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Maxim’s City Hall

We were unintentionally the first people in this not-so-hallowed, but popular dim sum hall. I'm never up, out and anywhere before noon, but our body clocks were out of whack since it was our first morning after twenty hours of traveling. I was thinking that dim sum was an earlier affair, more breakfast than lunch. I swear NYC dim summers are early birds. We got to the doors just as they were opening at 11am, but I didnt get this at first and tried to barge in, not realizing the red panels were shut for a reason and that the eight-to-ten other folks lingering in the foyer werent just loitering for fun.

It was a parade of treats, just the way I like it. Later dim sum at Xin was too austere and Victoria Seafood was pristine, but lacking the visual allure of picking and pointing. Ive heard that the cart style, which were accustomed to, is a dying breed, but its thriving at City Hall. I couldnt even tell you what we ate, as it was our first meal and faded from memory, and also because we tried so many tidbits that its a blur.

I know there were mini sesame topped pork buns, chee chong fun, taro dumplings a.k.a. woo gok, little stubby, yellow open-topped dumplings filled with pork and possibly orange roe (these were everywhere, but new to me). Also popular but new were super light and crispy shrimp-filled cylinders that werent quite egg rolls, yet were battered and fried and served with mayonnaise. Odd.

I know we had twice that amount of food, and werent ashamed of our gluttony until we noticed other tables were daintily picking at perhaps two to three dishes. Well, the tourists at least, who mightve been timid about ordering or possibly truly dainty eaters.

Despite being unfashionably early, it was a wise move since the vast room was almost to capacity by the time we left. The meal went smoothly (more smoothly than our finding the restaurant–its upstairs and in the middle of a municipal complex). NYC dim sum can be more frustrating, have longer waits, shared tables (I'm surprised we got one to ourselves here) and language barriers (we once waited an eternity in Brooklyn for our number to be called before realizing they were doing it in Chinese. Duh). Hong Kong is a breeze by comparison.

Maxim's City Hall * 7 Edinburgh Pl., Hong Kong

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  1. Chris #

    Yellow open-topped dumplings filled with pork, shrimp and topped with orange roe is called Siu Mai, it’s as popular as the shrimp & bamboo shoot dumpling a.k.a. Hah Gao.
    If you don’t like the mayo in the fried crispy shrimp roll, maybe stick with fried spring roll would be a safer choice.
    Sometimes if it’s very crowded at some local noodle house/restaurants, you’d be asked to share a table, which I wouldn’t prefer. I guess you went early for dim sum so they gave a table to yourselves. The cart style dim sum house are dying, probably 1/2 the dim sum place has it now.

    December 11, 2008
  2. Chris #

    Pantyhose milk tea got its name because the filter that holds the tea leaves looks like pantyhoses. Each shop has its own blend of tea leaves which makes it unique. Hot brewed tea is poured into a thick rimmed cup with a fair amount of condensed milk in it. A good cup of Hong Kong style milk tea should give you a smooth feeling between your tongue and mouth after you drink it. You should try another drink in Hong Kong’s cha chan tang, it’s called “yuen yern” a.k.a. yin yang in English, it’s simply a mix of Hong Kong style milk tea and Hong Kong style coffee, it’s quite interesting and it’s my favourite drink at the cha chan tang! I hope this answers your question on how “pantyhose” filters make smoother tea.

    December 11, 2008
  3. Chris: Dim sum is much nicer in HK than NYC. Here, it’s always crowded and you have to share tables. New Yorkers are used to the cart style but I do like being able to order from a menu and everything is hot and fresh.

    Too bad I missed the yuen yern. Maybe I can find someplace here that makes it.

    December 12, 2008
  4. Chris #

    Dim sum in HK are more yummy and has way more variety. Ordering from a cart or menu, it’s a different experience, depending on your preference.

    December 15, 2008

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