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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
THE SHANG PALACE
My wife and I returned from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok for "staging purposes" for our long flight home to the U.S. and we chose to spend twelve hours back at the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok so we could rest up for the late night flight.
We couldn't sleep and when we became hungry around mid-afternoon, we looked over the hotel's list of restaurants and found that they had a Chinese restaurant that served dim-sum. We both agreed that it sounded like a good idea so we gave it a shot.
Dim-sum in the usual sense amounts to a Chinese buffet on rolling carts. You normally just relax at your table sipping hot green tea as a dozen or more carts roll by your table. The server pauses briefly as you look over what they're offering. Usually items are served on small plates. Say, maybe, four fried shrimp. Or perhaps three or four steamed dumplings. Barbecued ribs are usually on the list along with dozens and dozens of other tempting treats.
The Shang Palace added a new twist to their dim-sum. Instead of rolling carts, they brought each item out separately from the kitchen and it worked nicely because it was piping hot as it reached the table.
The menu offered an ala carte dim-sum or the whole enchilada. We decided to go for the whole spread and it was more than we could eat. We literally had to call them off! But the food was nothing short of outstanding.
Among the items we absolutely loved were steamed shrimp dumplings, egg rolls, shrimp fried in sesame seed wonton wrappers, shrimp fried in regular wanton skins, barbecued pork, sticky buns with barbecue pork, shark's fin soup and many, many other selections.
All told, as I recall, the dim-sum menu promised 41 different items and you could eat as much as you wanted! As I said, we had to put the brakes on at probably 28 or 30 items.
As we waited for the check, my wife looked at me and said: "Wow, I think that was the best Chinese food I've ever had." I'd be hard pressed to disagree with her and we've been around the block when it comes to Chinese food. We frequented Chinatown when we lived in San Francisco and have sampled Chinese food in Hong Kong (prior to the take-over by China) and in China.
For an elegant restaurant, this meal was dirt cheap and absolutely dee-lish! Even if you're not staying at the Shangri-La, I'd highly recommend a visit to this restaurant. The Shangri-La is located at 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu., New Road, Bangkok. I suspect you'll need a reservation for the Shang Palace. (We were there around 2pm and there were only a few other diners there.) The hotel's phone number is (66) 236-8579.
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