eliza sohn

For the food lover, every day is a new adventure that goes something like this: "I cannot live without Thai green curry right now." "I will die if I do not get Ethiopian food." "I can't bear this hangover without huevos rancheros." "I don't give a shit how fat I am, I'm ordering the corned beef hash." "I am so sick I cannot go on without that miso soup." "If I don't eat a salad I will keel over dead from malnourishment."

Okay, I speak in hyperbole, but you know what I mean. Sometimes you're willing to sit in an hour of traffic for the perfect sushi roll. Or you'll brave the outside world for a bowl of pho, even though you've got the DTs so bad that you'd rather poke your eye out than be in public. Okay, whatever, the hyperbole continues, but what I mean is that for food folk, there really is a meal for every mood.

The dim sum mood is something like, "I'm starving, but I want to eat a giant pile of something warm and healthy, then go home and take a nap." Dim sum feels like an indulgence because it comes at you so quickly in so many different forms, but it's food you don't have to feel guilty about eating. At Wong Kee—a spectacular new dim sum restaurant in Old Town—you'll be savoring a healthy rice dumpling filled with shrimp, crisp corn and peas, and cilantro just moments after you take your seat. Or try the savory pork wrapped in bean curd, or a rice dumpling filled with saucy beef. Each delight that comes to you off the wandering dim sum cart is an exciting combination of pork, beef, and/or shrimp, and an array of tasty vegetables. For example, the Chinese sushi is a mix of shrimp and pork made into a sausage, rolled in seaweed and deep fried. Or try a delightful little package of pork, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms wrapped in bean curd, or Chinese broccoli and shrimp stuffed in a rice dumpling.

My favorite items at Wong Kee are those made with shrimp, because the seafood is steamed perfectly and it's incredibly fresh (note the tank of live shrimp and eel in the back of the restaurant). The vegetables are likewise impressively crisp and flavorful— I can't eat here without ordering a plate of sautéed Chinese broccoli to go along with my variety of mysterious dumplings. Another indulgence I can't pass up at Wong Kee is the pork bun, a sweet breakfast-like bun stuffed with barbecued pork. Not so healthy, but they're delicious, and a dim sum staple.

If you find yourself thirsty after work, stop by Wong Kee's tidy lounge from 3-8 pm daily and enjoy free appetizers while you slurp down a cold Tsingtao. Although, a beer and a few bites of food here and there really won't do Wong Kee justice, so you'll need to find an afternoon off to spend time poring over their culinary delights. Bring a friend and devote an hour to sampling delicacies both familiar and mysterious—the roving dim sum cart has something for every craving, whether you're feeling righteous and healthy and interested in broccoli, or craving the grease-bathed fruits of the deep fryer. (The Tsingtao is probably still a good bet either way... dim sum and beer go together like pizza and beer. Or burritos and beer. Or pie and beer. Or... you get the idea.) Then after you're perfectly stuffed, I suggest heading home to hit the hay.