Pearl River Delta’s Dai Pai Dong Pop-up Recap
Pearl River Delta LA recently had a Hong Kong dai pai dong pop-up at Pine and Crane. The street food experience was brought indoors to Silver Lake. Dai pai dong means “big license stall.” Hong Kong gave out these permits to operate street food stalls all over the city but not many are left. It’s estimated there are perhaps 25 such stalls and many have actually set up in permanent spaces as well.
My family is from Hong Kong but I never experienced eating Hong Kong street food. My familiarity of the dishes comes from watching Hong Kong action flicks were people are often running from the cops because they didn’t have a properly licensed stall. I imagined one day I’d try it though and I’m happy I got to check out these dishes before hitting up Hong Kong later this month.
I’m really glad I took a friend because originally I was just going to go by myself and order a couple of dishes. With a friend, I was able to order six dishes. He encouraged me to get it all but I shied away from the whole fish, sashimi and lotus wrapped rice. We did get a couple of almond cookies with jasmine tea cream (not shown).
One of the dishes I ate every week as a kid was clams in black bean sauce. This is because my brother always ordered this dish. I ordered a different dish every week but my brother was faithful to his clams.
PRD’s were a little different as these were steamed and I was used to the stir-fry sort. I did like the more delicate flavors.
We enjoyed the typhoon shelter tofu but thought perhaps a dipping sauce was needed. We did push more fried garlic into the cubes which made some pleasant snacking as we waited for the rest of our food. Later when we got the chili crab, we also dipped our tofu into the provided sauce.
I’m not the biggest bok choy fan since I like other greens more. Still, I liked these with the crab sauce.
You might have guessed I ordered the Jidori chicken wings. I read about the wind and sand technique. Back when oil was scarce, the cooks hung up the chicken which dried out a bit and when actually fried, developed the most crispy skin.
These were great with lots of fried garlic! And so tender and juicy at the same time.
I really resist soft shell crab. I like crab in all forms but there’s something about that not-real-shell that I like so much. The chili sauce wasn’t too spicy which is good because true Cantonese people don’t eat really spicy food.
My favorite dish was the salted duck egg yolk fried wild shrimp. I have seen more of this style of dish lately and been very curious about it. The salted duck egg lends a very savory note to the batter.
I did get a bite of someone else’s sticky rice in lotus leaf. Yay for twitter friendships! If you ever had sticky rice at dim sum restaurants, imagine that but perhaps 4 times the size. This was a dish meant for a party of 6 or more.
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