6 Dishes You Should Not Miss When Eating at a Chinese Restaurant

eating chinese restaurant

It is quite normal to have a go-to dish when going to your favorite restaurants. However, doing this in a new or unfamiliar restaurant makes people tend to miss out on trying the other great dishes. This scenario is prevalent in Chinese restaurants, in which most people already have their favorite dim sum to order. Because of this, they never start exploring and getting to know other dishes. 

If you also find yourself ordering the same thing in a restaurant over and over again, you might want to give the other dishes a try. This article enumerates the authentic Chinese dishes you must try the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant.

Dish 1: Asian Greens

A common element you would find in most Chinese cooking are the greens. Besides keeping you healthy, the Chinese’ greens are cooked to perfection. You should have a bite of their crispy steamed bok choy, with freshness you can still bite, and the stir-fried vegetables rich in flavor. These healthy and rich flavors are a must-have in every meal. Eating in a Chinese restaurant without greens is like eating in an Asian restaurant without rice. 

Dish 2: Congee

If you like soup-like meals, you need to try this rice porridge. Congee is what parents let their sick children eat to get better, but it will still be a delicious meal even if you are in good condition. This soft food with a creamy taste can be eaten as is or garnished with your favorite meat, pork, chicken, shrimp, or tofu. It is a nourishing Chinese dish that simply tastes good and satisfies your stomach every time. 

Dish 3: Shumai

A Chinese dim sum menu will always have shumai in it, and it is a must-try dish for you. Shumai is the traditional steamed Chinese pork and shrimp dumpling. Each piece is covered in a thin round sheet of unleavened dough that will be tender to bite and eaten with or without rice. 

Dish 4: Xiao Long Bao

Another item you would find in the dim sum corner is the famous and crowd-favorite xiao long bao. You would get a taste of the rich-flavored broth and tender pork fillings in every bite. It is also a healthy choice of Chinese snack to have that will shower your mouth with a slight sweetness and umami flavors. This dim sum is dipped in soy sauce and vinegar, making the taste and experience even better. 

Dish 5: Peking Duck

Peking duck is said to be the first dish you should try in China, so if you have not tried one yet, you must do so in your next Chinese meal escapade. This famous roast duck is almost always served everywhere, even in government events and national gatherings, making it a national symbol. Its fantastic taste of tender and moist meat, covered with thin and crisp skin, would not make you forget about this meal for a long time.

Dish 6: Char Siu Bao

If you want to explore the pork bun section, try getting a char siu bao. It is undeniably one of the most popular dim sums. In English, it translates to steamed BBQ pork buns and is a type of filled bun that would be perfect if you are a fan of sweet and salty pastries. You can also order it in its baked form. The Chinese BBQ pork found inside the white bun is marinated in a sweet BBQ sauce before it got roasted. 

Conclusion

The Chinese are known for their tasty, healthy, and fantastic cuisine. If you have not tried any items on this list yet, you are missing out on many delightful dishes! Therefore, you should grab some on your next trip or online order from a Chinese restaurant. Aside from being the Chinese’ top favorite, these meals say a lot about Chinese culture and history.  

Ocean Palace Restaurant is where you would find the best Chinese food in Houston that could satisfy any of your cravings above. Check out our menu and place an order today!

Pu-Erh: The Best Tea for Dim Sum and Your Health

best puerh tea for dim sum

Coffee has long been recognized as one of the most popular drinks all over the world. People from various countries and continents may speak in different tongues and have distinct cultures, but everyone understands the language of coffee, a universal dialect that transcends any geographical boundary.

However, although coffee is arguably one of the most widely appreciated beverages globally, there is one drink that comes in a close second, threatening to take the place of coffee. It may not contain the addicting substance in caffeine, but its simplicity and diversity have made it a staple drink across cultures worldwide.

The Appeal of Tea

No other drink can provide as much of an opportunity to seek peace through its flavors as tea! 

Having originated in China almost 5,000 years ago, tea has now become a worldwide phenomenon that many would say is at the same level or even exceeds that of the popularity of coffee. Due to its natural substances, tea allows the drinker to relax their mind and reduce anxiety. 

The world of tea is quiet but colorful and diverse. With over 20,000 different teas in the world to choose from, you can find the best kind that suits your tastes and offers the best benefits for you!

However, when it comes to selecting tea for dim sum, there is no competition. No matter how many kinds of tea there are, no variety can match up to the experience that pu-erh tea offers, especially when paired with Chinese dumplings.

A Drink Like No Other

A brew prized for its rich flavor, pu-erh tea has long been regarded as one of the best drinks to have to improve one’s health. Like green and black tea, pu-erh tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant’s leaves, but the process of creating it involves a more extended fermentation period. After fermentation, the leaves are aged, producing the distinct flavor pu-erh tea is famous for.

Although jasmine tea is most likely the default beverage in any dim sum restaurant near you, the best and traditional drink to pair with this steamed Chinese dish has always been pu-erh tea. The clean feel of drinking pu-erh strikes the perfect balance with the greasiness of dim sum, making the feast all the more satisfying and enjoyable.

Once you get used to the strong, distinctive, and earthy flavor of pu-erh, you’ll never want to have dim sum without it! Aside from savory dumplings, you can also have pu-erh with different chicken feet and other Chinese cuisines.

The Health Benefits of Pu-Erh

Pu-erh is not only a wonderful beverage to pair with dim sum, but it can also help you achieve overall wellness! In China, pu-erh has been drunk to achieve various health benefits, such as improving heart health and reducing cholesterol levels.

Many people also regularly take a sip of pu-erh each day to promote weight loss, enhance eyesight, and stimulate circulation. However, although there’s a lot to benefit from pu-erh, you should only drink up to three cups per day to avoid any side effects.

Conclusion

No feast can be truly complete without the perfect drink to pair it with. As such, if you’re planning on eating dim sum, you shouldn’t forget to order pu-erh tea! So the next time you go to a dim sum restaurant near you, make sure to drink pu-erh to have the best Chinese dining experience.

Are you looking to have the best dim sum in Houston to pair with pu-erh? Then, you’ve come to the right place! As the largest dim sum restaurant in Houston, we at Ocean Palace Restaurant have the widest variety of dim sum in the city, serving it all day. Order online today!

A Simple Guide to Chinese Dining: Etiquette and Manners

dining manners

Food and dining are great ways to learn about and understand a culture. Chinese dining etiquette is something that you need to know about and be respectful of when eating with Chinese-born-and-raised acquaintances. Here are some of the most notable aspects of traditional Chinese table etiquette

A Walkthrough to Chinese Dining Etiquette

The Table Setting

People are always seated at round tables. On formal occasions, guests of honor will be seated farthest from the door, so let someone choose the seat for you. Elders and guests will be treated with the utmost respect.

Tea is always served before the meal and is replenished throughout the entire dining experience. Pouring tea for others around the table, especially elders, is considered polite.

General Table Manners 

In more formal settings, hand towels are often served before the food arrives and again after the meal. Sometimes people are given finger bowls.

Chopsticks are the preferred utensils, though you can ask for Western utensils if you are not confident in your skills. Make sure to use the serving utensils provided in each meal instead of your own. Chopsticks go directly to your mouth, so it would be rude to dip them into the meal you are sharing with others. 

When passing food, the best way to do it is to use the turning board, if there is one. If there isn’t, do not reach across others. You may politely ask someone to pass it to you. And if someone asks for you to pass it back, then do it with both hands.

Traditional Food Served

Not all hosts serve the same thing in their kitchen. If you are dining out with a host, they are usually the ones in charge of ordering, though they may ask around the table for suggestions. But if you are a guest in someone’s home, you will have to eat whatever is prepared. Chinese cuisine is delicious and delightful, so you won’t have a problem enjoying any of it. 

Whether you’re in a restaurant or at home, there are some staple foods you can expect on the table. For appetizers, you will often find nuts for sharing. It is best not to grab a handful to eat them. If you can, pick them up with chopsticks to eat them. 

Fish is notably served whole, so someone has to take it apart first. Be careful and take you time chewing. You don’t want to accidentally choke on a bone.

And lastly, all Chinese meals will serve either rice, noodles, or both as side dishes.

Conclusion

Dining etiquette, in general, can differ from culture to culture. However, the concept of much of it is the same with most cultures: to be respectful to the meals and the people you’re dining with. 

Chineses etiquette, in particular, is laced in years of tradition that was passed down from household to household, which is why most of it is still being practiced to this day. Of course, not all of this is followed by everyone, especially if the meal is not a formal event. But when you find yourself in this situation, it is best to come into it with some prior knowledge. 

If you’re in the mood for the best Chinese food in Houston, then visit or order from Ocean Palace Restaurant. We have been open since 1999 at the Hong Kong City Mall in Chinatown. Our best sellers include a wide variety of traditional dim sum and dumplings. Taste our food today!

Dissecting the Unique and Delectable Taste of Lobster

lobster taste

When it comes to top-tier foods and unique dishes that everyone should try once in their life, each person can weigh in. There are few that many can agree as a must-try, with lobster being by the forefront of that. It’s often labeled as food for the rich and famous, but anyone should try it out at least once.

When done well, lobster can be quite otherworldly to eat and consume. It has a unique and different taste that shines through whether it’s grilled, steamed, or fried. Here’s what you need to know when getting such a delicacy:

How Lobster Compares to Other Seafood

Most people compare lobster’s texture and taste slightly to shrimps, monkfish, and crabs. Lobster can be pretty tender and chewy, but it can melt in your mouth a little better compared to the seafood examples it’s often associated with. While crab can be a bit too soft and shrimp a bit too harsh, lobster provides the best of both worlds. 

Lobster may differ from other dishes because the taste sticks out a lot more than other seafood when a marinade or seasoning is used. Having boiled lobster with butter can be the closest way of getting its sweet brine taste. This can be a case of preparation, but lobster is known to have a lot of protein that eventually affects its texture. 

How Lobster Is Prepared

As mentioned before, lobster meat can jump out over marinades and seasoning. However, they’re amplified by the different spices that are incorporated into its dish. Some of the best Lobster preparations are when they have black pepper butter, dry garlic, or salted egg yolk. If you want something simple, though, salt and pepper will do just fine. 

There are a number of ways lobster can be cooked. Most people do tend to boil and steam the lobsters. This can be optimal, considering that the different parts of a lobster need to be submerged altogether, but using oil in place of the water to saute and sizzle them works just as well.

We offer dishes wherein they’re fried in order to keep the flavor as is while putting in different seasoning types. The texture is also enhanced since it’s given a crisper exterior while remaining soft when chewed through.

How Lobster Is Eaten

Lobsters can be served whole as the meat is dispersed through different parts like other crustaceans. Some of the most desired parts of the lobster with lots of meat are the tail and the knuckles. There’s also meat hidden in the claws and legs of a lobster. 

Most cuisines help pair up lobster with other dishes to have a full meal. Some choose to have rice or beans, while others include it in greens like asparagus, spinach, green peas, and more. Lobster also tastes good with pasta and when it’s incorporated into the dish itself. 

Conclusion

If you have the opportunity, tasting lobster is a must. It can turn any normal day into a fun occasion, and being able to share such a food experience with your loved ones makes for a treasured memory.

Ocean Palace Restaurant offers the best Chinese food delivery in Houston. Our family pack is customizable and offers a selection of delectable lobster dishes. Order today!

