Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ding How II

Dim sum is certainly one of the most fun ways to eat a meal. There is an element of excitement and participation that is not experienced with most other meals. The carts are rushed around the restaurant and the oddest assortment of dishes are offered for your sampling. Because each dish is so small and cheap, a multitude of dishes can be sampled and shared for a miserly sum. Finally, dim sum is a treat for adventurous eaters.

On Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 2:00, Ding How II offers dim sum. They also offer a "regular" Chinese menu at other times and during the dim sum times. I have eaten off of their regular menu and it is good, but not that different from any other competent Chinese restaurant you may venture into. The jewel of Ding How II is the dim sum.

The space is dark and a little worn and disheveled. However, it is also clean and comfortable.

Among the many dishes we sampled were the following.  First, we tried crispy shrimp dumplings which had an almost airy, fried pastry crust.
Pork dumplings (buns) on the left, and shrimp dumplings on the right
We also had big pork dumplings with a faintly sweet bread exterior which was reminiscent of doughnut dough and a salty pork interior. The pork dumplings excellently exploit that delicious flavor combination of sweet and salty.

Next, we tried vegetables and mushrooms wrapped in a tofu skin wrapper with a black bean sauce. It tasted similar to a soggy eggroll, but in the best possible way. The mushrooms lent an subtle, earthy taste, similar to the taste of shitake mushrooms.

Vegetables and mushrooms in tofu skin wrapper with black bean sauce
One of the weaker items we sampled was a cold pork dumpling.  It was a round, steamed, cold dumpling with pork stuffing. While I would only describe it as mediocre, it was still better than the dumplings found in your grocery store's freezer section.

One of the weirdest items on the menu is the chicken feet. They are served coated with a sweet sauce. While I enjoy chicken feet, they are truly a challenge to eat gracefully. If you are an adventurous eater, I highly recommend trying them. While difficult to eat, the reward is tender meat accompanied by the tasty sweet sauce.
Chicken feet
We also tried curried squid. This was probably the weakest of all of the dishes as the squid was rather tough.

Curried squid
Finally, they serve both a large beef tripe dish and small beef tripe dish. I am a huge fan of tripe. The texture, chewiness, and mild flavor are all pleasing to my palate. The tripe was served in a sauce with sweet black beans.

Overall, I highly recommend Ding How II for dim sum for the delicious dishes, the adventure to be had, and the excitement of sampling among a multitude of choices.

Beware, the crowds, especially on Sundays, can be outrageous. Get there early to beat the crowds and to ensure they don't run out of any dishes.

Ding How II
4800 Whitesburg Dr., Ste. 10
Huntsville, AL 35802

Ding How Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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