Singulars were heading into mostly uncharted territory with our excursion on November 15 to the Mei Long Village restaurant in the Chinese enclave of San Gabriel. But an exotic adventure with an expert guide like David Ming Li Lowe, architect and gourmand, was bound to be a delicious, unusual and memorable experience. And it did not disappoint!
We rendezvoused at David’s eclectic, personally designed home. Then, armed with good spirits and fierce appetites, we carpooled to San Gabriel. Seated at a gigantic round table with the familiar center lazy Susan, we filled cups with green tea. Quickly, succulent, steaming dumplings arrived. David coached us in grabbing the wiggly morsels. As he said, it is bad luck to drop one – unless it is into your mouth! Luck was with our group (maybe it was the fear) and no bad omens landed in laps. Dipped into ginger soy, with a hint of vinegar, they were heavenly.
Plump sautéed shrimp in garlic followed the dumplings. There was a short discussion about democratic division of the shrimp. But with characteristic Singular benevolence, everyone got a fair share. The piece de resistance, pork shoulder roast arrived accompanied by oohs and aaahs. This pork literally melted off the bones and was surprisingly delicate and non-greasy with its accompaniment of baby bok choy. The dishes kept coming – silky, sautéed tofu, whole steamed fish with scallions and ginger, lightly pan-tossed spinach and plenty of sticky rice to help it go down.
One dish’s arrival, Lion’s Head, caused nervous twitters around the table until David assured us that this was actually pretty innocuous – no wild felines involved – just harmless ground beef and veggies, presented in a giant meatball “head” shape.
Conversation, tea and laughter flowed. David entertained the group with stories of his world travels, including getting mud massages from virgins in Morocco and cruising vintage stores in Paris where one can find Armani suits for a steal.
Dessert came – sticky rice and warm sweet red bean filling – amid laughter and lively conversation that didn’t want to end. Singular Companions of the Chinese Table will certainly return for more great company and another adventure with Chinese gourmet cuisine.
Join the Companions of the Chinese Table at SingularCity.com groups and participate in our next delicious excursion!