Photos by Tina Wong of The Wandering Eater.

Ching-He Huang’s Cooking Channel show Easy Chinese: San Francisco, which airs Saturdays at 1pm ET, is a new 13-episode half hour original series which explores Chinese cuisine with a contemporary, regional spin. Ching’s purpose is to explain how to prepare great Chinese food with local available ingredients while using San Francisco’s Chinese community as a backdrop.

Ching, a passionate food lover and self-taught cook, launched her own food company and is an author of bestselling cookbooks. Her latest book, Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese, was recently published by William Morrow.

I attended Ching’s dim sum feast which was held at the Golden Unicorn Restaurant in Chinatown. The lunch consisted of a five course meal to die for and Ching’s at once informative and entertaining dim sum preparation lecture. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that I had the best lunch that I ever ate in my entire life. I was treated to a seemingly endless amount of various dim sum varieties, spring rolls, lo mein, steamed bok choy, fried rice, turnip cake, wrapped sticky rice—and last but not least TWO desserts.

There was so much food that the six people seated at my table could not finish it and one latecomer still had the opportunity to partake of everything. The steamed shrimp with chive dumplings and the steamed vegetable dumplings were my favorite part of the meal. I think that the amount of dumplings that I consumed is the same number as the national debt dollar amount—i.e. we’re talkin’ billions. I only survived to write this account because I did stop short at trying the bacon wrapped heavily breaded fried shrimp appetizer.

I had a chance to speak with Ching. She is a charming person who explained that her favorite food is both comforting and healthy. During her presentation, she called dim sum “little parcels of deliciousness” which
enable people to experience diverse flavor combinations by using only a handful of ingredients. I learned that the skin is the most important aspect of dumpling making and that it takes six years to become a dumpling and dim sum master chef. Ching proclaimed that “the world is your oyster sauce.” All the guests had a unanimous response to Ching’s culinary world—bring it on and don’t hold the oyster sauce.

Somehow–how I am still not sure–when the event was over I did manage to get up from the table. I vowed that I would never eat again; I left the restaurant with my doggie bag in hand.

– Marleen Barr