What You Need to Know Before Trying Dim Sum: A Guide

houston dim sum

Many people consider Chinese dishes as their ultimate comfort food. While it is true that every bite of these sumptuous meals can make you feel better, they are much more than that. What makes them one-of-a-kind is they use nutritious ingredients and balanced cooking methods. These techniques are best exemplified by dim sum. To learn more about it, use this article as your guide.

What Is Dim Sum?

Dim sum, which translates as “touch the heart,” is a type of Chinese food that comes in small portions of a wide variety of dishes. It is typically served on small plates or in steam table trolleys stacked with metal or bamboo steamer baskets. These trolleys get pushed around from table to table, and diners order by pointing at the read-to-eat dishes.

This food is also usually served with tea. In fact, it is linked with the historic Chinese tradition of tea tasting called yum cha. Hundreds of years ago, travelers would stop at teahouses along the ancient Silk Road to rest and enjoy a cup of tea. Eventually, snacks became part of the tradition.

Dim sum started as a snack, but at present, it is an integral part of Chinese food culture. Restaurants started serving it early in the morning, and many older Chinese people eat it after they exercise. It is popular worldwide, especially in Hong Kong. 

What Are Some Types of Dim Sum?

There are several types of dishes you can find in a dim sum restaurant. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Dumplings: This type of dim sum contains chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or vegetables covered with see-through rice flour or wheat starch skins. Some examples of dumplings are sam ha cao, truffle xiao long bao, duoi bo xiao long bao, bahn xep scallop hap, and more.
  • Rice noodle rolls: This dim sum dish consists of fried, steamed, or rolled rice noodles sprinkled with sesame seeds. They can be eaten on their own or filled with vegetables, pork, beef, shrimp, sea scallop, and other meat. 
  • Buns: These baked or steamed fluffy buns called bau are made from wheat flour. Meats, vegetables, and bean pastes are some of their popular fillings.
  • Meats: Some dim sum meats you can order are spare ribs, steamed meatballs, and more. Another meat dish worth trying is phoenix claws, which are deep-fried or boiled chicken feet marinated in a black bean sauce.

What Is the Best Way to Try Dim Sum for the First Time?

After knowing some of the basic dishes, it’s now time to give dim sum a try! Start your food adventure by searching online for a dim sum restaurant near you. You can also check the Chinese food from Chinatown. Once you explore your options and pick a restaurant, grab a friend or family member to go with you so you can both share and enjoy a memorable dining experience. 

Conclusion

Trying dim sum for the first time might seem overwhelming or intimidating. Now that you know more about it through this guide, you can have more confidence to explore Chinese food culture and order some dim sum dishes the next time you head to a dim sum restaurant.

If you are looking for great dim sum in Houston, go to Ocean Palace Restaurant in the heart of Chinatown at the Hong Kong City Mall. We can satisfy your craving and excite your tastebuds with our tasty dishes. Order online now!

Our Guide for Dining at a Chinese Restaurant Like a Native

chinese restaurant

If you’ve ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant, you’ve probably felt intimidated by the techniques and etiquette of eating intricate dishes like baos, rice noodle rolls, and dumplings. They’re not exactly a type of food that you can simply cut open with a knife and fork, as Chinese food must be eaten the way the locals do.

Whether you want to look like you know what you’re doing or pay respect to the culture behind the delicious meal you’re enjoying, it pays to know the right way to eat dim sum. Here are seven tips for dining at a Chinese restaurant like a native:

  • Look for Happy Chinese Diners

First, you’ll need to pick a restaurant that you know has the best Chinese food in Houston. The easiest way to do that is to scan the customers for happy, satisfied Chinese customers. If you see many elders with their families, the restaurant is likely worth your time and money.

  • Choose Your Tea Before Ordering

It’s tempting to get right into the heart of the meal right away, but it’s essential to order your tea first. Dim sum is meant to be eaten with tea, not with wine or beer, so decide on the type of tea you’d like to pair with it first.

  • Look at What Your Neighbors are Ordering

If this is your first visit to the restaurant, look at the foot on other diners’ tables and take note of what they’re eating. If they’re enthusiastically devouring a specific dish, don’t be afraid to ask your server what it is so you can request an order.

