Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And Dim Sum

After spending too much on my large linen Chococat backpack, we walked across the hall in to Li Wah at 1:30 p.m. As we opened the door from the quiet hallway, we entered a large, bustling room with several carts being pushed down rows of the nearly full restaurant...I remembered my last trip to this restaurant nearly 15 years ago, I ordered take out and vowed never to return because of the lousy service I received. A conversation with a co-worker piqued my curiosity.

From 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. each day, Li Wah serves dim sum. This was the first time I've ever had dim sum in Cleveland. The last time I had dim sum was in Kaimuki with my father 8 or so years ago.

The dishes are priced by size - small ($2.25), medium ($2.75), and large ($3.25), if I recall correctly.

We picked out har gau (shrimp pocket dumplings), pork and shrimp shumai (cylindrical dumplings), char siu baau (barbecue pork in a sweet brown bread), steamed meatball with fried tofu, spring roll, and another dumpling with shrimp and water chestnuts. I am not fond at all of water chestnuts, but this dumpling was good; especially with the chili paste and shoyu. It gave the dumpling a woodsy (yes, I know that's an overused description along the lines of earthy) flavor, similar to bamboo shoots. Maybe they really were bamboo shoots...

Condiments are placed at each table: shoyu, chili pepper paste in oil, salt, and pepper.

Bug wanted to check out their regular fare so he ordered a platter of Hunan beef. He was disappointed with the soft texture of the beef and the slight tang. I enjoyed the BURN of the chili peppers! WOW!

We finished our meal with custard tarts and soft tofu in sweetened water. The custard tarts were meh, but the texture of the soft tofu was so silky, it was at the brink of cohesion. Amazing! The flavor of the sugar water reminded me of potato starch simmered in water and a little sugar, a dish my mother would make for me when I wasn't able to chew.

We passed on the congee, various chow fun, phoenix (chicken) feet, sesame balls, pig stomach, choy sum, and mussels. The mussels came 15-20 in a large glass soup bowl, all for $3.25. What a temptation, but we had already picked out 5 items at that point and I was waiting for the hot case with the buns to roll by.

My favorites were har gau, shu mai, and the mega-silken tofu. While this may not be the same quality as one would get in Honolulu, San Francisco, etc., I really enjoyed this meal. Bug hated the meal. He didn't like the chewy texture of the dumplings and the mega-tender, gummy beef.

How unfortunate, at least for me, as I enjoyed listening and watching the animated voices and expressions of the crowd. One could feel the warmth of the gathering for yum cha.

- Cassaendra

Li Wah
2999 Payne Ave 102
Cleveland, OH 44114-4436
Tel: (216) 696-6556

Monday, November 16, 2009


While searching online for a block print image by Hiroshige, I ran into a poem by Miyazawa Kenji, a Japanese geologist turned poet and activist, who lived until 37 years of age in the early 1900s.

Ame ni mo Makezu (Be not Defeated by the Rain)
Written by Kenji Miyazawa
Translated by David Sulz

Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove's shade.

A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues:
Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.

Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a "Great Man".

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

Miyazawa is known for his novel, Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru (Night on the Galactic Railroad), which was made into an anime of the same name where the main characters are played by cats.

Older anime and manga fans may recall "Galaxy Express 999" by Matsumoto Reiji (Leiji), which was inspired by Miyazawa's novel. Matsumoto is also well known for his involvement in Uchu Senkan Yamato (Space Battleship Yamato, also known as Star Blazers).

As for the block print, I didn't find it.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shogun of Cleveland

A couple months ago while driving around the city, we stumbled upon this awesome deli on Superior Ave and E 85th St. I finally got a shot of it.

Sho-Nuff's Deli

If you need a reminder of where this came from...

The Last Dragon

Years ago, my mother and I watched this movie numerous times as it aired frequently on HBO. Bruce Leroy always made me chuckle. I wonder when the remake with Samuel L. Jackson as Sho'Nuff will come out?

Unfortunately, the deli was closed when we drove by at 8:30 a.m.

- Cassaendra

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