|Maxim’s Palace Hong Kong as I’ve never seen it…
I love dim sum, the tapas of China. I will never forget Andrew and my visit to one of the world’s most famous dim sum palaces, the strangely named Maxim’s Palace in Hong Kong. And if you think it’s an odd name for a completely Chinese restaurant, you will likely find it equally surprising that the place takes up the entire second floor of Hong Kong’s City Hall. There, in a vast space that resembles a western-style hotel ballroom complete with chandeliers, legions of Chinese ladies push cart after cart of dim sum through a maze of tables for 12. The place is perennially packed, takes no reservations and requires a level of patience which quickly escalates the longer the wait. We went there on a Sunday at noon. You might have been able to convince me that every family in Hong Kong was there, so massive were the crowds and so long was the wait. But the dim sum were sublime, the best I’d ever tasted. I’ve wondered if I could ever re-create some of the dishes there. So I was delighted to see that David Tanis had taken up the challenge. In his New York Times column, David came up with a recipe for one particular dim sum for which I have a special fondness. It’s the spicy pork-filled dumpling full of garlic, ginger and chiles. And he did so without having to fill endless wanton wrappers to enjoy the flavors of this very satisfying dish.
|Chef David Tanis|
What Chef Tanis did was to take the essence of the meat filling with its savory pork and tons of ginger to which he added silky bok choy. He didn’t make it into a dumpling at all. Instead he added rice noodles to substitute for the wantons. These noodles, often found in Pad Thai, added texture to the dish and, for all those concerned about it, made the recipe gluten free. It’s a very flexible recipe so if you’d care to swap out the ground pork for ground turkey or chicken, be his guest. You could also use kale or Napa cabbage in lieu of the bok choy. I keep a fairly good-sized Asian Pantry as I love to stir-fry. But if yours doesn’t extend to Chinese Black Vinegar, which is sprinkled over the sliced ginger, Chef Tanis says you can either leave it out or substitute balsamic vinegar which, although sweeter, will have a similar caramel notes to play off the ginger. It takes all of 45 minutes to put together, probably not for the busiest night of the week but perfect when you can spare an extra 15 minutes or so. Here is the recipe: