Friday, April 29, 2011

Rock Shrimp Tempura and Shredded Duck and Udon c/o Sang Kee Asian Bistro

So, on that Saturday I did a few things with my day before heading out into the suburbs during a particularly rainy night. Like, really, really rainy. Why, you might ask, was I going out to the suburbs? Well, my new-ish friend G. was performing at a bar mitzvah and asked me to video tape him and his cohort doing their belly dancing thing. When I agreed to do it, G. wasn't sure exactly when they would be performing. He only knew that they had to be there at 7. I wasn't all that interested in sitting in a backroom for an undetermined amount of time, so we agreed that I would come separately, have dinner nearby, and he'd let me know the details when he knew the details. And lo' a plan was made. I then got down to the very important task of determining where I would eat. After sussing out my preference for Asian cuisine, I considered a few different spots within the synagogue's immediate vicinity. It didn't take me long to narrow it down to Sang Kee Asian Bistro. I had heard good things about their Philly location, and figured that I might as well take advantage of this strange jaunt into suburbia to try their fare. It was relatively packed - even for a rainy evening - but since I was just one person, I was quickly seated at the bar that runs along the back of the space and faces the kitchen/prep area. There was some delay in actually being served, due mainly to the fact that my server thought I was waiting for someone. That is, I guess, one of the risks of eating alone; people have a hard time believing that you're eating alone. In any case, the delay gave me a good amount of time to look over their menu, and at the food others were eating. An older couple to the left of me struck up a conversation and told me that basically nothing I ordered wouldn't be phenomenal. I was drawn to their special rock shrimp appetizer and their shredded duck udon, though I also considered their big bowl broth noodle soup, as well as the special shrimp stuffed relleno peppers. I went with the udon and rock shrimp, but the man to the right of me had the peppers and my god did they look incredible. Their incredible-ness was confirmed by the many exhortations the man made to his wife and the waiter about the dish. I began having order remorse, but soldiered on. They start the meal with a little pickled veggie bowl. It doesn't look like much but it was a nice palate cleansing beginning.
The rock shrimp tempura weren't quite as typically tempura-like as I expected. Less panko, more standard crispy breading. But not overly breaded, and still quite good. I liked the creamy spicy sauce drizzled over it and the addition of blueberries really added something to the tastes and textures.
The duck udon was described as Shredded duck, Napa, scallion, carrot in XO spicy sauce. I liked it very much, but I wouldn't say that it was all that spicy at all. Later on I made friends with the couple to the right of me, and they also agreed that you really can't go wrong with Sang Kee. I look forward to going to the Philly location and trying more of what they're selling.
After I finished my meal I got lost for a while. Then I finally figured out which direction I had to go in to get un-lost. I arrived in plenty of time for the dancing. This was my first time getting anywhere near a bar or bat mitzvah. I imagine I would have found it more fun had I been 13 ... now I simply find scores of teenage boys running around thinking they're the shit terrifying. It's been so long since I've taken photographs of people that I don't know that I forgot that you really do need to direct and cajole them, while also putting them at ease. I took a few photos of the group, and this was the best of the bunch ... and it's not very good. Sigh. Photography fail.
Their dancing was entertaining and it seemed like the crowd enjoyed it. One woman in the group danced with a sword on her head ... and then did the splits with the sword on her head. I found it quite impressive. Afterwards I bid the dancers adieu and began the drive back home. It wasn't as torrentially raining, but the steady fall over the hours before had caused many a road to start flooding. I chose not to go on 76 and to take Kelly Drive instead, which definitely had some serious pools of water overflowing to the road. I'm always a little afraid of hydroplaning. Even though I don't really know what that means. I just know that a cool older neighbor of mine hydroplaned once when I was younger, and that has stuck in my mind as something I wouldn't want. Not taking 76 was a really smart move. G. and his crew ended up stuck on it for hours because of a mudslide.

No comments: