Oct 4 - 10, 2007 

Restaurant Review

Ming Dynasty

Dim sum and then some

Baby got buns ... and dumplings and congee and noodles and meatballs ...
Tina Larkin
Baby got buns ... and dumplings and congee and noodles and meatballs ...

Maybe it makes me a tacky American to admit this, but I adore ornate Chinese restaurants. The more dragons, gold paint, big red lanterns and Buddha statues, the better. When you add all that eye candy to the delicious odor of incense mixed with cooking smells, it equals an exotic sensory experience that spears me right through the heart.

Ming Dynasty serves dim sum that comes the closest to an authentic Chinatown experience as you're going to get in Albuquerque. This is high praise, yes, but the service and quality of food is comparable.

The wonderful world of dim sum goes something like this: tiny plates of appetizer-like foods, sweet and savory, hot and cold, priced between $2 and $5 each. You can try a cornucopia of goodies for a decent price. It’s not necessary to order an entrée with dim sum because those plates, little as they may be, will fill you up like you just rolled out of a buffet. Even so, I perused the regular menu first and ordered the crab meat with shark’s fin soup (market price).

Ming Dynasty has   dim sum   for days.
Tina Larkin
Ming Dynasty has dim sum for days.

Despite the far-from-pedestrian ingredients, the soup was fairly unadorned, resembling a giant bowl of egg drop soup. It was prepared well and had a reasonable amount of crab, but I didn't care for the consistency of the shark’s fin. Reminiscent of sea cucumber, I intensely disliked the gelatinous nature of the fin, which looked a lot like rice vermicelli. I went into it knowing shark fin doesn't have a particularly defined flavor, but since it's Cantonese delicacy, I figured it was worth a try. It's not for everyone.

But dim sum is the real focus of Ming Dynasty. Affable owner Mihn Tang has made it easy for uninitiated diners to partake in this Chinese meal with an organized dim sum menu—dishes are grouped by price and include individual pictures.

I ordered chilled mango pudding (note: Chinese pudding means gelatin) and coconut cake from the $2.35 list. From the $2.65 group I chose—deep breath—steamed spareribs, steamed barbecue pork buns, stewed chicken feet, baked barbecue pork pies, baked barbecue pork buns and beef balls. Stuffed bell peppers and deep-fried eggplant, both with shrimp paste, and scallop dumplings came from the $3.35 menu. The top tier items were $4.35 per plate, of which I chose ox stew, stuffed crab claws, stir-fried Chinese broccoli and seafood salad rolls.

The calm before a   dim sum   storm
Tina Larkin
The calm before a dim sum storm

It was the greatest mouth-stuffing glut-party I’ve had in months. The little plates and steamer trays just kept coming. And coming. The steamed spareribs were fatty but tender as hell, the steamed pork buns were sweet and meaty, and the beef balls were small but tasty globes of minced beef. Mihn told me they had a run on chicken feet earlier in the day and were sold out. Fine with me—the pork pies were succulent and sweet, the bell peppers stuffed with shrimp paste pretty and tasty, and I loved the starchy yet translucent coating on the scallop dumplings.

This was an edible orgy, and I was cramming my maw like a filthy hedonist while the little plates kept-a-comin’. I didn’t care for the crab claws—too much breading, but the seafood rolls were hot little pockets lined with crab and shrimp. Chinese broccoli, laced liberally with oyster sauce, was fantastic against all the meats, seafoods and starches. Chinese broccoli is in the same family as our American version, only this vegetable has tiny florets that blossom from tender leaves and stems.

My unexpected favorite of the meal turned out to be the ox stew; a hearty bowl of tripe, sliced beef marrow and onions piled high over the richest, meatiest broth imaginable. Tripe is not usually my thing, but the marrow was ruby red and moist, and flavored the broth with a blood-mineral-fat combination that was just intoxicating.

I cooled off with a refreshing, sugary bowl of mango gelatin laced with sweet cream. Little squares of coconut cake were the perfect end to my gluttonous feast.

Dim sum, also spelled diem sum, literally translates as “a little bit of heart” in Cantonese. I propose another translation: “a tummy the size of an apartment building.”

View Ming Dynasty in Alibi Chowtown calendar

The Alibi Recommends:

• Ox soup

• Chinese broccoli

• Steamed pork buns

• Owner Mihn says, “Come in on weekends from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the traditional dim sum steam cart experience!”

Ming Dynasty, 1551 Eubank NE, 296-0298. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. every day. Price range: inexpensive to moderate. Credit cards, large parties, kids' menu, catering, party trays, vegetarian items.

