork buns and dumplings (siopao and siomai), hakaw (shrimp), and wugok (deep-fried taro puffs), with dan tart (mini egg pie) for dessert.

Today, dim sum has become so common they are sold at sidewalk stalls, mall food carts, and school canteens.

Several Facebook ads even offer them wholesale at rock bottom prices of almost P2 per piece, making one wonder what cheap and questionable ingredients they are stuffed with.

(Images by Noel B. Pabalate)


Steamed pork and shrimp dumpling with zhen jiang vinegar sauce


Manila Hotel’s new dim sum chef Hou Zhen Hui


Volcano buns


Buns filled with chocolate and walnuts


Ham sui guk (baked barbecued pork puff)

Searching For Real

My foodie friends go all the way to Chinatown when hankering for dim sum. Others, frustrated with downtown traffic (and lack of parking space), prefer to dine at Chinese restaurants in hotels.

READ MORE...

The real diehards even take weekend dim sum trips to Hong Kong to satisfy their cravings for authentic Chinese buns and steamed dumplings. Having been a Hong Kong resident and food student, I understand my friends’ sentiments when they say they can taste the difference.

Why Eat Dim sum?

Dim sum is fresh. Dim sum is healthy. Dim sum promotes bonding. Dim sum is fun.

One word governs a dim sum meal: sharing. Baskets and small plates of steamed dishes are passed around for everyone at the table to taste. The bigger the group, the wider the variety of food that can be shared.

A dim sum meal is never boring. It is not just a meal, it is an experience.


DIM SUM BUFFET FEAST Lunch time at the Mabuhay Palace has never been this special and oriental! Starting August 1, 2015, patrons can now enjoy “Dim Sum Buffet Feast” for only PhP888.00 NET. Sample on a wide selection of authentic dim sums – from pan-fried radish cakes with X.O. sauce to seafood taro puffs and nori rolls to mushroom buns – freshly prepared by our new dim sum chef.

Dim-Sum-All-You-Can

A rare experience awaits dim sum lovers at the Mabuhay Palace, the premier Chinese restaurant of the Manila Hotel. Launched this month is the special Dim sum Buffet Feast promo, during which diners can order as much as they can consume from a menu that lists dozens of steamed, baked, and roasted dim sums. Also included in the P888-nett-per-person offering is an unmatchable choice of main course, from chicken to prawns, spareribs, beef, and fish fillet.

Best in Town

Classics improved beyond perfection are larger-than-life pork and prawn dumplings that taste fresh out of the steamer. Steamed seafood dumplings sit in a pool of spinach puree, while pork and shrimp dumplings are seasoned with rare zhen jiang vinegar. Delicious and whimsical is the ham sui guk, which is shaped like delicate, wingless chicks. Likewise fanciful are the volcano buns shaped like piglets’ heads, stuffed with custard and salted duck egg yolks.

Healthy and fiber-rich radish cake with XO sauce is enriched with fresh and pickled vegetables. Minced seafood firms up the beautiful and sumptuous nori rolls.

The steamed pork spareribs are creamy tender, with very soft bones and salted black beans that did not overpower the meat’s natural flavor.

At the end of the meal, we gorged on blueberry jelly and red bean (monggo) jelly; the light, airy malai gao cake; and steamed buns with chocolate and walnut filling.

Affordable Luxury

Surrounded by murals carved from precious stones and attended by caring staff, you’ll have an unforgettable, long lunch that will be difficult to match.


Mabuhay Palace at Manila Hotel: What happens when Confucius is in your dining...

Manila Hotel Food and Beverage Team, 02 527 0011 local 1260 or 1261


FROM ABOUT.FOOD

ALSO: Dim Sum - A Charming Custom Originating in Chinese Teahouses


Stuart McCall/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Who hasn't spent a lazy afternoon in their favorite Chinese restaurant, sipping tea and feasting on the innumerable assortment of delicacies that make up Chinese dim sum? Literally meaning "to touch your heart," dim sum consists of a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes and other goodies. They are similar to hors d'oeuvres, the hot and cold delicacies served at French restaurants.

