Saturday, March 5, 2011

Merrimack NH Dim Sum Spot

South Garden Chinese Restaurant
Location: 559 DW Highway, Merrimack NH 03054
Days: Saturday, Sunday & Monday
Time: 11:30am to 3pm
Tel: (603)4294289

I don't eat out alot but if I do, I usually patronize the same places if I find their food good and reasonably priced. Of course I would love to dine in top restaurants in downtown Boston but having kids and the need to drive down there for an hour journey already kills my appetite. For the meantime, my choices are limited to family friendly places and I love to recommend good places to eat to all my friends. Afterall, being a suburbanite, we need to share info to support our local neighborhood businesses.

I first discovered South Garden from the Yellow Pages. Believe it or not, I really took the time to go through the Yellow Pages to look up for everything before I became hooked to the internet and since then anything printed on paper was desolated by me. I patronize this restaurant for the past 6 years and I still find their quality of Dim Sum recommendable. I am very sure most readers have heard about "Dim Sum", the Tapas version for the Chinese community and very popular in every single Chinatown in the whole wide world. As you may have seen clips from Food and Travel shows, Dim Sum consists of  small sizes of food morsels which are either deep fried, steamed, braised, baked and pan fried and of which you order at your own pace from cart ladies who go around the larger restaurants. 

If you are in the Southern NH area and have not tried Dim Sum before and would like to, South Garden is a good choice to start. Although the choices of the Dim Sum spread is not as many as those in downtown Boston Chinatown, the good thing is they prepare your selections fresh upon ordering and the staffs are always ready to explain on the dishes. The restaurant is family friendly and so far, we have been able to go and get a seat instantly with food on the table by 10 to 15 mins. Nothing fancy about the decor inside nor outside, it sits about 14 tables and has a serving Bar. The followings are just a few that I recommend and there are about 25 listed Dim Sum items on the menu list.

Deep Fried Shrimp Taro Patties

. Shrimp is first minced and seasoned and coated with julienned Taro sticks, then deep fried.

. Crispy & Crunchy. Serving size for 3

. Comes with a soy sauce vinegar Dip

. Taste: 5/5 ($4.25)

Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumpling

. Pork & Fresh Shrimp are minced together & seasoned. Mixture is then wrapped into Wonton/Dumpling wrappers & steamed.

. Decorated with a piece of red bell pepper & serving for 4

. Moist and taste like chewy meatball. Taste of the pork is more prominent than the shrimp content. Generous in size

. Taste 4/5 ($3.50)

Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce

. Pork Ribs cut into small pieces, seasoned and steamed with fermented Black Bean

. Moist meat with sauce

. Not suitable for kids as the bones attached may cause choking. Serving for 2

. Taste 2/5 (lacking black Bean) ($3.50)

Steamed Bun with BBQ Pork

. Roasted Pork in special Red sauce is wrapped into a bread dough and steamed.

. One of the very popular Dim Sum dishes and most children like. Easy to eat with hands.

. Filling is the right combination of sweet & salty. Moist and complement the steamed Bread.

. Serving for 3

. Taste 4/5 ($3.50)

Traditional Sticky Rice

. Made from White Glutinous Rice which is sticky and more starchy than usual rice. Fillings consist of Chinese Preserved sausage, shiitake mushroom, chicken meat and BBQ pork pieces Everything is then wrapped in a large Lotus leaf and steamed till the rice is cooked.

. Very Filling . Serves 2

. Taste 4/5 ( a very tricky Dish as sometimes the rice do not cook properly) ($5.50)

Custard Egg Tarts

. Sweet & served Hot out of the oven

. Traditionally, the crust is made of short crust but this version is made from Phyllo crust. Custard is not wholly set and real taste of eggs rather than custard powder

. Serves 3 and caution when eating as this particular crust is brittle and caves in when one bite is taken

Taste 4/5 ($4.25)

Beef Chow Fun

. Flat & large Rice Noodle wok fried in black soy sauce with beef slices, white onion & Bean sprout

. Although not really categorized as Dim Sum for the reason it is ordered from the main menu rather than picked instantly from the Dim Sum carts in restaurants, this Dish is very popular to end a meal of Dim Sum

. Very oily dish and napkins required. The character of this noodle dish is that it is wok fried at a very high temperature and absorbs the aroma of the burnt from the hot wok

. Dim Sum size serves 3 and Menu size serves up to 5

. Taste 3/5 (too oily) ($5.95/$8.95)

Yang Chow Fried Rice

. Another Dish from the main Menu.

. Basically fried rice with chicken meat, beef meat pieces, green onion, garlic and egg. The best will tastes slightly oily and the rice is finely blended into with the beaten egg. The original version from Boston has salted fish added into the dish to make it slightly salty.

. Serves 4 to 5.

. Taste 5/5 ($7.95)

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