As some of you may know, this past weekend marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, a few friends and I sought out Chinese food that we would normally be unable to find in the city. We settled on taking an Uber to Chopstix Gourmet, a dim sum restaurant in Rosedale.
Dim sum has held a special place in my heart ever since I was a kid. Every week, after swim practice on Saturdays, my family would drive down to Seattle’s International District. There, we would gorge on what seemed like a never-ending cascade of different steamed and fried dishes.
With each mouthful, I found something new and exciting that I couldn’t find in any other setting, like the pillows of sweet and salty barbeque pork buns or the spicy and gelatinous braised chicken feet. Getting dim sum remains my favorite family tradition to this day, and my highest priority when going home is to always request another outing to a dim sum restaurant.
So, needless to say, when we all agreed to get dim sum for the Lunar New Year, I was very excited. Dim sum is hard to find in Baltimore, and I have found myself deprived of one of my favorite things to eat every time I come back to Hopkins.
After a 15-minute drive, we were dropped off outside a building that looked like nothing more than a warehouse, if not for the giant letters that spelled out Chopstix Gourmet.
Upon walking inside, however, I found that this restaurant was more than just a restaurant. I found myself surrounded by fountains and ornate decorations to celebrate the New Year throughout long hallways. As we stood in line to be seated in the dining room, there was a small stand that sold different savory and sweet buns to-go for patrons who wanted a treat for the road.
There was even a door that supposedly led to a now-defunct aquarium. This unassuming building was actually a veritable emporium of different shops and activities besides just sitting and eating. It was definitely an interesting surprise for me, and it took me a few minutes to stop staring around the place before following the rest of the group to our seats.
At long last, it was time to eat! As the carts carrying several stacks of assorted dim sum dishes circled the spacious room, my friends and I quickly grabbed all the food we could get our hands on: deliciously tender steamed pork spare ribs with pumpkin, soft rice noodles wrapped around fried Chinese donuts and drenched in soy sauce and incredibly juicy shrimp dumplings. Wow, what a meal.
Our dessert was the so-called pineapple buns. Despite what the name implies, no pineapple was in these treats. Rather, they were custard-filled buns with a sweet, checkered topping. The the browned topping is said to look like the skin of a pineapple, hence the name. I have a gargantuan sweet tooth, so these were my favorite part of the meal — a perfect combination of sugar and dough. My halcyon memory of these desserts still haunts my dreams.
All in all, the meal satisfied my cravings for good dim sum. It was a fun adventure with good friends, and I’m glad that we got to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Rat together. It was definitely a worthwhile experience, and not too terribly expensive when split between five people — We spent around $12 per person.
Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for something that you wouldn’t normally get within the few blocks that surround Homewood Campus!