A Little Hawaiian Vocabulary - We're here on the Big Island again (visiting Kona), and it struck me that knowing a few Hawaiian words can come in handy while visiting the islands. Aloha ...
Saturday, May 1, 2010
This morning we pulled the curtains tight and slept in late - finally rolling out of bed as midday was approaching. Since our hotel is on Nob Hill, Chinatown is just a few blocks away, making a really great dim sum brunch a no-brainer.
Again we used Dan's phone (we left the laptop at home) and this time it helped us successfully locate a spot nearby with a good rating and positive reviews: Dol Ho. I have to admit that the name, so close to Don Ho, had something to do with the selection, too.
Just off the main drag (Stockton), the restaurant was bustling with activity at the front door - where people were ordering and paying for food to go. Inside, formica tables were nearly all full - except a two-top that a friendly older couple waved us over to. Being obvious fish out of water, they helped us feel comfortable and made sure we were set up with tea and brought some food - pork shumai and shrimp ha gao (which our 'hosts' helped me pronounce). Both were steamed and really delicious.
Western concepts of appropriateness weren't the order of the day, as the line between customers and staff blurred. I regularly saw people wandering in and out of the kitchen to get more tea or grab some food. And the banter between staff and customers ensured there was never a quiet moment.
Soon enough, the more familiar dim sum experience unfolded - rolling carts stacked high with little metal steamers holding mystery contents. Again, I set aside my paradigms when I realized customers were welcome to open up the steamers to check what was inside - and peeked in a few. We picked two more steamed items: one with veggies and peanuts, and another with pork. Then I decided I couldn't miss the chance to try chicken feet (after my good experience with pigs feet recently).
Thankfully, I knew that spitting the bones out was customary (not rude), so was able to dig in and enjoy them - though I think I swallowed at least one of the little knuckle bones. Dan wasn't as into them as I was, given the challenge of eating them, but I liked the sweet sauce and the flavor of the meat and skin.
After that we were both stuffed - just as a cart of deep fried items that looked amazing rolled out. I guess next time I need to learn to pace myself, so I can try a wider variety of things - or just go to dim sum more often. Hopefully, we can find a comparable spot in Seattle to Dol Ho, where we'll be welcomed as warmly.