Ping Pong in London and DC
Ping Pong is without a doubt my favorite “chain” restaurant. I was introduced to the full experience in 2005 in London by my boyfriend who thought a wonderful afternoon out would be lunch at Ping Pong and a tour of the Wallace Collection—it was perfect. I had never had dim sum before, so I let him navigate the menu, which was completely foreign to me. He came up with the most wonderful combination of dim sum or “tiny parcels of deliciousness” as Ping Pong refers to them, some of which I will share with you below in the “Navigating the Menu” section. The food is consistently great and so are the drinks, which are unique combinations of fresh ingredients—shaken, stirred, or muddled into fabulous cocktails. Since 2005, I have introduced everyone who has spent time with me in London to the restaurant and now that there are two new locations in DC, I have pretty much “forced” everyone I know to accompany me. Most recently I celebrated my birthday there with a group of close friends and it was a perfect dining experience. I highly suggest trying the restaurant with a few friends or even a big group.
Because it is fun to go to a restaurant with recommendations I thought it would be nice to include a section on how to navigate the menu—sharing with you some of my most favorite items. The dim sum generally comes three to a dish and is perfect for sharing. It is great to have a meal and not feel overwhelmed by the portion or so full that you can barely get out of your seat. I generally recommend 5-8 dishes for two people—depending on if it is lunch or dinner and the level of hunger. Certain selections on the Ping Pong menu change roughly every Spring and Winter, so I have noted that in my recommendations below.
Navigating the Menu/Kate’s Recommendations
Nibbles and Sauces
*I generally skip this section, but sometimes I like a little nibble with my cocktail
Edamame (also called Maodou)
Soups and Salads
Smoked Duck and Citrus Salad
Fried and Griddled
Crispy Duck Spring Roll
Chicken and Black Pepper Spring Roll
Vietnamese Rice Paper and Shrimp Roll
Spinach and Mushroom Dumpling
Prawn Toast with Sesame Seeds (London Only)
Chicken Puff (Winter)
King Prawn and Scallop Sticky Rice
Seafood Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf (Spring)
Crispy Prawn Ball (my best friend insists we each get our own order)
Luxury Vegetable Spring Roll (Winter)
Har Gau (My Favorite)
Scallop and Shiitake Dumpling
Black Prawn Dumpling (Spring)
Pork Shu Mai
Chicken Shu Mai
Roasted Pineapple and Coconut Spring Roll (Winter)
Asian Manhattan (Spring)
Lemongrass and Lime (Winter)
The dishes selected above are my favorites and samplings of each really compliment the experience. I try to get a few in each category (although generally I do not get dessert)—Trying one of the cocktails is a must, but if you are not interested in imbibing any of the flowering teas are amazing! The restaurant is perfect for happy hour dinner and/or a light lunch. Their happy hour consists of a selection of reduced price dim sum and cocktails each day.
My final rating is 5 out of 5 stars for food, cocktails, and providing a consistently good dining experience.
I hope you all a least try Ping Pong once, particularly if you have never had dim sum. If you do, let me know what dishes are your favorites—Happy Eating!