I suppose it will become a tradition for me, KC and DS to go to NYC once/year just to chill out and eat food. Last time, we hung out after AP exams in May.
We got to Chinatown at 10:30 am, but nothing much was open until over 11 am. Actually, some bakeries were, so we browsed them (because I was looking for strawberry egg tarts for my sister. We actually got to a store that sold green tea, papaya, almond, Portuguese, and normal egg tarts, but did NOT sell strawberry ones! Upsetting!). There were also other bubble tea places, but DS wanted to go to TenRen. This time, I got the coconut bubble tea since I think I prefer the milk-based teas over the water-based ones. This makes sense, of course, because the fat in the milk is highly loved by taste buds. Actually, is "fat" a taste? Is it a flavour like sweet or umami? If not, then why is fat-free milk so much less palatable than whole-fat milk? There perhaps are some sort of receptors that respond to fat content in foods. The coconut bubble tea was actually just sweet milk bubble tea [I think they used sweetened condensed milk at some point) with dried shredded coconut in it. I wish they had used coconut milk or coconut water, since the coconut flavour wasn't too defined. Also, all the tapioca was glued together into a great clump, so I ended up chugging 17 or so tapioca balls at once. Overall though, the bubble tea was awesome.
For lunch, we went to Shanghai Asian Manor, which was interesting because the shop side had a giant depiction of a bun in a bamboo steamer. Evidently, it's disproportional; honestly, do you expect a bun the size of a bamboo steamer? The silliness, for some reason, made me want to go to the store. Actually, any restaurants that have food sculptures on the store front beckon me in.
A meal in Chinatown is pretty well priced and pretty amazing too. We got 24 steamed buns, which was a lot, actually. The ones above are some grilled pig-mince buns (pork buns). Since DS and KC couldn't finish the last three, they ate the animal parts and I ate the bun parts. The grilled part was pretty amazing, and I wish that the whole bun was crispy and grilled instead of just the bottom of the bun.
These are the crab and pig-mince xiao long bao with the soup that leaks out when you bite into it. Apparently, the crab taste is really not prominent, and the soup was too watery and unauthentic. I can't vouch for that since I didn't actually eat any, but I remember this time I was in Wuhan MANY years ago, and my relatives and I ate a zillion mini xiao long bao, and it was DELICIOUSLY ADDICTIVE.
For some reason, the vegetable buns were wrapped in dumpling wrappers. I do not consider these buns. Sure, they're steamed, but where are the yeast-and-white-flour-and-salt-and-oil infusions [aka, the dough for the steamed BUNS!?]!
These were delicious, and filled with vegetables that complemented each other, and the dumplings [oh, I'm calling them dumplings now because they don't taste like buns!] went really well with the soy sauce mixed with with Chinese celery and sesame oil. They were also really pretty. They remind me of triskelions [that compose clathrin-coated pits].
For dinner, we were going to go to Red Lobster but KC and DS were being really considerate because they realised that I don't eat animals. I suppose I would've liked to go to Red Lobster, just to check it out, but Olive Garde was fine too [yes, Olive Garde. The neon light for "n" in "Garden" was broken]. Since it's NYC Times Square, the prices were really jacked up. Also, since it's NYC, the Calories of each dish was posted, which made me feel terrible and super conscious of myself. We had a nice view, though.
I was debating whether I wanted eggplant parm or mushroom ravioli, but I actually didn't really want either... I wasn't really hungry, to say the truth. It's been 4 hours since then, and I'm still not hungry. Emotionally, perhaps, but physically not. So, at Olive Garde(n), I got a chocolate mousse with cookie crumbs, because I don't think that my local Olive Garden has chocolate mousse.
The mousse was really good, but that's a really generic statement because chocolate mousse is always really good. The cookie crumb base was basically crushed Oreos. I should try to make mousse myself one day. Once, in HK, I made peach mousse and it was only alright. After we kept it in the freezer for weeks, my mum started using chunks of it as ice (not in drinks or food or anything, but as ice, to keep non-foodstuffs cold). Another time, I was trying to make chocolate pie and I overbeat the cream, and it turned out sort of like mousse, but much more airy and ugly.