Sing Kee Chinese BBQ's Rock Fish Hot Pot: The Perfect Dish for Waiting Out the Rain

Last night my family and I putzed around Richardson looking for some decent ethnic eats. I Yelped and I Googled and I finally decided that Sing Kee Chinese BBQ looked like a decent spot for a late meal.

When I walked through the door, the clouds swelled behind me, and by the time I sat down in the clean but empty dining room, the sky had opened up. This was my first Texas rain storm, and I watched a family of five dash in, pushed by the wind, with soaked clothes, inside-out umbrellas and wet and wind-tussled hair.

The TV in the back showed the Emmy awards. Michael Bolton, dressed like a drag queen pirate, performed as I ordered some egg rolls and a rock fish hot pot. The fam ordered soup, shared at the table, and a few hot pots of their own.

It was quiet, and we ate in silence, watching the rain come down in sheets and the hail jump off the car roofs like popcorn. My egg rolls were fine enough, but the hot pot made me think this place has its act together. Strips of rock fish, lightly coated and fried, bathed in a lightly thickened sauce with mushrooms, tofu, and the occasional sliver of pork that seemed misplaced. All the ingredients sat on a bed of cabbage, and the entire pot sizzled and spit with heat when it came to my table.

The dish was lava hot but not spicy, so I spooned a bland but fiery oil from a small plastic container over the dish. The oil kicked things up on my plate, while the rain picked up outside, now with larger hail.

A short, round woman left Bistro B across the parking lot with three or four bags stuffed to the gills with take-out. The wind pulled on her parcels as she squinted and ran through the rain -- a disaster waiting to happen that never did.

Just as I pushed my plate away the rain let up and I dashed for my check and then to my car. As I drove home, water pushed up from the sewers like an aquifer, filling the streets as lightning painted the sky. But I was fantasizing about the peking duck I saw leave the kitchen but didn't eat. Next time.

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