Thursday, August 20, 2009

Free Flow!

We could be standing in the middle of the most crowded intersection in the world with neon lights, traffic, noise, and signs in foreign languages; and Mike will still be able to pick out the advertisement for a buffet or all-you-can-anything. So how he saw the Free Flow Dim Sum sign among the lush overgrown bushes, on a corner of a busy intersection I will never know, but there it was FREE FLOW DIM SUM at the Sanur Harum Cantonese Restaurant at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel, which I initially thought was a shopping center.The southern beach areas in Bali are very touristy, with most dining establishments catering to western palates with well known Indonesian specialties thrown in on the 'local dishes' side of the menu. With all the exposure to western tastes we can say Bali does make a mean club sandwich and pasta dishes! Over the last few months of traveling we had developed quite the method for making our complimentary breakfasts last for most of the day, but for free flow dim sum we decided to eat lightly and prepared for a big lunch - free flow only happens between noon and 3pm. So we planned our attacked and headed over a little after noon for 3 hours of dim sum!
As we walked up to the entrance of the hotel, we came upon an open space lobby with a lush water garden that stretched back towards the hotel rooms.The Cantonese restaurant was situated close to the front of the hotel and as we walked in we noticed two things. 1: we were the only people in the restaurant except for a large group in a separate room in the back. 2: there was a row of steamer trays along the back the restaurant in between the private party and the dining room. Immediately we thought jackpot - steamer trays full of dim sum all to ourselves! However we were informed the steamer trays were for the large party in the back and was quickly handed a sheet of dim sum items we could mark up for our free flow. To our delight the dim sum items listed were your typical steam/fried dim sum items, along with some new items. There were the familiar siu mai (steamed pork and shrimp dumplings)
fried shrimp dumplings and sesame bean pattiessteam pork bunsand a wrapperless siu mai
Of the new dim sum items our favorites were the bacon wrapped fried shrimp and pork dumplings drizzled with a hoison bbq sauce
and the wonton knotted pork dumplings
We finished our dim sum and was asked if we wanted to start another sheet - oh that's right it's FREE FLOW so we quickly marked up another sheet with the items we liked the most and sat sipping our complimentary jasmin tea while we waitedFree Flow Dim Sum Rules, so much so that we returned only a few days later - those bacon wrapped dumplings were delicious!As we were leaving we noticed one of the largest and most ornate Garuda statues we have ever seen in the hotel courtyardGaruda is a mythical bird-like creature in Hindu and Buddhist mythology who is able to destroy the universe and has a wing span that can block out the sun. We saw Garuda statues at most businesses, small and large, some like the one at our resort, were carved from one piece of wood. This one was by far the most intricate and colorful we had seen.So beautifully detailed that Mike said he wanted to tattoo his chest like Garuda'sLet's hope he's kidding.

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