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What’s worse than being hungry? Being hungry AND indecisive. My father wanted to go out to eat yet he couldn’t narrow down what he wanted. He says he’s not picky but he doesn’t like the food I like. At any rate, I told my dad we can go wherever. He ends up parking at this Pho restaurant and decides he wants noodles. Pho from Virginia Beach? Ugh… I’m not trying to say I’m a food snob but Vietnamese food in Virginia Beach is pretty lame. In Orlando, there’s a street full of Vietnamese restaurants that are way better than any of the ones in Hampton Roads.
“How about Chinese food?” I asked my father. He willingly decides to go along with it. We end up going to Grace’s Cantonese restaurant for dim sum. Or so I thought. We got to the restaurant and it wasn’t Grace’s anymore. Judy’s Sichuan Cuisine? When did this happen!? And then my dad became reluctant and suggested we go back to the Pho place.
NOOO… I am not going back there! I’m hungry, it’s rainy! “Let’s just go inside!” I finally convinced my dad to go inside and we had a seat. The interior hadn’t changed much. We went for lunch during the week and there were only 2 other customers inside. I could tell my dad was already thinking this was going to be a bad experience.
I was impressed by the amount of items in the menu. A lot of authentic dishes and they even had xiaolongbao, otherwise known as soup dumplings. Soup dumplings in Hampton Roads! Well, we perused over the menu and finally made our decision. Beef chow fun and the fish with black bean sauce.
I loved the beef chow fun is a noodle dish. Thick flat white noodles, tossed in a flavorful sauce with onions and delicious beef. My dad commented on the good quality of the beef used here.
I ordered the fish dish as a lunch special so I got a hot and sour soup along with it. The hot and sour soup was good, nothing magnificently amazing but just good. I was surprised by the fish with black bean sauce. Usually anything with black bean sauce is very obvious since it’s fermented soybeans. This dish has a little bit of black beans but very well balanced as far as the flavors go.
As far as service goes, it was fair. For dining experience wise, the food was great, service was okay and the ambiance was “meh”. I was impressed with the quality of food here and will definitely return.
I like dim sum a lot. Scratch that. I absolutely love dim sum. If you haven’t ever had dim sum, then you’re missing out on some amazing stuff. First off, what is dim sum? Imagine if you will, Chinese food but tapas style. Most items are steamed or fried and you don’t eat it with rice. Dim sum literally means touching the heart. My family and I would have dim sum and drink tea (yum cha) on Sundays. The dim sum lady would push her cart and I anxiously looked to see what items would be in the steamed baskets. I’ve had periods of time where the areas I lived in didn’t have any dim sum at all. I was one sad girl. Luckily, in Orlando we do have a few restaurants serve dim sum even during the week.
Whenever I have family and/or friends in town, I take them to Golden Lotus. It really isn’t much to look at on the outside since it’s in a shopping center between John Young Parkway and Sand Lake Road. The interior isn’t much to look at either. There’s a large fish tank facing you right when you walk in. To the right, you’ll usually see one of the servers. The dining area is medium sized and it gets packed on the weekends. The placemats are the disposable one with zodiac animals on them. A bit tacky but it’s still nostaglic for me.
Whenever I get dim sum, I order chrysanthemum tea. It’s light, floral and quite good for you. It does not contain any tea leaves and it’s literally dried flowers. Upon request, they’ll give you rock sugar. They have varieties of teas available as well. When you tell the server you’re going to order dim sum, they’ll give you a menu for you to select items. It’s à la carte style, similar to selecting sushi and if you have no clue what you’re ordering then they also pictures. They don’t have a dim sum cart at this restaurant, which I’m fine with because I know what I want. As far as pricing goes, it’s relatively inexpensive and good quality as compared to some other establishments in Orlando.
The food is brought out when it’s done rather than all at once. Although sometimes everything seems to just come out all at once. One of my favorite dim sum items is the shrimp rice paste. As a warning, for those who do not have good chopsticks skills, they will certainly have difficulty eating this. It’s like steamed sheets of a “dough” that have various fillings in the middle (in this case, shrimp), which is then folded and served with a sweet soy sauce. It will be slippery. Next up was the fried taro dumpling, it does look strange. Some fried brown hairy mass. I assure you, it’s delicious. Inside it has taro and ground meat. Taro is a root vegetable used in a lot of cuisines and the light purple hue is natural. I always enjoy this with a little soy sauce and Chinese hot oil.
The rest of items come out. From the left to the right we have har gow, stuffed bean curd skin, chicken feet. Har gow is shrimp dumplings, warm and succulent, you can never go wrong with these. The stuff bean curd skin sounds odd but it also it filled with yummy goodness. Inside the bean curd skin, there is meat and vegetables steamed in a light brown sauce. Perfect with my hot oil which is roasted red chili pepper flakes. Last but not least, there is the chicken feet. I’m actually picky about my chicken feet. It’s not that I eat them all the time but when I do, they better be good! If it isn’t done right, it just tasty…fatty. The chicken feet is here good, tasty and silky texture. I know it sounds pretty gross still, but this is a great place to try them.
Dim sum is served from 11 am to 4 pm and Golden Lotus has a regular menu with lunch specials as well. I’ve never had any complaints coming here and I definitely recommend people to come here and experience a different side of Chinese food.