Article By Tammy Moss
When I was told I was going to eat Hello Kitty dim sum, I was both skeptical and excited. Never had I eaten dim sum in the style of a famous childhood figure. I then realized I wasn’t 100% sure what dim sum actually was. So, basically, I entered the Westin Hotel thinking I was about to eat cartoon Asian food with some Hello Kitty memorabilia dotted around the room whilst I ate some rice.
Walking through the hotel made me feel immediately better on that miserable, cold, England-esque day; however once entering the restaurant it became a case of ‘let’s watch the laowai eat’, and I began to feel uneasy. If you are the type of person who feels uncomfortable when people stare – I recommend bringing some Chinese friends.
We sat down and, almost instantly, we had our first dish put in front of us. It was beautifully made and presented; in front of me was what looked like a mushroom, but we were told there was a surprise inside. I had no idea what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised when I realized I was eating a chocolate sponge cake. Heaven!
I now anticipated a lot of yummy dishes to come my way, and I didn’t know where to start. I felt like a kid at Christmas. Each steamed bun had been dyed or decorated to represent a different animal. We had pandas, pigs and two other animals that, although undistinguishable, looked amazing. The dough was made perfectly, and if you are a fan of tongyuan then you will love these because inside the bun is a very sweet candy. Unfortunately for me, they are not to my taste.
As happens in China, the savory dishes came second. These included some sushi that was amongst the best I’ve had here, rice balls and shrimp pastries. These looked less impressive than the animal buns but tasted much better.
The finale was the biggest treat: steamed Hello Kitty and Doraemon buns—perfect for a kid’s birthday. And they were fantastic…to look at. I always feel cheated when I see what I think is chocolate, bite into it, and realize I’m eating red bean paste, so you can imagine my feeling when I was chewing on a mouthful of red bean. But, if this is to your liking, then you will love these buns.
Even though the taste isn’t my cup of tea, I appreciate the time and effort the chef put into each dish. It’s a very different idea—something I, for one, definitely haven’t seen here in Xi’an yet—but I’m not sure how long you will be able to get your hands on some of these. The Westin in Qujiang isn’t convenient for everyone and the food will be more appealing to those with a sweet tooth that don’t mind eating cute things.