Ping Pong Dim Sum

Location: Chinatown

Price: $$$

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary: An average meal enhanced by a great deal

While we have little experience in dim sum cuisine, we enjoy small plate dinners and classic chinese dishes as much as the next person, After hearing about Ping Pong Dim Sum’s brunch special of all you could eat dim sum (costing $25) and seasonal mimosas of guava, lychee & mango (and additional $15), we had to make the trip and make our money’s worth. While we had heard about Ping Pong’s exquisite happy hour deals and their dependable dim sum service, we had never actually had the chance to eat at Ping Pong. The excuse of unlimited dim sum and bottomless mimosas sold us on the task of making a reservation.

Our first round of orders included the Crispy potato cake, fluffy potato with soy beans pancaked with a crisp coating. Tasting like a chinese twice baked potato, the consistency of pureed potato was more mush than mashed. It wasn’t a bad potato cake, but there are better options on the menu. The spicy basil dumpling is a similar story, filled with basil, chili and rice noodles in a riddled wheat flour pastry with vinegar dipping sauce. Spicy and fresh, the rice noodles were a nice touch to the dumpling, but be prepared for a mouth full of steamed basil.

Next was the cleverly named Chicken puff is a puff pastry filled with tender chicken breast, flavored with soy sauce, spring onion, and topped with pineapple. The sweetness of the pineapple paired nicely with the caramelized onions, the minced chicken soaking up the sweetness and the soy sauce. The Chili pork tenderloins, small pork fillets rubbed with chili marinade, were a tad over chewy, but the flavor was spot on, the charred skin and chili sesame sauce coating brighting up the pork’s savoriness.

The Char sui bun was one of the first in our next marathon of dim sum courses, honey-roasted barbecued pork in a wheat flour bun, was by far one of our favorites of the meal. The thick, but delicate texture of the bun holds within a bundle of sweet and shredded BBQ pork. A simple dish, but still a great choice. Another favorite was the Spicy pork dumpling, minced chilies and pork stuffed and steamed in a translucent pastry. A final dim sum not to miss is the Vietnamese shrimp spring roll, shrimp, rice noodles, vegetables wrapped in a rice paper and served with fish sauce, lettuce, and mint. While the wrapper was not the normal translucent skin, the crackle of the rice paper popped on our tongue without sacrificing the light and crisp taste of the filling.

Our first choice of dessert dim sum was the Crispy banana roll with a sichuan chocolate sauce, grilled banana slices rolled up in a thin, wafer-like wrapper. The accompanying semi-sweet sauce of hazelnut and chocolate paired perfectly with the banana roll, the custard-like sauce mellowing out the extremes of the sweetness while preserving the integrity of the crispy banana roll. We also indulged in the Baked ginger cake, drizzled with caramel and served with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Although both the cake and ice cream are best enjoyed at the same time, both have a heavy-handed favor and weight. Our final dessert choice was the Roasted coconut and pineapple spring roll served with butterscotch sauce. With flavors similar to a pineapple upside down cake, the butterscotch sauce did wonders to brighten the pineapple and make this dish our favorite dessert.

While we certainly got our money’s worth, we have to reflect on whether we would have actually visited Ping Pong Dim Sum under normal circumstances. Although some of the dishes shone out as great choices, most were average or little more than after thoughts. There was nothing that impressed us or showed us something that we didn’t expect. The brunch deal is worth the trip if you’re looking for something new to try on a weekend or need a place to eat with a large group, but we don’t really see ourselves convincing people to go out of their way for Ping Pong Dim Sum for the food alone.

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