August 17, 2008

The Meal

So we arrive at Xiao Wang Home Restaurant. (See post below)
The lemon chicken has been recommended, so we make our way through the strongly horizontal, accordian pleated hard-bound menu. We look past the shredded pork kidneys and the sauteed duck heart and find the chicken.

We contemplate the Peking duck, because it is supposed to be quite good, but that is too much food for the two of us -- the lemon chicken and the duck. Perhaps we will have the duck next time.

A waiter comes over with a Blackberry-sized phone. At first I think he's being rude; texting while "pretending" to take our order. But then it becomes clear he is taking our order using the phone/device, and it transmits to the kitchen.

We order the chicken, the black mushrooms with bamboo shoots and the shrimp stuffed sauteed dumplings. They give us wooden chopsticks with metal tops and very small plates. We're not sure about the plates, but I remembered seeing them at the other restaurant I went to.

The food comes out in stages; we're nervous that they've forgotten our dumplings. We also order rice, when we realize it doesn't come with the food. We had been told the lemon chicken was "the best ever." In fact, it was quite good, but too sweet for both my and Paul's taste. That didn't keep us from eating all of it, though.

The mushrooms were plump and wonderful, the brown sauce it came in was very nice. And the dumplings were piping hot.

The dumplings we get for breakfast are never hot. This is a disappointment. But these dumplings are amazing. They are chopped shrimp with some sort of vegetable and clearly a lot of garlic. They come with a vinegar dipping sauce -- my favorite. The dumplings are so beautiful it looks like they are each wrapped in a leaf, instead of dough made to look that way.

We are full when we finish, and we finish everything. The bill was 142 yuan, or $21.32 as my credit card receipt says. That included a beer and sparkling water.

We left the way we were supposed to come in, and passed children playing badminton and some sort of hackey sack-type game involving a weighted shuttlecock. There were children playing in the park and the parking lots and anywhere there was open space. It was nice. And real.

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