jfOur dim sum lunch at Jing Fong last weekend ended up being the victim of its own success. When Lily and I first started casually asking people to hang out on Chinese New Year’s weekend in Chinatown, we did not expect a 26 people turnout. And on a day that was purported to be frigid (but turned out not to be thankfully), we were fully expecting no-shows. But contrary to belief, everyone showed up and more, including Rosie and her beau who drove in from Queens and ended up leaving without eating, no thanks to my third rate organizational skills resulting in the lack of available seating. I am so sorry, jiejie.

Coordinating 20+ people in a popular restaurant that does not take reservations is a logistical nightmare I do not plan to repeat soon, but it resolved itself miraculously with help from Lily’s dad. Thank God for well-connected parents! If not for him, we would have been condemned to a 2 hour long wait instead the 45 mins that we dealt with quite stoically. Once past the ordeal of seating everyone and their significant others, we got to ordering and eating. The waiting sure did wonders to one’s appetite. Some friends new to the dim sum deal were mostly game at letting their Asian counterparts order pretty much everything that caught our eye. TPS even managed to get the people on her table to try red braised chicken feet, which c-ry pronounced tasty, particularly when paired with boiled beef tripe. My table wasn’t quite that adventurous, but I still managed to steer Angel, Dodd & Sara towards slimy looking steamed rice rolls studded with funky mini shrimp, some very good shrimp dumplings with chives in a shimmering translucent skin and deep fried taro balls that were very popular. The one unqualified hit on all three tables were the mini rolls of “ma lai gou”(马拉糕) or the steamed yellow cakes that were fluffy and custardy at once.  

After demystifying the rituals of dim sum, we of course engaged in a game of “guess how dirt cheap your meal was” while eating some tangerines (representing good luck, or 吉利)that I supplied in recognition of my southeast asian chinese roots. Looks of disbelief ensued when my friends realized they’ve just eaten royally in one of the most recognized Chinese restaurant in the city for less than a salad from a midtown deli. This is one Chinatown trip I’ll remember for a while.