PING pong. Beer. Dim sum. All great in their own right. But package them all together like a Shanghai dumpling and you’ve got yourself a night.
Firing one ball a second with excruciating levels of spin, even Gump would have struggled with this one.
On what was probably the stuffiest night of the year so far, not stuffy as in prim and proper gittishness, but stuffy as in 29°C with air so thick that you could sit your beer on it.
In which case, you may think that the last place you want to be is throwing yourself around a room with another 50 flustered folk chasing little silicone balls. You’d be wrong.
The thing is with table tennis, it’s like the racquet version of the Afghan brown sugar. Fairly easy to find, relatively inexpensive and dangerously addictive.
In fact, instead of methadone doctors should just prescribe a course of ping pong, three times a day for two weeks. We’d be junkie free in no time. We may even be able snatch away a medal or two from those pesky Chinese, all 100 million trillion of them.
I mean, it was our game in the first place, we just called it whiff-whaff? Didn’t we Boris?
Bonnie Yeung (daughter of Harry – interviewed here) of Yang Sing has teamed up the Chinatown stalwart with imported Chinese beer, Tsingtao (pronounced Ching Dow apparently) to create Manchester’s first ping pong residency, fusing the restaurant’s most popular dish, China’s widest-selling beer and the nation’s most popular sport.
Struggling to elbow our way on to one of the event’s ten tables we began by facing up against the most menacing looking piece of kit in the building, and that includes Harry’s giant Shun Chinese cleaver. This was the Dragon Master fire-breathing, smoke-puffing, ball-shooting robotic dragon, firing one ball a second at you with excruciating levels of spin.
Even Gump would have struggled with this one.
It is a well-known and globally recognised fact that the more beer you consume, the better you become at table tennis.
Granted all the evidence does point in the opposite direction, hand-eye co-ordination and what not, but much like darts (not pool), a few cold ones oil the machine, lubricate the joints, unleashes the sledging and blunts all sense of caution.
You play like a demon and sweat like a Turkish wrestlers jock-strap.
So once we’d forced our way on to a table, employing a continuous strategy of standing and staring until the current residents were too weirded out to carry on, we went hell for leather.
We missed itWhich is probably the reason why we missed the main round of dim sum – or at least we assumed we had, because by the time we’d finished ponging there was but prawn crackers and a little prawn toast left.
Oh well, I took solace in maintaining an undefeated streak and that the smallest Chinese woman I had ever seen placated my lust for dim sum by handing me her beer tokens. 谢谢小淑女 (thank you tiny lady).
Ping Pong Cha is on the first Thursday of each month and is FREE to attend (just register here). There will be some tables free to use but to guarantee a good go you can reserve a table online or on the night for £20 an hour (unlimited players).
The next event is Thursday 5 September at Yang Sing, Princess Street, 6pm till late.
There’ll be resident DJs, mini-tournaments and dim sum and beer can be bought on the night.
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