There’s this flick I utterly adore & would never recommend to anyone called Frownland. In a bitter, frankly ill-fitting nutshell: it’s the post-slacker-era American übernebbish’s answer to Haneke’s godforsaken The Piano Teacher, whereby a hopelessly despicable anti-protagonist—if that; some would just say antagonist in the lead—lives a relentlessly miserable life, The End. Somehow, though, Frownland’s funny, if agonizingly so, & moving, if impossibly so.

My point is this: King’s Land’s no Frownland!

If it’s comparable to any other Land, it might be the Land of Dairy Queen (where there must have been a coup, as it’s now called DQtopia—I wonder if strawberry topping ran red through the streets)—except here streams of chili sauce dotted with stuffed-shrimp skiffs replace the hot-fudge rivers bobbing with banana boats, & the soft-serve spires give way to thatched taro huts:


Going in a clockwise spiral from top right, we had ourselves a slew of taro puffs; lollipops of fried shrimp ball with sugar-cane sticks; some soupy sort of siu mai; steamed banana-leaf packets stuffed with rice & sausage & such; saucy mushroom slabs; less soupy siu mai; shrimp dumplings; a different type of shrimp dumpling; bone-in pork ribs; more shrimp dumplings; more less-soupy siu mai; & stuffed shrimp that I’m seeing for the 1st time in this picture—damn! Gotta move quick among the crew I was with, I guess. Not pictured is a plate of roast-duck chunks—indeed just ducky—or bowls of congee that, being congee, pretty much looked like this:


Of course, all that was just the beginning. Someone counted & said we had 31 dishes total, for which we each paid a little over $15. What’s that, 50 cents a pop? Jaw-dropping. Button-popping.

Among the other savory tidbits:


still more dumplings, these fried & filled with pork


still more dumplings, these made with spinach


turnip cakes, whose gelatinous texture isn’t for everyone but whose earthy-creamy flavor is


salt-&-pepper shrimp—perfect, really, lightly crispy & greaseless

As for the sweets:


yolk-custard tarts & sesame balls—again, crunchy-gooey perfection


candied-pineapple pastry


turnovers filled with a crumbly sort of sugared-egg mixture & coconut gelatin cubes

In sum, there’s not much I can say that the photos don’t about the excellence of the dim sum at King’s Land—except to quote Captain Beefheart, from whom the smartie who directed Frownland, Ronald Bronstein, apparently swiped his title: My smile is stuck!

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