Plum Valley, Chinatown

Another weekday, another restaurant in Chinatown…

I wonder where, exactly, my love of Chinese food comes from. When I was younger, we lived in Singapore for two years, but apart from some fried rice, I can’t remember eating anything especially exciting. Then, when we moved to Tokyo, my mother and  I would have Saturday lunches together at a Chinese restaurant near my ballet studio, and there, I would have… you guessed it, fried rice. So I’m not sure where this love of all else Chinese came from.

The Chinese noodle soup must have come from our numerous ramen meals in Tokyo, again on Saturday afternoons, when my brother and I would walk to the local town center and spend our weekly allowances on toys and beauty products. Later, at home, our mother made her own version of this noodle soup, adding egg noodles to a can of Campbell’s chicken broth… and we always thought it tasted almost as good!

Then, there were the large bowls of noodles… in Tokyo, our maid was Filipina, and every now and then, treated us to some local food like adobo chicken or noodles. My favourite was her bihon noodles, vermicelli noodles sauteed in garlic and soy sauce, and mixed with lots of crispy vegetables and bits of pork. It’s still one of the dishes I think of when I think of comfort food, and the one I constantly try to make and perfect, but it never tastes the same as when she made them!

So maybe it’s just in my blood?

So what did we try here? These were the meat croquettes… fried on the outside and with a mushy, meat taste (but was there really any actual meat inside?) on the inside, these were very comforting and tasty.

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Oh, yeah

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Then, the prawns wrapped in bean curd, bits of prawn on the inside, in a moist, dribbled in juice package of tofu skin. These don’t look great, but I finally tried them when a friend was in town and ordered them, and I have to say that I’m hooked! The plump prawn on the inside of the slippery and soaked beancurd really does it for me!

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Then, the cheung fun, beef variety. Cheung fun is another type of dimsum that I love, probably because you get larger rolls of dough with the filling inside, topped in soy sauce.

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And finally, the pork and crab soup dumplings. These were the most disappointing thing there; with a thicker skin than most xiao long bao and not being able to taste anything like crab, these were mediocre…

IMG_4440But what about Plum Valley over all? It’s slightly nicer than some of the other Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, and most of their dimsum is spot on. I’d definitely come back, but maybe give the xiao long bao a miss the next time around.

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