Dim Sum: Xian Zhu Neu Rou (Meat Balls)

Noble Court – Bellevue, WA – 6/6/2011

Name: Xian Zhu Neu Rou
Primary Ingredient(s): Beef
Type of Dish: Meat
Method of Preparation: Steamed

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so it is time.

From a beginner’s perspective, it’s always good to find a dish that seems familiar. This dish fits squarely into that category. Let’s face it – meatballs are about as familiar one can get in Dim Sum.

From an expert’s perspective, meat balls, because of their ubiquity, can provide insight into how good (or not good) the kitchen can be. If a place screws up something as simple as meatball, how can you count on them to provide any level of quality to dim sum dishes that require a more delicate touch? Yes, it may be difficult to make a bad meatball. It’s difficult, but certainly not impossible.

Meatballs aren’t often the first choice when I head into a dim sum restaurant, as I wish to explore the unknown (to me) rather than a food that can be found in nearly every culture on the planet. However, there are times when it is worth it, especially when looking to taste other aspects of what a restaurant has to offer. It is when I get a meatball that I tend to turn to the condiments on the table to provide some level of excitement to the dish, and I’ve chili oil (or chili paste) and meatballs make a tremendous pairing. Granted, most restaurants tend to use a store bought brand of condiments, but there are times when a place will make their own. These are the places that should hold a special place in your soul.

..and, as always, my chinese is little more than a guess. Feel free to correct.


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