Dim Sum is my new favourite food, and by extension Ping Pong, a London-based chain, is one of my new favourite restaurants.
Based in multiple locations across London, from Wembley to Stratford and Southbank to Soho, the Ping Pong brand is strong and obvious in each restaurant. Each of them are chic in decoration, with dark wood tables, peaceful water features and open steam kitchens, each allowing you the option of independent or shared table dining, just in case you’re feeling sociable. Once you have your seat, you can review the extensive menu of all types of Dim Sum you can imagine, with a large choice of money-saving meal options which allow you to try the best they have to offer.
For a light and well priced lunch, their £8 weekday menu is not to be missed. You can enjoy 8 items for the price which includes a selection of 6 dumplings, a shu mai, a pot of spicy chicken and broccoli rice and an iced tea of your choice. Try the Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Tea, which is sweet and thirst quenching (usual price £3.05).
If there are two of you dining in an evening and you’re new to Dim Sum, opt for the Sharing Selection (£32 for two) which will allow you to sample a selection of steamed, fried, griddled and rice dishes. The best dishes of this selection for me are definitely the duck spring rolls and the mushroom, vegetable and black bean sauce rice pot. This is a great deal, however it doesn’t showcase the best of what Ping Pong has to offer. If you’re willing to go a bit off piste, the following dishes are definitely the ones to try:
The Roast Pork Puff
These three pork puffs are light, crispy and sweet thanks to the pork encased within, and the light glaze of honey on the surface. These often come first when you order and are a very tasty start to a meal. Dip them into a plum or hoi sin sauce for added sweetness.
King Prawn & Scallop Sticky Rice
I love sticky rice, and it doesn’t get much better than when it’s served in a piping hot banana leaf (which you definitely should not eat) and filled with huge chunks of prawn and scallop. They’re delicious when dipped into a bit of soy, or maybe even a sweet chilli sauce.
Char Sui Bun
If you’ve not tried these before, prepare yourself for a texture that you’ve probably never experienced before. The white bun is light and pillowy, much like a marshmallow. The honeyed BBQ pork is sweet and rich. This is a classic when it comes to Dim Sum and definitely worth trying.
Black Prawn Dumplings
Warning: these will arrive HOT. Leave the lid off the steam box for a few minutes and allow them to cool before you touch them. If you try to pick them up too early the black squid ink pastry will fall apart and stick to your fingers or chop sticks, and will then fall apart. When they are ready to eat, you’ll enjoy a big chunky piece of prawn which is strong in flavour.
Crispy Prawn Balls
Shredded Pastry has been balled up around a big prawn ball and then fried. When it emerges from the fryer, it looks like a crazy ball of slightly unravelled pastry string. Three great things about this dish: the meaty middle, the funky look & the bit at the end where you pick up all the bits that got away when you bit into it!
Most Ping Pong dishes come in threes… I’m not totally sure why. Something to do with it being more pleasing to the eye when things come in threes. As a result, it makes it harder to share when there’s just two of you, unless you’re willing to sacrifice one to your dining partner, or you’re not too bothered about biting your half and sharing your spit. I usually do the latter… I am NOT a food sacrificer. I am a pig.
If you’re pretty hungry and you’re visiting on a Sunday, it is definitely worth opting for the Lazy Sumdays offer, where you can try as many dishes as you wish for £21.95 each. It’s an ‘all you can eat’ offer, with no time limit, so you can keep eating and trying new dishes until you’re ready to pop! Some terms and conditions apply (like the specials and desserts aren’t included) but the menu is so broad you won’t notice the restrictions. This is an awesome restaurant to go if you fancy trying something different.
Not only is the food in this place gorgeous, the drinks are too. As i’ve already mentioned, the iced teas are fruity and refreshing, but if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, go for one of their cocktails – the Wasabi & Amaretto Sour (£6.15) is well worth a try as i’m almost certain you won’t have tried a drink like this before.
Ping Pong are currently offering a 20% discount for students with a valid NUS card, and if you become a regular, their loyalty card scheme is definitely worth joining as you’re provided with a few freebies every meal and you are rewarded with cash points every time you dine! I go to this fab restaurant a few times a month (maybe/definitely more) and i’ve already racked up enough points for two free lunches! This is an addictive, healthy restaurant to dine in and a must for any Dim Sum lover!