The most popular table-tennis club in Austin, Tex., is hidden in a storage facility on the North Side of town. A key code opens a gate, and then another set of numbers gets you to the building. Walking down a dim hallway and up the stairs, you listen to the sharp, increasingly loud tick of chunk against paddle -- a metronome run amok. Inside the bar, a royal blue room punctuated by grass blue and green tables, men in baggy shorts, headbands and sweat-soaked T-shirts are running in place, gluing sheets of rubber to paddles and whacking balls at one another." With golfing," said Rick Mueller, a 39-year-old dentist,"you only get to hit the ball once in a while. Here you hit balls all evening." https://pingpongstart.com/best-ping-pong-paddle-reviews/
Stick around the bar long enough, and you will learn more than hammering serves. Perhaps the most surprising part of aggressive Ping-Pong -- and the more than 240 table-tennis night clubs cloistered in ware houses, senior centers, bingo parlors and gymnasiums across the nation -- might be that it can lead a inquisitive eater into his next favourite meal. So I discovered from Lindsey Simon, a techie friend and avid Ping-Pong participant who recently transferred to San Francisco to work for Google." Lots of the men I play with do not necessarily have a shared youth," Simon explained,"so after Ping-Pong, food is the most common language"
For most of us, Ping-Pong is considered a pastime like air hockey, relegated into a (neglected) basement rec area, but outside America, Ping-Pong is practically as popular as soccer. Many gamers in Austin come in places like China, in which they can reach rock-star standing, in addition to in Southeast Asia, Japan and the Middle East.
"I have had a few of the most interesting and tasty meals of my entire life with those men," Mueller explained, referring to his buddies and many common opponents: Tuan-Anh Tran, a 27-year-old engineer; Lifeng Liu, a 47-year-old engineer; and Tai Ly, a 34-year-old wholesale distributor of Asian food items.
The Austin club is across the street from Tam Deli and Cafe, an unassuming Vietnamese restaurant and a convenient stop for prepractice banh mi, sandwiches served on French rolls. There are barbecued-pork and pote types, but the shrimp-and-egg sandwich -- steamed shrimp, hard-boiled egg, homemade lettuce, thinly chopped jalapenos, shredded lettuce, carrot and cilantro -- has developed a next. Then word got out about the tender pork buns and stellar shrimp and shredded yam cakes. Out-of-town tournaments also have led the players into some hot pot with lobster heads in Houston and caramelized eggplant with garlic in Chicago." I really like the eggplant dish so much that I learned to say it in Chinese, chiet-ze-bao," said Simon, who discovered a local variant at Asia Cafe.
As a cryptic menu doesn't always convey the flavors a dish delivers, the game of Ping-Pong is not easily translated into the uninformed spectator." The largest misconception about Ping-Pong is that it is a nonathletic sport, at the Category of tiddlywinks," stated Marty Reisman, who is 77 and states he holds 23 national titles." The classical game takes a player be as well trained as an Olympic athlete." But because the sport relies on the capability to read the spin of the ball up to on physical prowess, it tends to be a Fantastic equalizer." Remember when that guy got beat by the older man with Coke-bottle eyeglasses tied to his head from shoelaces?" Mueller asked friends during a clinic break. Tom Fleshman, a 46-year-old appliance repairman, nodded emphatically. " I got creamed by an 13-year-old Chinese woman," he said.
But the revenge-of-the-nerds game is poised for a makeover with the latest launch of"Balls of Fury," a movie inspired by Jan Waldner, the Swedish participant who came to be known as the Michael Jordan of Ping-Pong. To research the game, the director Robert Ben Garant and the manufacturer Thomas Lennon (who also wrote the film together) hung out in a club at the Koreatown district of South Los Angeles." You know how in Jackie Chan films you will find those scenes when the new individual walks into a bar, and all the heads turn?" Garant asks" That is what happened to us. It was the same vibe as those badass'70s martial-art movies." After a while, the filmmakers frequently followed the players to a local Korean barbecue restaurant." There was this Unbelievable salad of sliced octopus at a hot kimchee-like dressingtable, and sweet soju, a Korean spirit that pretty much tastes like moonshine," Garant says." The combination was terrific."
On a recent Wednesday evening after practice, the Austin players transformed into fresh T-shirts and led to Din Ho, a Chinese barbecue restaurant. In between bites of oyster omelet, sauteed snow-pea leaves, spicy beef with green onions and succulent shrimp and pork won tons, they joked about the restricted financial opportunities of the game (first prize in a tournament might mean less than $100)." On the upside, it is not Difficult to take classes from a national champion," Mueller said." Can you imagine this in tennis? Could you imagine saying:'Hey, Martina, are you going to play with me for an hour? I will give you 50 bucks.'" https://medium.com/@pingpongstart/best-ping-pong-tables-in-the-world-how-to-make-the-right-choice-5d49d274d1a9
Even if the winnings will not make the players rich, chances are there will probably always be a good meal round the corner.
Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
18 ounces Chinese eggplant (about 3 small), cut into 1/8-inch chunks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp fermented soybean paste
1 teaspoon hot chili paste
2 tbsp peanut oil
6 ounces ground pork
Hot steamed rice (optional).
1. Place the eggplant in a large bowl. Sprinkle all over with salt and toss. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves. Stir in * cup water, the garlic and the soybean and chili pastes.
3. In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the pork, season with salt and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate.
4. Dab eggplant dry with paper towels. At the wok, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium high until it just starts to smoke. Add the eggplant, and saute until lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the soy-sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. When the sauce thickens, add the pork and cup water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a lively simmer until the sauce thickens and the eggplant is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring periodically. Season to taste with salt. In the event you choose, serve with rice. Serves 3 to 4. Adapted from Asia Cafe in Austin, Tex..
Steak Chunk Steak With Lime-Pepper Sauce (Bo Luc Lac)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tbsp, plus 1/4 teaspoon, sugar
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
12 ounce flap beef, cut into 1-inch balls
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
Leaf lettuces, for garnish
Thinly sliced onion, for garnish
Sliced tomatoes, for instance
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp butter.
1. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, 1 tbsp of the sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce and stir till the sugar melts. Toss from the beef. Cover and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Make the lime-pepper dipping sauce by mixing the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sugar, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lime juice and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Taste and add more water if the sauce is too sour. Set aside.
3. Prepare a serving plate by covering it with a generous coating of leaf lettuce, celery, onions and tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt.
4. Heat the oil in a wok on over high heat until the oil smokes slightly. Add the butter, and stir just until the butter melts. Add the beef, and stir in a circular movement. Simultaneously utilize the back of a metal spatula to press the meat from the sides of the wok to char. Cook until the meat is browned but still gently pink in the center, about 7 minutes. (Avoid using the meat only boil from the liquid fat.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to the prepared.