On the advice of a friend, I hunted down the family-owned Hang Ah Tea Room on Hang Ah Street in the heart of Chinatown. (Actually, I don’t know if it’s technically in the heart, but venturing down a blind alleyway and past rooms full of people playing Mahjong before descending a flight of stairs certainly lends an air of authenticity to the proceedings.) Luckily I was told to not be put off by the surroundings in advance or I’d have never made it past the front door. Fluorescent lighting, mismatched plates and cutlery, linoleum floor – but listen, if the food is good none of that really matters and I had it on good authority that the food at Hang Ah was first-rate. I ordered a feast of dim sum: steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings in bean curd skin, beef balls, and a sampler plate of egg roll, shu mai, and pot stickers as well. Unfortunately, I can’t really attest to the yumminess quotient at Hang Ah. As I was diving into a fluffy pork bun my dining partner suddenly revealed not only his disgust at the establishment’s lack of hygiene but also his fears about the provenance of the meat. And with that everything suddenly seemed suspect, greasy, and dubiously prepared. I allowed my appetite and sense of adventure to be unceremoniously squashed.
Though I have to say, looking at the photos below is making me hungry all over again.