Public Comments (12)
  • Ever hear of "finning" -- or just don't care?  [ Thu Oct 4 2007 8:29 PM ]

    Finning is the practice of slicing a shark's fins off and throwing the rest of the wounded creature back into the sea to die a cruel death. This is how most of the fins get onto shark fin soup globally. It's a disgusting and unethical practice and should not be supported by anyone with half a heart. Take a look here: [link]

  • I WILL NEVER EAT HERE AND NEVER SHOULD YOU until its off the menu..  [ Thu Oct 4 2007 10:36 PM ]

    Very true Very true. The population of sharks has been hugely diminshed due to this practice. Some how humans develope a taste for "exotic" fair such as sharks fin soup...Why stop there? I bet those pandas ears are yummy.

    Eat up people...Just because you can afford it... When the seas are barren and most of the world looks like a denuded somolia and if your greatgrandchildren happen to live past 5 and are walking skeletons.... Well that special treat of Shark's Fin Soup you had will really be a special memory for them as they line up for their daily slab of soilent green. Cheers!!

  • Yummers  [ Thu Oct 4 2007 11:15 PM ]

    I think we should definitely eat more sharks. What did they ever do for us? And pandas sound delicious! I wonder if they would taste anything like raccoons?

    And we should definitely eat people, especially the hippies. But I would suggest a good washing first. I can't imagine that patchouli would add anything to the dish.

    How come no one ever takes up the cause of eggplants or beets? Can you be sure that they don't have feelings? Oh what, just because they don't have a face they don't matter? Salad is a death sentence for innocent vegetation.

    Save the Carrots!

  • What I'd really like..  [ Fri Oct 5 2007 9:30 AM ]

    I'd like maren's liver with a nice ciante and some fava beans... fuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuh.

  • Ahhh  [ Fri Oct 5 2007 10:28 AM ]

    I'm flattered. You want to eat me.

  • Okay look...  [ Tue Oct 9 2007 10:33 PM ]

    I can't take dining advice from anyone who spells chianti wrong. And I agree with Maren. Except we should eat children, too. Ever read "A Modest Proposal?" I grew up on a farm, and I used to help whack the heads off chickens and what-not, so if it's sympathy for the poor slaughtered animals you are after, guys, you got the wrong one. Nazi douchebag.

  • Nazi Douchebag??  [ Wed Oct 10 2007 12:55 PM ]

    Well, being my background is growing up on a hog farm - about five thousand head - shipping out 100-300 weekly, then eventually animal control - killing anywhere from 30-150 a day - It's not a matter of slaughtering animals. "Helping" whack a few chickens - don't make a martyr out of yourself. My dining advice to you ,dear, is to eat shit and die.

  • Clever Dick...  [ Wed Oct 10 2007 10:04 PM ]

    I'm pleased to see that you spelled both "shit" and "die" correctly. The hog farm definately gives you a modicum of dining street cred, but going back to the original issue...I think pulling the soilent green card was clever, if a bit passe and outdated, but your point about the archane practice of shark fin removal is well taken. I just don't care that much. Sampling exotic foods is not a new concept, nor is the demand for them. Hell, if noone had ever tried a scary "poisonous" tomato for the first time, then where would our modern salads be? I don't think people should eat shark fin soup because it doesn't taste good. See? Problem solved on my end. And trust me Josephine, I'm a martyr, but for way different reasons.

  • Woo Kaares howz itz spellek.  [ Thu Oct 11 2007 12:10 PM ]

    The point is, dearest, is that you don't cut off a cow's right rear leg because that's the best tasting part and then throw it back into the pasture to let it slowly bleed to death. I don't consider it sampling when the practice is widespread and is curtailing and seriously reducing the population of a species. Equating a shark fin to the dreaded love apple is seriously a bizarre concept at the best.

    Most of all please don't give me crap over a spelling mistake especially when your retort spells definitely as definately and arcane as archane. Other then that all sincere apologies for the crass remark...

  • Aight!  [ Fri Oct 12 2007 7:17 PM ]

    Fair point about the cow, and the sharks. I have often wondered if vegetables scream when you cut them, but my esoteric safaris are normally reserved for my shrink. Apology accepted, and I am sorry I called you a douchebag.

  • Awwww  [ Fri Oct 12 2007 7:53 PM ]

    This little exchange has warmed my greasy, salt-crusted heart. BBQ chipotle snack wraps for everyone!

  • All I am saaaaaying... Is give McCheese a chaaaaance....​..  [ Thu Oct 18 2007 5:18 PM ]

    Sorry John.

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