Monday, February 28, 2011

It's all about the food

So we all love a good food post right? Then surely throwing in some gummy sweets and bloggers can only mean we're onto a winner. So moving on from the knitted pigs in the last post to yet more kitshy pig themed goodies in the shape of Percy Pigs from M&S.
Percy Pigs
These are my youngest sister's first ever non-supervised baking efforts. Not too bad for her first ever project in the kitchen!
Becky's Gingerbread men
Yesterday, I popped down to London as the lovely Lujain was visiting which meant that the Save Our Shoes girls were reunited! Lujain has spent the past year in New York and is now living back in Kuwait (she's such a jet-setter!) and it was awesome and so much fun to finally meet her. We stopped off at Ping Pong Dim Sum (a contemporary take on dim sum) where a few of us gathered for some lunch.
Bloggers lunch
L-R Katie, Moi, LJ, Reena, Lucy, Fi and Sarah
Before we get onto the dim sum, I copied Reena and ordered the flowering hand-tied Jasmine tea. (£2.39) I'm so glad I did because it's so pretty! The tea was a lot weaker than I'm used to but I guess the Jasmine bloom is meant to be pretty rather than fragrant.
Jasmine tea at Ping Pong
Flowering Jasmine Tea at Ping Pong
So the food? I'm no Hollow Legs but I'll give reviewing a quick go in this post! I'm quite biased towards traditional dim sum as I've eaten it weekly since I can remember but fusion food isn't always that bad. Wagamama and Yo! Sushi are places I visit on occasion even though they don't compare to the real deal.

I ordered the Ping Pong collection (£9.99) which you tick off a sheet, much you like would get at traditional Chinese restaurants. This included a starter, a main dim sum collection and a dessert. This in itself is unusual as with dim sum traditionally, there is no set meal like this. My starter featured a spring roll, prawn ball, mini sesame prawn toast and a char siu pastry which were a nice start to the meal. Tasty but quite obviously show where the restaurant's targeted demographics lie especially with the lack of 'locals' in the restaurant.
Ping Pong Collection
So the dim sum itself? I have to say that the dim sum was the most colourful I'd ever seen it, with purple and green dumplings galore, something I'd only ever previously seen from photos of dim sum from Hong Kong Disney land's Dim Sum and not exactly what you would call traditional. I really liked the idea of the dim sum collection with lots of bits for you to try and which was all served in one large bamboo steamer. They looked pretty cute and fun presented like that. The majority of the dumplings were prawn based and the glutinous rice parcel wrapped in the lotus leaf (a sort of variation of Lo mai gai) was filled with vegetables.

The dessert was the most surprising of all. Usually steamed buns made in this style are filled with pork but imagine my surprise when I was handed a spoon! Inside was filled with dark chocolate. I think this is an extreme example of Fusion food! I know I have a few Chinese readers so this will no doubt make you laugh (like my dad when I told him) or scratch your head in confusion. It's a bit like asking for a Balti if you were in South Asia. It simply doesn't exist and concieved just for the western palette.
Ping Pong Dessert
Overall, I'd say the food was tasty and a really lovely restaurant to hang out with friends but when you're used to authentic Cantonese dim sum like me, it falls a little short. However, it doesn't claim to be authentic and as the chocolate bun shows, it's the epitome of fusion food. I do think that it's a great place to try dim sum for the first time and then go and sample the real thing which is cheaper too. Although that in itself would be a whole different kind of dining experience. Chinese dim sum restaurants are noisier and more crowded than the calm surroundings at Ping Pong, so I suppose it depends what you want to get out of it.

Review over! So after leaving with very full stomachs, we walked around Brick Lane where we bumped into Jazz randomly and it was amazing to meet her finally! She is of course, the lovely illustrator behind the drawings in my header! After a mooch around the Sunday Upmarket where I witnessed Lujain buy a gorgeous tulle dress, we headed to Leon where we sipped on lemonade, had a good old chat before we all dashed off home!
Blogger break
Until the next time ladies!
Right, less food and more outfits in the next post!

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