It was Maya's last night in Tel Aviv. Not that her departure was cause for celebration, but it was only fitting to send her off in style. With a proper send off planned for later that night, we needed a good meal in a funky atmosphere to set the tone for party to come.
During her 2 years in Taiwan, Maya became addicted to Asian cuisine, so I suggested we check out Dim Sum, a hip yet longstanding Tel Aviv favourite offering a pan Asian tour in their 4 page menu. They are also conveniently located at Allenby and Rothschild, just a hop and a jump (even in heels as Maya will attest) from some of the city's best bars.
We decided to start off by treating ourselves to sushi 'gold', a sushi combo for 2 which comes on the elusive boat. Dim Sum has a special going until Wednesday (Nov 5th) on the combo accompanied by saki or plum wine for only NIS 86! With enough sushi on it to make a meal for three (including spicy tuna maki, salmon and tuna nigiri, a salmon avocado handroll, shrimp tempura foto-maki, and even nigiri style salmon and melted mozzarella sushi called oshi-zoshi, all based on perfectly textured and flavoured sushi rice) Maya and I tried to pace ourselves while waiting for the dim sum to arrive.
Dim sum, literally translated from the Cantonese as 'heart dots' has come to mean 'little eats', and is traditionally eaten by the Chinese as brunch or snack. Maya and I, along with our fellow Dim Sum patrons, decided to throw culinary caution to the wind and eat our respectively steamed and fried dumplings as the second course of our dinner.
We chose shrimp shiu mai (yum), sweet potato shiu mai (likely invented by sweet potato obsessed Israelis, but tasty nonetheless), chicken gyoza (yes, you're right, gyoza is Japanese, but remember we were throwing caution to the wind), and the goose roll, which resembled mini dumbbells with their bulbous peanuty coating on either end of the shredded goose filled nori. Each of the dim sum orders came in threes, but Maya and I maintained our composure and politely offered the remaining third to the one who liked it best.
Last but not least, we thought it prudent to end with a starter for auspicious purposes which seemed to make sense on all that plum wine. We decided to try the new house special – Shrimps Royale! The shrimps were sautéed in butter and wine with chunks of fresh tomato and decorated with a touch of teriyaki. It was not only a wise selection because it was so tasty, but we certainly could not have found room for one of Dim Sum's delectable sounding mains.
Dessert, however, is another story. Something of a tapioca freak (it's all about that flavourless texture), I was quick to order the mini tapioca balls (or 'ptitay tapioca' in Hebrew after that strange local side dish of the same shape), while Maya opted for the chestnut cream. And good thing she did, because while I enjoyed the tapioca's bite, the creamy smoothness of the chestnut cream was unrivaled.
Not wanting to head out into the night on such a full stomach, Maya and I lingered at the bar sipping shots of Van Gogh espresso vodka – not particularly Asian, but just what we needed to wash down the food and compose ourselves for the night to come.
120 Allenby St., Tel Aviv