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Tag / dimsum

It’s two more weeks to Mid Autumn festival, a time where Chinese everywhere light up lantern, look at the fullest moon of the year, and gives each other mooncakes while attending those parties for the sake of their kids. Well, at least this is what traditional families in small towns do, in KL, maybe slightly less so.

Anyway, a week or so ago we went to Prince Hotel to sample their mooncakes for 2013 as well as some of their pork free dimsum. The mooncakes will be available now till 19th September, 2013.

Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL
Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL

Behind the Chinese restaurant at Prince Hotel KL, Tai Zi Heen is a chef who was trained both in traditional Chinese cuisine as well as Western cooking method. Thus, many of the dishes, including dimsum and mooncakes, are created with a bit of influence from the west.

While some might readily dismiss them as gimmicky or not “pure”, I always applaud chefs who dare to push the limit and create something out of the ordinary. After all, how would any cuisine improves if you only stick to what’s taught?

four types of steamed dimsum
four types of steamed dimsum 

We sampled four types of steamed dimsum.

My favorite being the purple spinach dumplings topped with Mexican clam, the taste of seafood and texture of those clam (something like in between lala & scallops) were really fantastic.

The prawn dumpling with crab meat and dried scallop as well as crystal yam dumpling with chicken and mushroom were both pretty good as well, with the latter come in a beautiful flowery shape.

The meatless choice of crystal vegetable and mushroom dumpling though, was a bit too bland for me, but perhaps those who are vegetarian would enjoy it more.

crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, crispy salmon & cheese roulade
crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives,
crispy salmon & cheese roulade

I enjoyed the fried dimsum here more than their steamed counterparts. Crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, as well as the crispy salmon & cheese roulade were all pretty creative and carry a taste that isn’t very typical of traditional fried dimsum, but in a good way.

I felt that ingredients such as cheese and salmon gave the dishes an extra edge and really went will the those soft crispy pastry.

shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks
shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks

The “xiao long bao” alternative here comes in a small bowl, and is definitely not “xiao” (small). Stuffed with crab meat and those sweet, savory broth, it was quite a treat.

The beef patties with leeks, mayo and teriyaki sauce seems like something out of a Japanese restaurant, and tasted as such as well. I was happy to have a bit of beef after the mostly fish and chicken dishes sampled above.

2013 mooncakes from Tai Zi Heen
2013 Tai Zi Heen mooncake collection

Then there’s the mooncakes, Tai Zi Heen’s mooncakes were all handmade in house, we sampled eight different varieties and just about the only problem I have is that they don’t have a version with double salted egg yolk! gahh.

Here are the flavors:

  • baked five variety of nuts, rum & raisin (with alcohol)
  • mini snow skin chocolate and whisky (with alcohol)
  • baked white lotus paste and single egg yolk
  • baked low-sugar white lotus paste with sunflower seeds
  • baked pandan paste with melon seeds
  • baked with red bean paste
  • mini snow skinw ith red bean paste
  • mini snow skin with pandan lotus paste and mung bean paste
  • baked premium durian lotus paste
  • mini snow skin with passion fruit cheese cake

Of all these flavors, I find the passion fruit cheese cake version to be most interesting and out of the ordinary. It tasted like a mix between really good sorbet and snowskin mooncake, in a good way. This is a must try if you’re adventurous. The traditional lotus paste with egg yolk version holds up with some of the bests I’ve tried as well.

KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah
KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah

A word of caution for Muslim friends, while the food is pork free, some of the mooncakes do come with small amount of alcohol; and as far as pork free dimsum goes, the dishes we sampled here were of pretty high standard and for sure, worthy of the dishes. I like the creativity and the different ingredients used as well.

For weekends and public holidays, they also run an ala carte buffet dimsum for RM 45++ which features 45 types of their best selling dimsum dishes.

map to Prince Hotel KL

Address:
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
GPS: 3.15041, 101.71467
Tel 03-2170 8888
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily

For those who loves dimsum and enjoys buffet at the same time, I’m sure it must have crossed your mind that someone should really come up with buffet style dimsum.

Well, Dorsett Grand Subang (formerly Sheraton) does just that, on every Sunday and Public Holiday, you can get eat-all-you-can dimsum brunch at The Emperor Chinese Restaurant. We had the luxury of sampling the spread at this five star hotel recently.

Emperor Chinese Restaurant, Grand Dorsett Subang
Emperor Chinese Restaurant, Dorsett Grand Subang

Dorsett is located just behind Sime Darby Medical Centre, accessible via Federal Highway, and while traffic can get a bit ugly during rush hours, you shouldn’t expect any trouble during Sunday/Public Holiday brunch hours.

