Dim Sum @ Aki Teri, Cambridge

One of my favourite Cambridge restaurants has just got better! I am a huge fan of Teri Aki and Aki Teri, and I do miss the days when I used to live about 2 minutes away. They’re not cheap but they are reasonable, and the noodles and sushi are consistently good.

Aki Teri is the most recent of the two, a mirror image of Teri Aki and, like most younger siblings, has struggled to find its identity for a while. They tried to do a slightly different menu and had a karaoke room for a while, but I think they ended up short-staffed and closed it down for a few months. It then did a stint as a cocktail bar but really, who want cocktails when you can have noodles and sushi next door?

Recently, it changed its menu considerably, and now does Chinese food instead. I’ve only had a brief look at the menu but I’m keen to return to try the hotpots. On weekends, between 12-4, you can get a dim sum buffet for ¬£12. And it’s good.

We were advised against wasting when we sat down – apparently, they will charge you for any leftovers but presumably that’s only if you take the piss. In any case, it makes you think about what you grab from the buffet a bit more.

I loved the cold noodles with Szechuan sauce, salty and spicy although I couldn’t tell you what was in there. Had a few portions of them. I also had a silly number of gyozas, both in spicy soup (which was a bit bland on the flavour front, just spicy) and pot-sticker style ones. I particularly like the latter, with the contrast in textures between the crispy bottom and the soft, chewy top being quite addictive.

I braved it and tried chicken feet but wasn’t too keen. I found them a bit slimy but the taste wasn’t bad.

Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves was good, although I was slightly disappointed that the filling was chicken and mushrooms rather than chinese sausage.

There were a lot of steamed pork and prawn dumplings, pork buns, and some rather lovely glazed sticky buns with some kind of chicken filling. Rice rolls were good but I would have preferred them pan-fried. And custard buns were a good way to end the meal. We were also offered a little pot of either black sesame or green tea ice cream. Good times. Basically, go.

Teri-Aki & Aki-Teri
6-8 Quayside 

Ping’s Seafood, New York

This draft has been sitting in my posts list for a while now, well, since I came back from New York at the beginning of December. I had completely forgotten about it until today, I read this post by Cheese and Biscuits and got a huge craving for dim sum. There is one restaurant in Cambridge that does dim sum, Charlie Chan, and if anyone has visited it and can recommend it, I would love to know! For now, here you go:

This is going to be an entirely positive post, so hopefully I won’t be offending any more people! Well, unless they are particularly interested in the well-being of crustaceans.

I don’t really think I can write a blog post about New York, since so many people have been there so much more often than me and hence my experience of three days will probably be obvious and naive. Summary: New York is BIG. America is pretty big in general, but no other place I’ve ever been to has so many big things together in such little space. I think I spent my first two days looking up and being amazed at how tall the buildings were. I certainly overused “wow”.

I didn’t really think New York was particularly cheap when it comes to food, but maybe that’s because I was comparing it to Cambridge rather than London. The only meal that I really felt was a bargain was this one, where we stuffed our faces in dim sum and then paid $12 each, tip included.

China town is an experience, with all the crazy shops and the alive or dead animal displays that you come across. Certainly not a vegetarian’s dream. This place was recommended to us by a friend, which filled me with some confidence but I was still terrified when we walked in and were attacked by a trolley of food with someone shouting “Pork!” “Prawn!” over us. Yep, that was my first time in a dim sum restaurant.

I can’t remember every single thing we ordered but some of them were so nice that got re-ordered, like the pan-fried pork dumplings (top left).

This deep fried prawn inside half a green chilli pepper was really tasty, if somewhat hot. Actually, too hot for me. After the first bite, I decided (while crying) that it is wiser to remove the chilli. It was still a little bit hot without it, which was nice.

I was a big fan of the sticky rice wrapped in the lotus leaves. It had a sweet sausage filling and it was delicious. Others declared it “too sticky”. I happily finished it off.

And when I ordered the coconut jelly for dessert, everyone looked terrified. I persuaded them to try it and, after some reluctancy, the whole thing was gone in seconds. Thinking about it, maybe I should have kept it for myself.

In conclusion, brilliant. It’s just crazy that you can get so much nice food for so little money. How do they do it? Actually, I probably don’t want to know. But I need to find a dim sum restaurant close to me.