I love dim sum. If I could have it every weekend I would. As it is, we go at least twice a month. We try out and explore various dim sum restaurants around the San Francisco Bay Area, as we are so lucky to have options.
Our go-to place is still Yank Sing near the Embarcadero in the city. It is top for quality, selection and service and we absolutely love it. However there are still a few others we frequent.
In early December my husband and I had taken my dad and grandmother to Hong Kong East Ocean in Emeryville because it is right on the water and has a gorgeous view of San Francisco and the bay. It is good but not great. We go from time to time for a change.
Yesterday, I had just come home from my weekend in the city and didn’t feel like driving back in to eat at Yank Sing. So we decided to go to Hong Kong East Ocean. It was a clear day and the view would be beautiful.
We had a lovely lunch, didn’t order too much so I decided to have dessert. My normal dessert is sesame balls, but they are not low fat and I can’t eat just one, in any case I had something else in mind. From time to time my husband and I will order silken tofu in ginger or almond syrup. It is served warm, seems light (although I am pretty sure it isn’t) and tastes yummy.
At this particular restaurant you order by marking a menu rather than the carts coming around, as is the style of most dim sum restaurants. So we couldn’t find exactly the description of silken tofu, but they did have “hashmar soup with almond.” We had ordered it before, the last time being on our visit with my dad and grandmother. We knew we liked it so that’s what we marked.
When the server came by and saw what we ordered, he asked, “are you sure you want that?’ I said yes, “why?” He tried to politely say that white people didn’t usually order that, etc, but he was having a hard time getting it out. I asked if it was a dessert, if it had almond milk or syrup and if it was served warm. He said yes. Then he started talking about frogs. I said it was okay, that I knew what it was and that we liked it. And then he gave us a look to make sure one more time and went off to place the order.
I then I started thinking. Frogs? What the heck is he talking about? We have had that before many times, there’s no frogs! He must have the word mixed up with another English word.
The dessert came and it looked like what we had ordered in December. But it did look slightly different from the “standard” silken tofu. I tasted it. It was warm and almond-y and tasted good, but I couldn’t get the idea of frogs out of my head. The more I thought about it, the more I was curious.
I love the age of Wikipedia.
The minute I got home I brushed my teeth and then grabbed my laptop. Now if you read this paragraph from Wikipedia by itself, you would think, a little odd, but ok:
“The dried hasma is rehydrated and double-boiled with rock sugar to create a glutinous texture and opaque color. Dried or rehydrated hasma has a slight fishy smell. In its unflavoured form it is sweet and slightly savory in taste with a texture that is glutinous, chewy, and light, very similar to that of tapioca in a dessert.”
But you can’t actually get to the paragraph without reading the first one, and that’s the killer:
“Hasma (Harsmar, Hashima) is a Chinese dessert ingredient made from the dried fallopian tubes of true frogs, typically the Asiatic Grass Frog…”
Okay. So I am adventurous and I will try and eat a lot of things, but sometimes I don’t really need to know the full details of what I am eating.
Like one dinner I had in China where I was served dog. I spent nine weeks in China for work in 1998 and had many, many wonderful meals and was a willing participant to many adventurous meals as well. I guess that was why my Chinese friends didn’t think anything of me having dog. It looked like beef. It was sauteed with a nice brown sauce and was very tasty. But it was dog.
I was told this after the meal. I told my friends that while I appreciated the meal, I had a dog at home and wanted to be able to look him in the eye when I arrived home, so please no more dog.
And I kind of feel the same way about frog fallopian tubes. Not my thing. Very, very tasty, trust me it is good. But now that I know what it is…not so keen on ordering it anymore! Although the server did say that women ate it because it was good for the skin.
I guess I am going to glow today!
P.S. Sorry Dad for making you try it as well last December 😉