A few Sundays ago, a group of Mexico City friends gathered at Jing Teng, a fairly recent addition to the capital's handful of Chinese restaurants that truly "valen la pena"--are worth the trouble. The restaurant specializes in serving dim sum every single day of the week from 10AM till 1PM. We had been before, but this time was really special both for the congeniality of our group and for the selection and quality of the dim sum.
Char siu bao, delicious steamed dumplings stuffed with sweet barbecued pork.
Unlike service in most dim sum restaurants, where women push steam carts through cavernous dining rooms and each diner chooses what he/she wants, at Jing Teng you go up to the steam table and pick your dim sum, still in its bamboo steamer, from the stacks. The Jing Teng space is far too small for carts! Photo courtesy Straight.com.
One small section of the steam table at Jing Teng, stacked high with bamboo steamers filled with goodies. Some of the steamers hold two, three, or four pieces of dim sum, while others hold plates filled with steamed meats or vegetables. Different dishes--vegetables, soups, rice dishes, and jook (soupy, savory rice)--are available from the menu; your wait person will bring those to you.
Chinese tamales, ready to be steamed.
Steamed sticky rice, filled with pork, chicken, and seasoning and wrapped--like a Mexican tamal--in a leaf. In this case, it's a dried and then reconstituted lotus leaf.
Dried lotus leaves. The lotus leaf is very large, approximately 18 inches at its widest; once reconstituted, cut it to the size you need for your sticky rice tamal, then tie it up with string and steam it. Photo courtesy Google images.
Steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables. The dim sum offerings are made with a variety of wrappings. Our waiter told me that on weekends, the restaurant prepares 20 steamers of each of many kinds of dim sum--and sells out. During the week, four steamers of each variety are sold.
Fried dumplings, stuffed with Chinese chives, ginger, and another ingredient I could not identify. These were so wonderful--the filling was wrapped and fried in crisp, slightly flaky pastry--that the eight of us gobbled down several apiece.
I broke one of the chive dumplings in half to show you the filling.
Beautifully coiled plain steamed buns.
These are sheng juan bao. They came out of the kitchen just as we were leaving, so we didn't get to try them--none of us was able to eat another thing! They're made with a flour-based dough that's typically filled with a mixture of minced pork, scallions, dried mushrooms, and fresh water chestnuts. The dumplings are steamed first and then pan fried on both sides. Next time.
Beautiful and delicate har gow (shrimp dumplings). The dumpling dough is made from wheat starch, then stuffed with shrimp and steamed. The dumplings are translucent so the peachy-pink color of the cooked shrimp shows through.
Bao (steamed buns) filled with egg custard. Enlarge the photo to get a closer look at the yellow dot that marks each of these--to clue the diner about the filling.
Foreground, steamed pork. Rear, bao with a filling of sweet bean paste.
Our friend Antony ate two large plates of chicken feet, all by himself. He said they're one of his favorite foods and he hadn't had any for quite a while.
Our waitress, the only staff person in the restaurant who spoke Spanish, told us these bao were made with raspberries. The raspberry filling was the consistency of a thick gruel. The buns were sweet, but minimally flavored with the fruit.
Toward the end of our meal, I sneaked a peek into the kitchen. This yellow dough, rolled out with a dowel almost faster than I could track, would become the crust for custard tarts.
Our chef, in his unusually open jacket.
Three cooks were on duty in the kitchen. I asked if they would please write down their names so I could tell you. Yes, they did, and giggled all the while. Can someone tell me what they wrote?
Our bill. Eight of us ate until we simply couldn't eat anything else. The 680 peso charge is equivalent to approximately $52.00 USD--about $7.00 apiece, counting our generous tip.
Sur 65-A 3256 corner Calle Santa Anita
Colonia Viaducto La Piedad
México, Distrito Federal
Dim Sum hours: 10:00AM - 1:00PM daily
Looking for a tailored-to-your-interests specialized tour in Mexico? Click here: Tours.