Ping Pong Dim Sum

I’ve been very curious about Ping Pong Dim Sum since it was first announced that the UK chain would open a branch in D.C., and last week I finally had the chance to check it out. I’d glanced through a few reviews, and of course there were the naysayers who poopoo’d the place for being inauthentic and expensive. But you know, I could care less if a restaurant is a chain or not, so long as the food is fab and the prices decent. The menu did seem to reflect a higher price point than most dim sum places, but I think location and overhead has to be calculated into the price, in addition to the food. Sometimes what you’re looking for isn’t just great food, but the whole package that includes coolness factor and atmosphere!

In all, I was quite impressed by Ping Pong, and I found the price very reasonable! In fact, it was much cheaper than Yank Sing (in San Francisco, which I posted about before), and comparatively, we got a lot more food…plus drinks.

I think the only negative point was the fact that they don’t allow you to take advantage of any of the happy hour prices if you’re dining in…you have to stay in the bar area. This is rather odd, since most restaurants allow you to buy a drink at the bar before your dinner reservation, and then take it with you to your table when you’re seated.

Since we’re on the subject of drinks, I’ll start there:

I decided to go non-alcoholic, and chose the mango juice with goji berries and peppermint leaves. I prefer mango juice that’s thicker in consistency…this one was rather watery. Wasn’t bad, though. (But I’ll probably get something else next time).

Pineapple Ginger Mai
Tuaca, Van Gogh Caramel, Domaine de Canton
ginger liqueur, pineapple, lime and black pepper

Just got a sip of my friend’s drink, but I liked this one a lot! ♥ We were a little confused as to whether the dark things in the drink were bits of pineapple eyes or peppercorns.. I love the idea of putting black pepper in a cocktail, though!

Wasabi and Amaretto sour
Amaretto di Saronno, lime, Angostura, sugar
and wasabi paste topped with wasabi almonds

I didn’t taste this one, but from what I understand, it wasn’t as good as SEI’s Liquid Wasabi cocktail.

On to the food, then!

They don’t do cart style dim sum here, so we were given a list of the items to check off. Dishes were brought out as they were cooked, so everything came out in staggered courses, one after the other. It was pretty overwhelming to keep up with! Fortunately, I had come prepared, complete with pen and paper. I rapidly jotted down the names of the dishes as they came out, snapping as many pictures as possible and trying to keep everything in order.

Pork puff
Honey roasted pork and caramelized onions
in hand made puff pastry

The first thing to come out were these pork puffs. (*____*) Flaky, fun, fabulous! Loved it! It was sweet and tender and utterly gorgeous. One of my favorites of the night.

Char sui bun
Honey barbecued pork in a fluffy white bun

Mmm…more sweet pork. I have to say though, I don’t think I’m a huge fan of the “fluffy” white buns. They’re a bit too puffy and bland.

Lemon chicken
Tender chicken breast fllet with chilli, honey and
lemon, served on lettuce

This was from their signature dish menu, and it came highly recommended from some sources. I liked it! It was nice and lemonly, and helped cut the heat from some of the spicier dishes.

Chicken and black pepper spring roll
Honey roasted chicken sprinkled with black pepper
wrapped in wheat four pastry, served with spicy mango sauce

Another favorite! o(^___^)o This one and the duck roll (pictured at the top) were both stellar – spicy and fried to a perfect crisp.

Satay squid
Steamed chopped squid in satay sauce,
seasoned with ginger and spring onion

One of my friends declared this one his favorite dish! I think that was well deserved, as it was quite an impressive dish. Great texture, and bangin’ flavor.

Spicy chicken dumpling
Chicken and vegetables in chilli sauce
in translucent white pastry

They aren’t kidding…this was damn spicy!! I think it could’ve used a little less heat, if only so I could taste it better. However, I still loved this dish. XD

Spicy pork dumpling
pork and spicy sautéed vegetables

I didn’t taste this one, but it got rave reviews from everyone else. Must try next time.

Spicy basil dumpling
basil & chilli with rice noodles in wheat
four pastry with a vinegar dipping sauce.

I didn’t taste this one either, but it was universally panned by everyone =U One of the rare off dishes of the night. It was rather bland, from what I understand.

Spinach & mushroom dumpling
Spinach and mushrooms seasoned with
ginger and garlic in wheat four pastry

The same deal with this one…not very flavorful. I should add here that we did have two other veggie dishes that I didn’t photograph – the choy sum and bok choy (both steamed) – and they were both quite unremarkable. We agreed that these were dishes we could prepare ourselves in our own kitchens. It seems like they’re just not very creative with their vegetarian dishes.

Pork shu mai
pork and king prawns in an open pastry
topped with a Chinese wolfberry

Now that I’m looking at this one, I don’t think I had it. I would remember eating that “wolfberry”! Which, by the way, is the same as a goji berry.

Traditional sticky rice parcel
rice with chicken, pork and king prawns
wrapped in a lotus leaf

All the other dishes came in portions of 3, but the “rice parcels” were just two portions. I love a great sticky rice, and I also love “activity” food, so this was right up my alley, lol.

And here’s what it looked like on the inside. Delicious!

Scallop and shitake dumpling
Scallops and king prawns with shitake
mushrooms in wheat four pastry

Did I try this one…? I don’t recall. (>__>) By the time this came out, I was pretty stuffed.

Har gau
King prawns and bamboo shoots in
translucent white pastry

This came out mislabeled, but it was definitely the har gau. (^__^) I wish I had this earlier in the meal, so I could appreciate the succulence of the prawn to full advantage!

By the way, aside from the steamed veggies, there was one more dish I didn’t get to photograph: the “pork ribs roasted with ping pong’s special spices, glazed with honey.” (*_____*) OOOooh my god. I suppose the fact that it was scarfed down without remembering to photograph is testament to how SCANDALOUS it was. The meat was sweet and savory and so tender it just fell right off the bone. My eyes went like (O______O) when I had a bite, it was that good.

Valrhona chocolate bun
2 buns flled with dark rich Valrhona chocolate
purée in a fluffy white bun

Dessert was kind of a set back. The chocolate was hot and gooey and lovely, but unfortunately, I don’t think it paired well with the steamed bun. The texture was just too weird.

Phew! This post was epic!

In conclusion: great restaurant, happenin’ atmosphere, excellent food! I’m so excited they’ve set up shop so close to everything. Next time, I’d love to take advantage of their happy hour specials, which really are a great deal.

Though surprisingly, this dinner wasn’t that expensive at all, and I was amazed at how much we ended up paying per person, considering the volume of food that we managed to scarf down. Can’t wait to go back again!

Looks delicious, thanks for sharing Ms.Lindsey

Wow! *_______* I’m deeply impressed, and everything looks tasty!

Thanks for sharing!

Ooh, yum! I may have to take Boyfriend Dearest there once he returns from overseas. That looks mightily tasty!


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