Crispy Milk in Chinatown

Don’t know about you, but it seems the more we visit a restaurant, any restaurant, the more often we end up ordering the same dishes. This happens a lot when we go for dim sum in Chinatown. Our perennial favorite: Taro Puff, or deep fried taro dumpling (wu kok or o kok). It’s this amazing, little, frazzled-looking potato-esque croquette is on my daughter’s top ten. Maybe top five, she’s sometimes picky and still a kid after all. She likes to take her chopsticks and gives the puff “a hair cut” (her words). “Mom, I like shaving off the crispy.” Then she proceeds to inhale the dumpling and looks for more, sometimes taking her brother’s share.

Fukien fried rice is also very delicious especially on a chilly day. Gravy and rice is such comfort food; there’s a hint of seafood, and a smoky flavor, too. My husband and I just can’t seem to figure out where the char is coming from. We’ll order the popular dishes: siu mai (pork and mushroom dumplings), har gao (shrimp dumplings), steamed buns with barbeque pork and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf. I’m so happy my kids eat so well when we go.

It’s not a bad thing ordering what you know, but I think we end up missing out on very good or new dishes. On one of our recent trips, we decided to try a dessert that has been tempting us for a while. Written on an 8-1/2″ x 11″ poster hanging on the wall are Chinese characters and the words “Crispy Milk”. How does milk get crispy? Can you really deep fry any thing? Apparently, you can.

I couldn’t imagine what it might have tasted like, but it was warm, lightly sweet, and delicious. It reminded me of a dessert my late Aunt Tess used to make deep frying dough balls made with rice flour and brown sugar, but crispy milk was far more delicate and tender. Just enough texture with a bit of chewiness, and I mean that in a good way. I’d order it again.

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