The title for today comes from a turn of phrase that’s popular in our household, used thusly: It’s not necessarily true that we came all this way just so we could have dim sum, but it’s not not true, either. Lisa is a huge fan of quality dim sum going way back to her formative years in San Francisco. John didn’t know diddly squat about the the tasty packages until he met his bride, but he’s been making up for lost time. So, when it became clear that London had one of the most robust Chinatown presences outside of… well, Chinese towns, it was clear that at least one of our days would be given over to the best dim sum we could find.
Now, here’s the dirty secret of getting “the best dim sum in Chinatown”: who really knows? We (that is, Lisa) did a ton of reading of reviews and blogs, and she came to the consensus opinion that we wanted to go to Dumplings Legend where they have a fantastic menu of what we’d call “classic” options as well as their own take on many things. Great! That being said, when we came out of the tube station and wandered into Chinatown, the place we had chosen was largely indistinguishable from a dozen other restaurants on the street. I’m pretty sure if we had gotten lost and wandered into the “wrong” establishment, we’d still have had a really good meal. That being said, Dumplings Legend gave us exactly what we wanted, which is a scrumptious meal, both fresh and reasonably priced. If you find yourself there and overwhelmed with the options presented to you, you can rely on our vouching for them.
When we were done with our meal, we scooted back to our home base in Whitechapel. As we described in our post from day 1, there was an interesting exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery of an extensive video installation; we wanted to see more of what was available so we popped back in. The videos were ostensibly all about the movement of human bodies, but these being artistic pieces there was pretty wide latitude in what they actually were. One video that John particularly liked showed dancers who were facilitating the movement of other people who suffered from different disabilities. In one portion, an old boxer who clearly had taken a lot of blows to the head was trying to go through his old shadow-boxing regimen (which frankly would have been painful to watch if he was alone), but two dancers held on to him and helped him execute his maneuvers. In another, a woman who was herself a dancer but now suffered from severe Parkinson’s Disease was partnered with a younger, healthy dancer. Together, the older woman would indicate the motions she intended and the other woman did her best to subtly execute them for her. There was a different video that captured fishing celebrations that occurred in a small African island, featuring people dressed up as aquatic life and so on. The last one we took in essentially put cameras on a young teen boy and a young teen girl and provided no stimuli at all. They just sat and entertained themselves as they saw fit. You know; art.
If these seems like a more perfunctory recitation than usual, well, that’s the spirit of the day in truth. The next day was the start of our “true” adventure and we were getting a little antsy by this point. We had collected leftovers from a couple of our meals and made a picnic out of them for dinner. We packed ourselves up, re-shuffling where things were because of the luggage constraints of the train (more on that to come) and then got ourselves early to bed. We would be up and out early the next day in order to make it to the station in time. A story for another day… like, next week.