Dim Sum Tradition Grown Up

If you’re just catching up, I spent the weekend in Atlanta! You can check out the first post here, an amazing Atlanta dining experience here, the whole reason for the trip here, and an amazing holistic cold remedy thanks to my Filipino roots here.

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As I mentioned earlier, I’ve grown up visiting my family in Atlanta. I don’t know where the tradition started, but since I can remember, almost every single time we go to Atlanta, we have a very important restaurant we must visit.

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We’d always go with our cousins to the Oriental Pearl in Chinatown for Sunday brunch aka dim sum.

For the first time ever, Sis and I (now all grown up and stuff) went by ourselves! We usually go with cousins and our fam and roll in with a big group of 8 or 9, but today it was just the two of us.

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Don’t get there early enough and you’re bound to wait. We decided on a lazy morning with our fam, so a wait was a guarantee, but it was so worth it!

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Lucky #15!

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The scene inside.

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Inside, things were busy as ever.

We actually went to the Oriental Pearl couple years ago, and they had converted the place to a Chinese buffet! We were SO disappointed. Dim Sum is not served buffet style. Part of the greatness of dim sum is the whole experience – the food being rolled around on carts.

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Sis and I quickly grabbed some food from one of the first carts around.

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Plus we had hot tea! This is where I learned to drink hot tea sans sweetener. There isn’t even sugar on the table!

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First up – sticky rice (the one served in a glass bowl)

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And from the first cart of steamed foods, we picked…

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shrimp and vegetable dumplings.

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Quickly followed by sticky rice in a Lotus leaf.

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Nom!

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Then, we saw something we’ve never seen before – a large wooden container with tofu inside!

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After talking to the waitress, we found out it was hot tofu with a sweet ginger sauce – a tofu dessert!

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Although we weren’t ready for dessert, at dim sum, you have to jump when the food comes around or risk that they may run out. Since we had already gotten there later than normal, we decided to try it. It was really tasty! I’m going to have to try to remake this one. It seems easy enough.

Dozens of carts passed by but Sis and I were trying to be selective so we didn’t fill up before getting the items we really wanted.

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From one of the next steamed carts, we got one of my personal faves -

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Har Gow – aka Steamed dumplings. I accidentally ordered this one in Chinese. I can only imagine what my terrible accent actually sounded like to the poor lady pushing the cart. lol Anywho, this is actually the only dim sum dish I know in Chinese, but I’d really like to learn all of them. It’s so much easier to order them in Chinese. Otherwise, you may not know what you’re asking for.

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For example, I tried to ask our friendly waiter for 1. roast pork buns and 2. Chinese broccoli. He scribbled this (above) down and took off for the kitchen. Sis and I guessed what we had actually ordered. A pork and broccoli stir fry? Or worse? Something completely wrong like octopus? We had to play the waiting game to see.

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Meanwhile, Sis got her fave – steamed pork buns.

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Happy eater!

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And I finally had one of my faves roll around – the roast pork buns I’d been looking for! Rather than wait for the waiter, I went ahead and got an order of these…especially since my mom had asked us to bring some home, I had to go for it!

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Nom encore!

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And what did the waiter this we ordered? We’re not sure 100%, but he definitely though we wanted this roast pork. Sis and I were way too stuffed to eat it and started to tell him it wasn’t what we ordered. The poor guy looked so sad and tried to tell us the pork was good (in broken English). So, we decided to take it to go and give it to the fam back home. I tasted a bite and he was right – it did taste good!

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Sis really wanted sponge cake, but they sold out before we could get some, so we got these steamed red bean cakes. I love red bean based Chinese desserts, but it seems like a lot of places like to use yellow beans instead. The red is so much better!

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The view from our table.

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And a coin for this statue for good luck on our way out.

After our filling and delicious brunch, it was time to hit the road!

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Did you know Jackson County means business? Neither did I until I passed this water tower.

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Back home, we found our the fam had all had HUGE lunches and were too full for dinner! Doh! Sis and I were hoping to do a big Sunday dinner for Mother’s Day but in true mom-style (or at least style for our mom), she just wanted to spend time with us. Flashy things and fancy gifts mean so much less to my mom than quality time. I only wish I could have taken that Monday off like I wanted to spend it with her. Guess I’ll have to do that on another time. It doesn’t have to be on Mother’s Day, right?! :)

I had frozen and re-heated Chicken Cacciatore for dinner…

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…with some of aunt’s bread toasted with real butter.

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Plus sweet rice for dessert!

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And a couple days late because I’m catching up on blog posts, but Happy Mother’s Day to the most kind, loving, and wonderful mom ever! I love you!

Do you have any places (restaurant or otherwise) that you just have to visit every time you go to a particular city?

Natural Filipino Cold Remedy

If you’re just catching up, I spent the weekend in Atlanta! You can check out the first post here, an amazing Atlanta dining experience here, and the whole reason for the trip here.

