If you like exploring new things, and trying new foods you’ve got a delicious treat coming your way. Today’s exploration gives you a tasty smidge of Chinatown in Richardson, with a little light cardio to burn off the calories. We’ll round it off by sacrificing the calories just burned for a sweet finish. Ready? Lets go!
We set the first scene at Kirin’s Court. Chāo hǎo chī translates to super tasty, and that’s exactly what Kirin Court is. If you’ve got some time on the weekend grab a group for brunch. Much like any Sunday Fun, it’s great by yourself, but way more fun with more people. The style of service, “Dim Sum”, is unique to these types of restaurants. A family style of serving, which you can relate the idea of Spanish Tapas eloping a sushi conveyor belt.
Basically, small plates of food that you don’t really order, but it comes to you on carts (pick up whatever you want to try).
You get 1 card for the table, and each time you grab something from a cart or from the line, the card will be stamped. It may be a bit intense, as the carts move to each table quickly, but here’s a small breakdown of my favorites to try:
Breakfast/Brunch – Dim Sum
- Pu-erh & Chrysanthemum hot tea (“G-oh-k Bo”)
- Fun Rolls (beef, shrimp, and bbq pork)
- Steamed BBQ Pork Bun (Char-Siu B-ow)
- Pork Dumpling (Siu mai or “S-ew my”)
- Shrimp Dumpling (Ha gow)
- Steamed Spareribs (Pai gwut)
- Soup Dumpling (Xiao Long Bao or Shao long b-ow)
- Fried Potstickers (Wor tip)
**Sidenote, I speak Cantonese. If you have Chinese friends they may be looking at this list saying “this guy is making up pronunciations”.
So you’ve got a small menu, but I don’t want to leave you hanging with just that. Like I said, the service can be a little intense with all these people pushing carts around you. Here’s a little list of tips to keep your wits about you:
- Water – There are people walking around everywhere, and 10-1 the waiter won’t notice your cup of water is low. They may be hard to flag down too, but don’t be disheartened. Grab 2 cups at the beginning of the meal. You may get a weird look, but I’d rather have that then be thirsty
- Tea – Where water may be overlooked, tea pots seem to be kept full easier. No need to flag anyone down either, just turn the lid of the teapot upside. Usually you’ll get service lickity split.
Also, the tea I order usually comes with rock sugar. I don’t use the sugar in my tea, so I recommend trying both versions of the tea out for yourself.
- Food – Have no idea what they said to you? That’s okay. Sometimes I can’t hear what they say either, and just give them the “lost child” stare. You can either do that, or just ask them to show you. My little guide gave you some pictures of what to look for, so you can look for what’s similar. Plus, taking a gander at the food is part of the fun!
- Plate – Dress it. Everyone has their own little eating plate. Pour a little soy sauce on, and mix it with some chili oil. Just don’t confuse the soy sauce with vinegar.
- Xiaolongbao – Let these cool. These little packets of joy have cause so much pain for me in the past. The outside acts all friendly with its coolness, but right after you pop it into your mouth and bite… Let’s just say it’s not friendly or cool.
- Char siu bao – Last but not least, these bready morsels have paper on the bottom of them. Just peel it off the bottom before you dig in.
After a filling meal, you may want to walk off some of that food. Head towards Saigon Mall for some grocery shopping. You will find every type of rice, variety of produce (some of which you may not have known to exist until you see them), and a great butcher selection. Oh, and you can buy really cute knickknacks and snacks.
My tips about this place? Explore! You won’t find a lot of this stuff at you normal grocery store. Search for a recipe to try out.
Now, for the last leg of your journey, you may be craving something sweet. Drive over to Tapioca House and pick up some Tapioca Milk Tea. This little store gives a college coffee house vibe. It is quiet enough if you want to study, but they also have some board games if you want to relax with friends. I recommend the regular tapioca milk tea, and if you want to throw them for a loop order in Mandarin “boba nai cha” (ps: if you order this you’ll need the bigger straw).
The tea is lightly creamy and subtly sweet. The tapioca balls provide some extra sugary goodness, and usually I think of it like a game and ration out the boba so that I have enough for the whole drink.
Congratulation! If you followed the plan, then you’ve finished your first exploratory journey! I mean you’ve basically finished your first episode of fear factor, only tastier and less Joe Rogan. So a win-win situation.
Just kidding, I have no beef with Joe Rogan. Anyway, did you try something that wasn’t on the breakdown menu? Did you explore further into the depths of Chinatown? Share your adventure below!