I have always enjoyed solitary dining, and, in fact, dim sum was the perfect forum for being alone. I used this chance to get recommendations from the other people who were waiting (read: squished) while waiting. Even better, neighboring dinners actually offered me tastes of their dishes, so I was able to meet some new people and try many new dishes.
I began with a beef noodle soup. It was redolent of star anise and was full of thick noodles. Sitting in the broth was meat that had fat clinging to the edges, making it rich and filling. Even better, though, was the suggestion of a customer that I dip the “Chinese Fried Dough” in there. The dough was actually more like a whispy cruller than the heavy saucers that you can get at a carnival. The sticks absorbed the broth creating a crouton of sorts.
I also dipped the cruller in one of my favorite treats: hot soy milk. This warming dish is simply sweetened fresh soy milk that is a cross between a beverage and a dessert. But it isn’t rich and is something I am coming to crave more and more. The steamed pork buns were very good. The wrappers were chewy, while the pork was moist. What made the dish, though, was a new twist: slivers of ginger that added a sharpness to each meaty bite.
The chive pies (pictured at the top of this post) consisted of little half moons. The pastry was flaky, resembling a more traditional turnover. But inside was a subtle mixture of chives, bean threads, tofu and garlic. They begged for a bit of soy sauce, but overall were tasty.
The most surprising dihs of my meal was listed as “spareribs and chitlins.” I expected to see traditional spareribs and fried chiltins (intestines) What arrived instead was an huge dish of…meat. On top were chunks of ribs, as well as earthy smelling pig intestines. While the chitlins were more of an acquired taste (and smell!), I loved the bed of roasted sweet potatoes that were smothered in garlic and tasted of pork.
I was simply too full to eat any more. But I will be back for two other dishes that people recommended: the “peking noodle” and tofu jelly with peanuts.
While Chung Shin Yuan would never be categorized as a relaxing experience, if your kids don’t mind waiting to enjoy a good meal, it is a great place for children.