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steamed sweet dumplings at Royal China Club

Happy Chinese New Year, all! Yesterday heralded the Year of the Golden Pig. And you know that the Golden Pig shows its snout only once every 60 years, so this is no ordinary Chinese New Year. Among other things, it’s a good year to bust out with a kid because then he/she will have an easy, prosperous life.

Jon and I went to a friend’s house on Saturday night to celebrate new year’s eve. We were the only two people who showed up wearing red. It’s always nice to show up in matching outfits for reasons not apparent to other party guests. It makes you seem extra cool.

Yesterday, we ate a million courses of dim sum and New Year’s specials (longevity noodles, anyone?) at Royal China Club on Baker Street. We’ve been before to the “regular” Royal China next door, and I’ve always found the dim sum there overpriced, but the Royal China Club was a lot snazzier in decor, more gracious in service and slightly more creative in food. Based on the £35 per person price tag for dim sum, I assume the RC Club’s competition is something like Yauatcha, though the coolness factor is not high at the RC Club.

Highlights of our new year’s lunch yesterday included a roast suckling pig so beautifully crisped and sliced that it was hard to distinguish it from a peking-style duck. The tea also gets a shout out. Whatever we were drinking was refreshing and fragrant – jasmine with a pinch of peach. I was also pleasantly surprised by the sweets, which normally I dislike at Chinese restaurants. There was moi gee (chewy rice-flour cookies) magically filled with vanilla ice cream, and a bamboo steamer of fluffy, white steamed dumplings filled with a sweet, eggy custard (see photo at top).

I didn’t order nian gao (New Year’s cake) to go like some of the other lunchers, because I’m a fake Chinese (sorry, Mom and Dad!) and fail to appreciate a pudding made of glutinous rice and steamed with fruits. But I did visit friends the entire afternoon, so I think all in all, Jon and I were pretty diligent celebrants of the new year.
Royal China Club on Urbanspoon

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