When Mer asked me if I had ever been to the famous, fancy, delicious Asian restaurant, Sampan… I thought she was crazy. I tried to explain to her that it’s pretty good but that it was just normal Chinese food… nothing special? Mer was convinced she heard it was pretty spectacular… so I decided to go to my dear friend, GOOGLE.
Apparently… Sampan is indeed a fancy Asian restaurant downtown, not just the neighborhood place I grew up walking to.
1 point Mer. 0 points Beth.
Once I glanced at the menu, I was sold. Mer… we’re so in!
We ended up going for Happy Hour on Wednesday for Center City SIPS with both of our guys (Dave and Mike) and their friend Lee.
The Happy Hour Menu is sorta like asian tapas. Everything is from $3-$5. Here’s what we picked out (and a fabulous ordering job done by Mer):
Korean BBQ Beef Satay: Short Rib, Kim Chee, Ginger
Edamame Dumpling: Truffle, Pea Shoot, Sake Broth
Pork Potsticker: Kim Chee, Scallion, Shallot
Kobe Slider: Soy, Swiss, Brioche
Kobe Hot Dog: Smoked Mustard, Brioche
Pork Bao Bun: Shallot, Pork Belly, Mint
Chicken Bao Bun: Chili Sauce, Shallot, Sweet Basil
Kim Chee Fried Rice: Shrimp, Shallot, Sunny Side Egg
While I was most excited for the Kobe Hot Dog, that was probably the biggest disappointment. I mean, it was a great hot dog and all… but there wasn’t much to it. The biggest surprise was the Kim Chee Fried Rice… omg it was heavenly.
I had some great expectations for the Edamame Dumplings due to tons and tons of Yelp reviews, and they lived up to their high standards. The dumpling was really light while the edamame filling was super creamy.
Now, for the great “Bao Bun” challenge… which is better the Pork or the Chicken? Dave and I are not really into pork so we were thinking the chicken would be better. I tried the chicken first and thought there was NO WAY the pork could beat this. It was soooooooo good.
Well, let me tell you… the next bite I had was the Pork Bao Bun and it was even better. Couldn’t believe it! The sauce it’s cooked in is sweet and tangy and the pork has a really nice crispiness to it. WOW.
Lee let us know that missing dessert wasn’t an option. We ordered some kind of Peanut Butter Smores Pie… UM WOW. We almost fought over it. Not a drop was left on the plate.
We also ordered the Mini-Ice Cream Cones… we were pretty disappointed by these. Although the “Vanilla-Twizzler” flavor was strangely dead-on to Twizzler… there were only two (despite the fact that there were 3 holes for cones in the holder they used) and they were like… really really really small. Not big enough to share.
All in all, Sampan in PHILLY is pretty awesome. The restaurant itself is “trendy” and would work for happy hour with friends, a date, or really anything. AND, just a little tip for when you go: Lee told Mer and I to check the bathroom… instead of music playing they have classic movie quotes. How perfect for us two filmies!
Oh, and anywhere that has Sriracha on the table is a fine place for me!