My wife said the magic words to me Sunday: “Would you like to go to Trader Joe’s tonight? You can pick a place for us to have dinner near there.”
I never need to be asked something like that a second time.
Media is the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. It’s got a nice little downtown with a pretty good selection of restaurants that we’ve been sampling since moving from the city to Delco a decade ago. While that selection includes a couple pretty good cheesesteak shops that I’ve already written about, I wanted something different and also figured I’d give my wife a break.
There are two dim sum-themed Chinese restaurants across the street from Trader Joe’s. I settled on one of them – Dim Sum Mania – for our dinner spot.
Before moving to the suburbs, we lived in Philadelphia’s Chinatown for eight years. During that time, we ate our share of dim sum. But those meals were, for the most part, at old-fashioned restaurants that featured servers wheeling around carts with a variety of small plates for the choosing. Dim Sum mania, along with a number of other similarly-themed restaurants in the Philly region that have popped up over the past decade or so, has a more modern vibe – and decor – and presents its offerings on a menu. It’s not as much fun as the old-school dim sum palaces, but these places still generally do a good job when it comes to preparing the food; and Dim Sum Mania is no exception.
Both Dim Sum Mania and Tom’s Dim Sum, which is two doors west of DSM, have gradually expanded their menus, adding more old-school Cantonese, Szechuan and Hong-Kong style dishes. I guess dim sum-only is a tough sell in the suburbs. In any case, that works well for me. As my regular readers know, I have a deep love for old-school Cantonese and like having the option of ordering a mix of it and dim sum.
At these types of small-plates Chinese restaurants, they bring out the dishes in whatever order that they are ready. As luck would have it, the first two to arrive were my wife’s cold cucumber salad and cold spicy noodles. I tried and enjoyed the latter.
Next up were my pork egg rolls and honey-roasted pork; two longtime favorites. The egg rolls had a remarkably crispy crust and were full of fresh-looking vegetables; although I had a tough time finding any pork in them. The honey-roasted pork was very good, but I was unhappy to see it garnished heavily with cilantro.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the extent to which both my wife and I absolutely hate the taste of cilantro. I may as well throw out that we also can’t stand blue cheese; although I generally feel safe in that regard at Chinese restaurants.
I held off on digging into the roast pork until my shrimp fried rice arrived. At that point, after removing the cilantro, I dumped most of the pork on top of the rice. They go well together.
The one dish we shared was pan-fried pork and chive dumplings. These were absolutely top notch.
One could fill up just by sampling the various dumplings on Dim Sum Mania’s menu. We’ll save that option for next time.
I was also supposed to order a green-beans dish, bug forgot to do so. By the time we realized that, we were getting full and decided to skip it. It’s always the vegetable dish that falls by the waste-side when I’m responsible for ordering!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little between-cheesesteaks interlude. I’ll be back with a report on another of those in the next day or two.