dumplings

Tai Wu (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Great Dim Sum That Doesn't Require Reservations

THE STORY

You may be wondering “‘Doesn’t require reservations?’ What dim sum place does?”

The one I tried to go to before going to Tai Wu. That restaurant.

It was my birthday. I had been planning to get dim sum on my birthday for weeks. Generally, the way it works is that you get up and out the door by 10 a.m. on a Saturday in order to beat the rush. First come, first serve.

Tai Wu Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Holland asian food travel craving

There have been multiple occasions when I end up hangry by the time I arrive at the dim sum restaurant, only to wait another 30 minutes for a table. It’s just an accepted reality of dim sum: you eat nothing so that you can wait for an unknown amount of time to then stuff your face with dumplings. Regardless of where you are, these rules hold true.

Or so I thought.

We arrived at the dim sum restaurant, and they asked if we had a reservation. At first, I thought “Is he speaking to me in Dutch? Because I don’t think I understood his question.” But he then repeated himself and yes, he was confirming whether I made a reservation.

Tai Wu Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands dumplings haam sui gau wu gok asian craving travel

After telling him we did not have a reservation, he said that he could not seat us. In my hangry state, I muttered something snide and proceeded to leave.

I had previously marked Tai Wu as another restaurant to try, and so we went, hoping they would let us sit without a reservation. To our delight, they sat us immediately.

Tai Wu has a few dozen tables for various-sized parties, but most are large enough to fit a lazy Susan in the center. And while no one was carting around trolleys of dumplings (which is no longer commonplace in dim sum restaurants), there a luxurious chandelier hanging from the high ceiling.

By this point, I was ravenous.

(The Ramen Marauder claims I was creeping on another table’s food in this picture)

(The Ramen Marauder claims I was creeping on another table’s food in this picture)

When restaurants still pushed dumpling carts around the tables, it was easier to pace myself. I had to wait patiently for the dumplings I wanted. Now, however, I can order all of them at once, which usually leads to a combination of shameful overeating and a waste of food.

Maybe this article will serve as a reminder to my future self not to order so much. But probably not.

Tai Wu Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands chicken feet lo baak gou asian craving travel

THE REVIEW

When ordering dim sum from a menu, usually the options are limited. Not at Tai Wu! They had everything I wanted: siu mai, har gao, chicken feet, fried taro, those glutinous rice balls filled with ground meat, baos, turnip cakes…it was a joy.

If you wake up craving dim sum on a Saturday morning, bring your appetite to Tai Wu.


Tai Wu, Mauritsweg 24-26, 3012 JR Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 (0)10 433 0818

An Easy Won Ton Soup Recipe That Will Fill Your Belly

THE STORY

Let's be honest with each other - no one really reads the story that goes with recipe blog posts. That being said, I do feel obligated to say something about why I made this.

After engorging myself with dim sum a couple weeks ago, I was still craving a taste of home. And when I say a taste of home, I mean a taste of something that makes me feel like me.

Hainan Chicken and Rice Gai lan Chinese Broccoli recipe Cantonese food

My parents never made won ton soup at home - we almost always went out for Chinese food, rather than making it at home. To be fair, my mom didn't make Chinese food, and my dad didn't start making dinner on a regular basis until I was in middle school.

But even then, we had so many delicious Chinese restaurants in town, so why cook at home? And when I say Chinese restaurants, I'm not talking about Panda Express or a buffet that also serves french fries or a greasy spot that is almost strictly for to-go orders.

Easy Homemade Won Ton Soup simple recipe dumplings chicken soup Asian comfort food

I'm talking about restaurants with chandeliers and lazy Susans. I'm talking about restaurants that offer you one menu in English (with no pictures) and one in Chinese, assuming that non-Chinese speakers won't want certain dishes. I'm talking about restaurants that only serve dim sum on the weekends, don't accept reservations during that time, and serve you a variety of dishes from rolling carts directly to your table.

Maybe I'm just riding the hype of the recent release of Crazy Rich Asians (which I haven't seen yet), but I wanted a simple dish that helped me reset all the fervent chaos inside my head. So I made won tons and cooked them in the chicken broth left over from making Hainan chicken.