  • Look at the Carts

Dim sum places usually have carts pushed around, which gives you another idea of the many flavorful items available for you to try. You’ll often have a range of food to choose from, like deep-fried dumplings, braised poultry, roast meats, and more. Steamed dishes are best consumed immediately, so keep that in mind if you decide to order some.

  • Eat One or Two Items at a Time

Once you’ve settled on what you’d like to eat, avoid gulping it down in one fell swoop. Get one or two items at a time and savor the flavor. Sample each dish on your table so you can enjoy the wide variety found in Chinese cuisine, which will round out your experience and make it more enjoyable. 

  • Try New Things

You’ve ordered your favorite dim sum, but there may be just as tasty dumplings or rolls out there that will tingle your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to try new menu items like chicken feet, congee, sticky rice, tripe, taro puffs, and more. Going out of your comfort zone when eating Chinese food is always rewarding!

  • Eat Like a Native

Lastly, eat like a native. Serve other people tea before you pour your cup, and do not hoard a dish to yourself—it is meant to be shared. If one or two pieces are remaining, do not take it unless everyone has declined it. Eat only a little at a time and use a serving spoon or serving chopsticks to serve other people—never your own!

Additionally, use only chopsticks or forks as necessary. You can pick up some food with your hands like large buns. Never stick your chopsticks into your food, as this is considered to be rude. Ensure that your chopsticks don’t have food sticking to them. Use them to remove bones or shells and organize them in a neat pile on your plate. Put your non-dominant hand on the table’s edge and, when you are done with your meal, put your chopsticks parallel to you on the top edge of the plate. Lastly, if you want an authentic Chinese dining experience, fight to foot the bill unless you and your companions have agreed to pay for what you each order.

Conclusion

Eating dim sum in Houston can be an exhilarating experience, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you won’t enjoy the full pleasure of eating Chinese food. By following our guide, no one will suspect you of being new to Chinese cuisine!

If you’re craving the best Chinese food in Houston, look no further than the Ocean Palace Restaurant! We are home to the best dim sum around. Come over on weekends to witness the feast we put on our traditional rolling carts, filled with steamed and fried containers of dumplings, chicken feet, ribs, noodles, and more. Check out our menu today to order online!

Common Mistakes People Make When They’re Eating Dim Sum

dimsum

One of the Asian foods that has become well-loved the world over is dim sum. It’s Chinese and it’s also known as dianxin, translating directly to “point of heart”. Many people even view it as comfort food. That said, there are a number of common mistakes that end up being made.

What are some of the most common mistakes when they’re eating dim sum?

  • Fear of Asking for a Fork

It’s not a requirement to use chopsticks when eating dim sum. In fact, there’s quite a number of Americans across the country who’ve never bothered to try. Many will avoid asking for a fork when it’s not available on the restaurant table, struggling with picking up food instead. There is absolutely no shame in asking for a fork instead, in order to enjoy dim sum in full.

  • Fear of Trying Something New

Understandably, there are certain things that don’t come across as appetizing globally. In Chinese culture, for example, chicken feet is considered a delicacy. It’s also spread out to other countries across Asia like Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam. There is nothing particularly dangerous about such meals, so there’s no harm in just trying it out.

  • Not Drinking Tea Beforehand

A lot of people don’t really think of tea as far as dim sum is concerned. Food is more of the route that people’s thoughts go to, such as dumplings, egg tarts, or steamed bread. However, dim sum shops are generally prone to offering tea because it cleans the palette. Usually, the offerings are oolong, jasmine, green, black, or chrysanthemum tea.

It should be noted that tea is traditionally poured for guests beforehand. Tapping the middle and index finger is typically the way to show gratitude to the host.

