One of my favorite song writers is Frank Loesser. He wrote jingles, hit songs, and Broadway musicals in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. One of his 40s hits was Slow Boat to China. "I'd like to get you on a slow boat to China. All by myself, alone."
My favorite version of the song is sung not by Bing Crosby or Bette Midler who also recorded the tune, but by Jimmy Buffet. I hummed the song as Peg and I drove into the parking lot of the old restaurant/bar/conference center known as Copperfield's.
It's now the home of Ming Palace (8736 S Hosmer St, Tacoma, WA 98444). The restaurant is just off I-5 (going North - Exit 128). Coming South on I-5, you would take Exit 129, cross over the 74th Street overpass and head South on Hosmer.
Waiting for us inside was our granddaughter Daron Ann. Daron, who graduated from high school last June had been helping Peg with 2017 invoices and expenses for the last two days. She likes order and enjoyed adding that to Peg's collection of objects d' desk. She earned her money and all three of us went to dinner to end the day's work.
When grandkids are around there is usually good food and lots of laughing and giggling.
The first two days gave her standard American and Thai followed on Friday for lunch with Chinese. Soon to join us was our friend Denny.
The restaurant was only moderately busy, which was surprising in that Sue Kidd had a glowing review of the Ming Palace in the Friday morning News Tribune.
Dim sum is akin to "afternoon tea" of the English as mentioned in Lark Rise to Candleford, ". . . bread and butter, and the crisp little cakes that had been baked in readiness that morning."
The Chinese version, also with tea, offers samples of mostly steamed dumplings all ready to eat. Most Chinese restaurants that offer Dim Sum wheel around little carts from table to table for diners to choose which items they would like to try. You can also order from the menu. After the dinner is over, the waitress brings a bill for what was chosen.
We've had dim sum years ago in Seattle's International District and just two years ago in Kent (where we were introduced to chicken feet, which we made sure everyone sampled), but this was our first time in Tacoma. I know the Jade Palace in University Place used to offer dim sum, but we never tried it.
The advantage for Americans eating at an English or Scottish tea room, is that you can probably recognize what you are being served and understand the waitress or waiter. Not knowing adds to the adventure. We found ourselves trying to communicate with one of the waitresses at the Ming Palace and then just laughed. She wasn't oriental. Must have just been us.
Generally, we were served little metal pans with four similar items in them. Sometimes we liked the food sometimes we didn't. Second time around we'll certainly know what we don't like.
The image above shows choices. Whatever the reddish one was, none of us liked it. It reminded me of a tomato lutfisk gelatin. They other one, however, we had two orders of. It was some kind of meatball with a base wrapping of cabbage. It was exceptional with red chili paste.
Another favorite, with the chili paste was a doughy dumpling with red pork(?) inside. We finished off all of those. Interesting was the sticky rice in lotus leaf. The night before I had watched Top Chef on BRAVO and one of the competing chefs had talked about one of the joys of his childhood was eating sticky rice prepared with his father's left over lunch tea from work. He was from Hawaii. Sticky rice is high on the dining list in Hawaii and the Philippines. Not so much here. I've had it with mango before and enjoyed that. With tea is a little more of an acquired taste. But, perhaps with southern sweet tea a marriage of flavors might work for me.
Speaking of acquired taste . . . I will pass on the tripe next time, also. I've had chitlins, so knew what to expect. Chewy,chewy, chewy. Chitlins are made from intestines and tripe is from the stomach.
I think our favorite dish was the deep fried squid. It wasn't steamed, so I don't understand how it applies in the dim sum mix, but we liked it. Our friend/relative Derek used to cook at Anthony's Home Port at Point Defiance. He cooked squid strips that were tender and wonderful. These at the Ming Palace were very similar. They were breaded pieces about the size of my little finger, deep fried and tender. I think they would be fantastic with a plum sweet and sour sauce. They were very nice with chili paste.
A few years ago we were having a birthday dinner at a local restaurant. Several of our youngest grandchildren were eating the calamari and really enjoying it. I mentioned that they were eating squid and the eating stopped . . . for just a second. They liked the taste no matter what it was called and continued happily eating. That's what I like about food. You never know until you try it.
We didn't like everything, but we certainly enjoyed the food we liked. We will be returning to the Ming Palace to sample directly from the menu. Besides serving dim sum, they are a Chinese seafood restaurant. I know they have prawns, crab, and lobster, so I think I can find plenty more to enjoy there.
Our nephew Stephen Harrington with Team Insurance Inc says, "Ming Palace is yummy! It's also fun with lots of people so you can try a little of each thing." We agree. Good food means sharing.
We have an interest in selecting Chinese food that will appeal to hundreds of people in a banquet setting. The Ming Palace will host the annual meeting of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation on March 11, 2017. A few days later Peggy and I were joined Denny Flannigan, his wife Jayasri, along with Theresa Pan Hosley and her husband Larry Hosley. Larry is a board member of the foundation. We sampled a number of tasty dishes that might provide a good introduction to the Ming Palace.
I really enjoyed the shrimp tofu wrap, fresh greenbeans (beautiful vibrant green and plenty of snap when you bite them), and something I called Rice Chrispy Treats (crispy white rice, fresh veggies and prawns), a dessert tart, and a couple of items we had tried from the dim sum cart. In addition our favorite selection was their Mongolian Beef. The regular chef didn't make it to work that day because of the first snow storm of 2017. I think the difference would have the chef including more beef and less onions. Of course I always like the BBQ pork with hot mustard, ketchup and sesseme seeds.
When we left, we were all full with lots of smiles. At the dinner each table will be served family style for sharing. We're planning a dinner and auction running no more than ninety minutes.
If you have an interest in attending, please, call (253) 330-8828 for more information. The building of the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park located at 1741 N. Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA 98403, which is near where the original Chinese immigrants lived in Tacoma and the work of the foundation resulted in foundation President Theresa Pan-Hosley receiving the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize 2017 Laureate in Oslo, Norway last year,
I don't know if Peg and I will ever visit China, either by slow boat or fast plane, but until that happens we're happy to visit Reconciliation Park and dine here in the Pacific Northwest enjoying Chinese food and Chinese culture and friendship.