Easy Homemade Won Ton Soup recipe pork dumpling filling Chinese cooking

THE RECIPE

for the won tons:
500g ground pork
250g shrimp, cooked and minced
4-5 green onions
2/3 cup whole water chestnuts, minced*
1 tbsp shaoxing wine*
1 tbsp soy sauce*
1/2 tsp ground white pepper*
1 pack frozen won ton wrappers (thaw in fridge)

for the broth:
1 whole chicken (if you buy frozen, be sure to thaw it completely)
3-4 green onions
2-3 2-inch pieces of ginger, sliced in thirds*

parchment or foil
ziploc bag or container

*I didn't really measure these ingredients. These are my approximations.

1. Line at least one (if not two) baking sheet with parchment or foil that will fit in your freezer.

2. Combine all the won ton ingredients in a large bowl. Scoop a healthy teaspoon of filling onto center of a won ton square, then fold however you see fit (Woks of Life has some great suggestions).

3. When baking sheet is full, place it in freezer and start lining the other baking sheet with more won tons. If you don't have another baking sheet, leave the won tons until they won't stick to each other when you put them in the ziploc bag or container to store in the freezer.

4. Once you finish making the won tons, put the ginger and green onions into a large pot of water and bring to a boil. (I add enough water that looks like it'll cover the whole chicken.) When boiling, gently add the chicken butt-side down, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Then turn the burner off and let sit for another 15 minutes.

5. Remove chicken to cutting board and tent with foil. Bring the pot of water with green onions and ginger up to a gentle boil for another 2 hours. I usually keep the lid cracked on top.

At this point, you can scoop some broth out to cook rice, or make a dipping sauce with a squeeze of lime juice, a teaspoon of sugar, and a healthy shake of fish sauce.

6. Scoop broth into a smaller pot for cooking the won tons. Bring broth to a boil, then add as many frozen won tons as you like. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve as you like.

Noo.Me (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Your Go-To Asian Restaurant For All Noodle Soups

THE STORY

As I've mentioned before, The Ramen Marauder and I have relocated to Rotterdam. When we tell family and friends, it's not unusual that A) someone assumes I meant Amsterdam; or B) someone asks "How far is that from Amsterdam?" Even when I've booked Airbnbs or flights, the emails I received titled "What to do in Rotterdam" are filled with things to do in Amsterdam.

And by all means, keep visiting Amsterdam.

Someone said to me that, when they visited Rotterdam, they got out of the train station and felt like they were staring at a concrete wall. It seems to me they forgot to turn around.

Kralingse Plas Rotterdam Netherlands Sailing Boats Park Spring

As I get to know Rotterdam, I feel like this city has been preparing for my arrival all my life. There are Asian restaurants, bars, cute cats, green spaces, markets, board game shops, and still more to discover. Everywhere I turn I see diversity, and nearly everyone I speak with is happy to talk to someone new. (Or they're politely tolerating me.)

Daniel at Noo.Me explained to me that the Dutch in Rotterdam are eager to learn more about Asian culture and cuisine. His crowd-funded restaurant offers dishes from multiple southeast Asian countries, but what makes his place truly unique is that he does the dishes justice. When Asian restaurants offer dishes from multiple countries, they almost seem to lose credibility by combining all these cuisines under one umbrella.

Noo.Me Rotterdam Netherlands Holland Laksa Pho Bao Dumplings Asian Food Malaysian Vietnamese

Not Noo.Me. Daniel clearly cares about what he offers on the menu because he wants customers to have a positive, authentic experience, and ultimately hopes they will want to learn more about Asian cuisine. He also approaches it all with good humor - if you check out their menu, you'll understand.

This may be just the honeymoon phase of our new move, but I have a feeling I will continue loving this city.

Noo.Me Rotterdam Netherlands Menu Noodle Soup Malaysian Laksa Seafood Asian Food

THE REVIEW

The Ramen Marauder ordered Vietnamese pho, I had the Malaysian laksa, and we shared an order of Chinese fried dumplings and a cha siu bao. I almost wish I had ordered a larger size because it seemed like all the goodness couldn't fit in a small! Or maybe I just wanted a little more broth, which was a bit spicier than I expected (but pleasant). The pho, which we both enjoyed when we ordered to go another time, was also delicious. Afterwards we both enjoyed a Vietnamese coffee, which came with a mini stroopwafel.

This is a great place to try a variety of good food from different Asian cultures - bring your friends!


Noo.Me, Botersloot 18A, 3011 HG Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 10 737 1865

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