  • Not Eating at Places That Are a Hole-in-the-Wall or Seem Overly Simple

When you go out into Houston for dim sum, there’s no need for it to be extra pricey. Places that are quite upscale can be tempting, but their waiting times and lines are likely quite long. Do yourself a favor and go on a culinary adventure in your local Chinatown instead. There’s definitely a sharp contrast in terms of ambiance, but the freshness of the dim sum will definitely be unbeatable.

  • Solo Dining

There’s really nothing wrong with dining out by oneself. In fact, some people actually view it as therapy or whatnot. When people end up eating outside by themselves, it’s usually a need for alone time. However, when it comes to dim sum in Houston or elsewhere, eating alone means a very limited variety. When solo dining becomes the name of the game, then there are only a few or a couple of styles or kinds that will be served up.

Conclusion

Dim sum is well-loved all over the world for a number of reasons. That said, there are still common mistakes that occur when people try it out. Some of these include solo dining, not eating at places that are hole-in-the-wall or seem overly simple, and not drinking tea beforehand. 

Looking for the best Chinese dim sum delivery in Houston? Check out Ocean Palace Restaurant! We’ve been in the heart of Chinatown at the Hong Kong City Mall since 1999, serving Chinese seafood and dim sum.

Our Tasty Take on Dim Sum

houston dim sum

When exploring culinary delights, nothing is as varied, colorful, and delicious as China’s staple, dim sum. Packed with different flavors in one mouth-watering, bite-sized morsel, dim sum is something many fans of Chinese cuisine can eat by the dozen and discover new varieties to try! 

But while most think dim sum can be interchangeable with dumplings, this snack-friendly dish takes on a whole new meaning in Chinese culture. 

Dim Sum directly means to “touch the heart,” making it a go-to dish to eat while drinking tea for brunch. It’s a match made in heaven that brings comfort to one’s lunch breaks in China’s electric streets, bringing energy to passers-by who need to refuel for the day. 

A Bite Out of Dim Sum’s Origins 

Dim Sum is a popular dish across China and the world, though its roots point back to the Guangdong region in southern China. Dim sum was served in tearooms in the heydays of the 19th century. This is why you’ll always find them as the perfect pairing even as it moved away from its origins to the vibrant streets of Hong Kong and finally beyond borders as Silk Road travelers took comfort in this popular dish. 

A Taste of Dim Sum Today 

Since Chinese dim sums are served in small portions, there was plenty of room for experimentation. That’s why you’ll often see a variety of dim sums today, from your standard steam buns, rice noodle rolls, and dumplings packed with either prawn, chicken, vegetables, pork, and even beef!
Dim Sum captures the lightness, fragrance, and umami-ness of Chinese cuisine, making dim sum a fun dish to order if you want to explore different flavors in every spectrum. Some varieties of dim sum you may not know include the following: 

  • Beef Balls – a steamed version of dim sum filled with minced beef and placed on bean curd skins.  
  • Char Siu (Roast Pork) – another steamed version of dim sum filled with sweet roast pork buns. 
  • Char Siu Bao – one of the more famous steamed dim sum with barbecued pork filling.  
  • Cheung Fun – whether steamed or pan-fried, Cheung Fun is the go-to choice for dim sums made with rice noodle sheets and shrimp, beef, or pork filling. 
  • Sui Mai – a perennial favorite, you’ll often recognize them as steamed dumplings that look like a basket with pork filling topped with shrimp and fish roe. 

The Bottom Line: Exploring the Different Styles of Dim Sum for Your Next Cravings 

Dim Sum is a delicious Chinese favorite that can sate different taste buds thanks to variety, so don’t hesitate to try out new styles once the next craving for Chinese food hits. 

Why Dine with Us? 

Are you craving to indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine? Hungry locals and travelers looking for the best Chinese restaurant in Houston can order up Asian favorites here with us at Ocean Palace Restaurant. 

We can whip up traditional recipes that are sure to delight your taste buds – from dim sum delicacies, seafood, congee, and more classics. We also deliver during the pandemic, so check out our menu today and let us serve you on your doorstep.