Dim Sum Origins:

Originally a Cantonese custom, dim sum is inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of "yum cha" or drinking tea. Teahouses sprung up to accommodate weary travelers journeying along the famous Silk Road. Rural farmers, exhausted after long hours working in the fields, would also head to the local teahouse for an afternoon of tea and relaxing conversation.

0:11 / 0:16

Still, it took several centuries for the culinary art of dim sum to develop. At one time it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food: a famous 3rd century Imperial physician claimed this would lead to excessive weight gain. As tea's ability to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate became known, tea house proprietors began adding a variety of snacks, and the tradition of dim sum was born.

Today, dim sum is served throughout China.

READ MORE...

In The Taste of China, Ken Hom shares his memories of enjoying regional variations of "small eats": jiaozi in Beijing, pearl balls in Shanghai and spicy huntuns (wontons) in Szechuan province. But, he agrees with others that the best dim sum in China is found in Canton, with its wide assortment of sweet and savory dishes ranging from meatballs to sweet cakes.

Still, it is probably true that the best Cantonese dim sum chefs are found not in China but in Hong Kong, where restaurants begin serving dim sum as early as 6:30 in the morning and continue through mid-afternoon.

In the west, dim sum came about as a natural result of 19th century Chinese immigrants - most of whom were from the Canton region - settling on the East and West coasts.

Some gourmands believe that dim sum inspired the whole idea of "brunch" - combining breakfast and lunch into one large midmorning meal. It is true that the word brunch only came into existence in the late 1800's. (There's also some thought that the Denver sandwich - the quintessential cowboy snack - came about when a Chinese cook tried to adapt Eggs Foo Yung to suit western tastes).

Dim Sum Food:

But, back to dim sum. What types of foods are served at a typical dim sum lunch? Many of the dishes are either steamed or deep-fried. Among the former, you'll find everything from steamed pork spareribs and char siu bao - steamed buns with roast pork - to har gao, those wonderful shrimp dumplings with the translucent skin.

Deep-fried treats include mini spring rolls and Wu Gok, a type of taro turnover. Not to mention whatever other culinary creations the chef may come up with. At one dim sum lunch we were treated to delicious shrimp dumplings wrapped in seaweed and topped with a dollop of salmon caviar.

Finally, there's dessert. Custard tarts are a must; you may also have a choice between mango or almond pudding. All of the above are washed down with copious amounts of green tea.

Ordering Dim Sum:

If you enjoy browsing through a menu, then a restaurant that serves dim sum in the traditional style is not for you. Instead of ordering from a menu, you choose from an assortment of dishes that servers push around on carts.

While it may not be evident in the hustle and bustle of the carts rolling by, there is a certain order to how dim sum is served: lighter, steamed dishes come first, followed by exotic items such as chicken's feet, then deep-fried dishes, and finally dessert. An Asian friend told me that beginning dim sum with heavier deep-fried food is a little like serving rice for dinner as the first course.

Today, most restaurants have dispensed with the cart system. Instead, when you are first seated the waitress will hand you a menu and you use a pencil to mark off which items you want and the number of orders. The food is still served at the table in steamer baskets to keep it warm. Restaurants that continue to use the traditional cart system, including a major restaurant chain in Hong Kong, have made this a selling point.

Dim Sum For Two?:

If you're looking to have a romantic lunch, then a dim sum restaurant probably isn't the best choice. First off, the atmosphere is hardly conducive to romance, what with the clattering of trays, people calling out their orders, and large groups of people talking at each table.

Besides, the best way to enjoy dim sum is with a group; otherwise you'll fill up on a few items and miss the opportunity to sample everything. On the other hand, you can always take home the leftovers! For the novice, the noisy atmosphere in a dim sum restaurant can take a bit of getting used to. But it's a great way to sample a variety of intriguing tastes and flavors.

Somehow the typical Sunday brunch - with its standard fare of eggs, sausage, bacon and other dishes – can’t match the culinary appeal of Chinese dim sum.



Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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