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In the morning, we had lots of yummy food waiting for us – quiche, potatoes…

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…and homemade oat bread (I got the recipe!).

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Still feeling under the weather, I had some green tea after my morning cuppa joe.

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My aunt and uncle gave my sister and I a sample of this Filipino fave – a mung bean cake.

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Since I’m a fan of Chinese food, including bean-based desserts, I actually didn’t think this was weird. In fact, it was quite tasty!

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Knowing I was still sick, my aunt offered to make me a natural cold remedy – Filipino style.

Important Note: I’m not a doctor or registered anything, so please don’t take this post as medical advice. I’m just showing you what my family gave me for informational/educational purposes. You should always seek medical advice from a professional when looking for medicinal treatments. :)

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My aunt plucked a stem from a variegated oregano plant she had growing in her home.

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She put the leaves in a piece of aluminum foil.

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She folded it up to create a little packet and then toasted the packet in a toaster oven for a bit.

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Once done, she took the leaves and put them in a garlic press.

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She squeezed out the liquid…

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…and voila! A holistic cold remedy – about 2 teaspoons worth of oregano juice. Immediately after taking the juice, my nasal passage cleared right up, but it slowly started getting clogged again. :(

My aunt gave me more leaves to take a second dose later in the day. Apparently, I’m supposed to do it twice a day?

Bonus – I got a baby oregano plant to take home! This is great, because I’ve never seen this type of oregano before!

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We got to sit around enjoying a lazy morning, talking recipes, and catching up. It was lovely!

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Hey vegan-friends…lookie what I found. Bet you never thought agar was used for this. This is a snippet from a science book my cousins read when they were kids.

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See that? Scientists use agar “to feed bacteria and fungi”! Whoa!

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Lookie – you even get some packets of the stuff! You could use this to grow bacteria…or make a vegan dessert? lol

Do you know any natural or holistic cold remedies? What are they?

Distant Worlds

After our amazing dinner in Atlanta, we headed just two miles down the road for the entire reason for our trip – a concert at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

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Not just any concert…a concert my sister invited me to back in January because she wanted to see it so badly.

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No, it wasn’t Usher. My sis is a gamer and was super excited when she found out that Distant Worlds – the orchestra version of songs from the Final Fantasy game series was coming to the South. This was conducted by Arnie Roth and composed by Nobuo Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu.

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Sis and I before the show.

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The concert was better than I expected. Actually, I didn’t even know what to expect, but either way, I enjoyed the experience. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra played various songs throughout the show while video clips, drawings, and other images were displayed on the screen above. I’m a big classical music fan, and this was right up my alley music-wise. The songs reminded me a bit of Phantom of the Opera, but sometimes without singers. Although, there were two songs with opera singers – the one with the trio being possibly my favorite of the evening. They also had the Georgia Tech choir on stage to perform some of the songs!

Some of the concert was definitely lost on me since I wasn’t familiar with the song names or characters. I could only look around to appreciate the enthusiasm as the Grammy-award-winning conductor gleefully listed off song names. Perhaps the biggest game-word of the night – Chocobo. Oh yes. The conductor said they were going to play the “Chocobo” song and the crowd went wild! I leaned over to my sister and whispered, “What’s a chocobo.” Click here if you’d like to learn, yourself.

The crowd went the most crazy every time the composer himself, Nobuo Uematsu, stepped out onto the stage.

Also…curious about the show? Click here for a sample video!

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Sis expected lots of people in costume, but we only saw a handful. These two had the best costumes of the evening.

Overall, I had a great time and really enjoyed the music.

And one fun fact for you non-gamers…Final Fantasy was named because the software company who developed it was going out of business. Thus…it was their “final fantasy.” But, as it turns out, the game was a big hit and they’re now on their fourteenth version! I love a good success story. :)

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After the concert, sis and I headed to our cousin’s house. I was worried about waking my aunt and uncle up since we weren’t getting there until just after 11pm, but would you know it…

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…we got there and my aunt was buzzing around the kitchen like a happy little bee. She even had late night snacks ready for us – Filipino-style:

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A corn and pork stew

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ham with a sweet sauce and rice

(Can you tell Filipinos like pork?)

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And the best part – dessert! This may not look like much, but this sweet rice is a beloved family favorite. It’s made simply with sticky rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar. Yup…it’s vegan! I’ll have to post a recipe some time. It’s easy, cheap, and delicious.

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Nom!

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I really wanted to take Monday off to spend more time with my family, but I have too many projects at work right now. :(

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We’ll have to come back soon! We grew up visiting this side of our family. Our aunt is actually distant cousins with my mom, but we lived relatively close and have always gotten along swimmingly. My cousins are like my brothers, so they’re a closer section of our family. :)

After late night snacks, we enjoyed some music by my cousin Leo who is quite the guitar rock star.

Are you a gamer? What’s your favorite video game to play?

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