I was recently invited to attend a Chinatown Food Crawl by Yelper extraordinaire Lou C. in Bellaire. About 15 people showed up to taste the street food style tapas available at the Metropole Center Night Market. Our first stop was Jing 5 where we munched on spicy duck wings and necks while waiting for everyone to arrive. Our host had nametags and info sheets for all guests. Lou gave us a bit of history on the cuisine and some background info on the owners. The duck wings and necks are first boiled and then placed in a spicy brine. I found very interesting that the dishes were served cold.
The second stop was 75 Yummy Kitchen. The owners were waiting for us to arrive and as soon as we sat down a variety of intriguing dishes began arriving at the table. Dishes were served family style and our table had a huge lazy Susan in the center making it easy for the large group to access all the food. We had an assortment of spicy dishes thanks to the chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns as well as some non-spicy dishes to cool the palate. Sichuan peppercorns produce an introducing numbing effect (mala) - ma meaning numbing and la meaning hot.
The dishes at Yummy Kitchen seemed never ending. Over ten entrees were brought to the table including won ton, dumplings, Dan Dan Noodles, spicy chicken, kung pao, tofu skins, and sliced beef and ox tongue. The two stand out dishes for me were the Malatang and the Sichuan Grilled Fish. The Malatang was a spicy hot soup that is made to order. You fill your bowl with items from the buffet and deliver it to your server with a pack of noodles. In a few minutes your hot bowl of soup is brought to the table. The Grilled Fish was placed in the center of the table in a bubbling tray of chili garlic sauce. It was delicious! The Iced Mung Bean Jelly was the perfect beverage for cooling off after all the spicy dishes.
The next stop was Olympic Bakery. Normally not open this late in the evening, the owner stayed open just for us. We were welcomed with the aroma of sweet pastries and samples of wife cake, crispy wontons, and jerky. Moon Cakes were available in several flavors.
The final stop of the evening was Star Snow Ice. Smoothies, Snow Ice, hot tofu soup, and warm jelly were among the many items on the menu. I choose mango snow ice with fresh fruit. It was the perfect ending to a fun and informative event.
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I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.