Interior decoration isn’t the most modern nor overly antiquated, tables and chairs are nice and comfortable, but I’m not too into those carpet on the floor.

Anyway, lets talk about the food instead.

our dimsum spread, of course to be shared
our dimsum spread, of course to be shared

For RM 60++ per person (RM 30++ if you’re over 60, or between 5-12; 5 below eats free), the spread is certainly commendable. There are over a dozen different types of steamed dimsum for your choosing.

The usual suspects are all available, har kau, siu mai, fish ball, phoenix’s claws, ribs, char siu pau, shrimp chee cheong fun, pan fried vegetable pau, steamed chicken wings, and various other types of dumplings too.

This is a pork free establishment, but I must say that the chefs did a fine job in preserving the essence of dimsum taste despite not using pork. The major ingredients here are prawns, chicken, and in a few dishes, beef.

deep fried items, soup, desserts, and more
deep fried items, soup, desserts, and more

If deep fried items is what you crave, they have deep fried prawn rolls with cheese (yes they ooze out!), yam puff with BBQ chicken (instead of pork), sui kok, shrimp dumpling, egg tart (super soft), baked century egg with pickled ginger in pastry, and sesame balls. There is also a decent selection of desserts as well, these include peanut soup, cakes, mango pudding, herbal jelly (my favorite), and Chinese pan-cake.

the wu kok, or yam pastry, turned out to be pretty good despite having chicken and yam as the substitute to the traditionally pork and yam filling.

bean curd, oyster, brocolli, prawns, deep fried fish, noodle
bean curd, oyster, brocolli, prawns, deep fried fish, noodle

Those who want a bit of a departure to dim sum can opt for main dishes as well. While the exact dishes may vary from week to week, there’ll usually be noodle, poultry, meat, bean curd, vegetables, and at least two seafood dishes. I only tried the broccoli and bean curd this session, and was not disappointed.

wantan soup, fried pau, yong tau foo, chicken charsiu pau
wantan soup, fried pau, yong tau foo, chicken charsiu pau

Last but not least, there’s also a “live action” barbecue stall stationed within the restaurant where you can get roast duck, roast chicken, and chicken chasiu, all served with traditional condiments. The roast duck wasn’t exactly the standard you’ll find at places such as Loong Foong or Sunrise, but they are more than decent.

KY, Haze, Umei, Josen, Derek, Chris, & Elaine at Grand Dorsett Subang
KY, Haze, Umei, Josen, Derek, Chris, & Elaine at Dorsett Grand Subang

For those who have a healthy appetite and long for a slow and sumptuous dimsum dinner on a lazy Sunday morning, The Emporer at Dorsett  Grand Subang certainly won’t be a disappointment. I think it is also a very good location if you have guests who prefer a pork free meal. RM 60++ is pretty fair for what you get.

Furthermore, for those with kids, there’s a sort of “day care” activities going on right outside the restaurant, with clown and such to keep your kids entertained while you attack the buffet line.

map to Grand Dorsett hotel, Subang Jaya

Address:
The Emperor
Dorsett Grand Subang
Jalan SS12/1,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.079211, 101.595999
Tel: 03-5031 6060 ext 1954
Hours: Sundays & Public Holidays 10 am – 2:30 pm

A couple weekends ago we were invited to the opening of Royal Flush Chinese Restaurant, the latest venture from the group behind Tom Dick and Harry, Hoofed, and Ali, Muthu, and Ah Hock.

Located at the relatively new Oasis Square at Ara Damansara, Royal Flush sits within a  grand three story building that could easily be mistaken as a shrine or palace. The interior lived up to the positive first impression of the building from the outside, it is beautifully furnished with what you’d expect from a classy Chinese eatery.

Update: This place is permanently closed

Royal Flush Chinese Restaurant at Oasis, Ara Damansara
Royal Flush Chinese Restaurant at Oasis, Ara Damansara

Five private rooms sits above the common dining hall on the ground floor, and there’s an outdoor rooftop moonlit garden as well. I was well impressed of the ambiance the place.

crispy spring rolls
crispy spring rolls

We were first treated with some tidbits before dinner officially kicks off. The crispy spring rolls tastefully presented on a bed of sprouts, it was crunchy on the outside and moist within, we made quick work of them with ice cold beer.

cucumber with pork floss and chestnut, "twin cold combination"
cucumber with pork floss and chestnut, “twin cold combination”

Cucumber with chestnut and pork floss probably took a hint from Japanese cuisine with it’s sushi-like presentation, but tasted distinctively Chinese. Combination of meat with the freshness of cucumber and the crunchy chestnuts worked well.

After these two dishes, our dinner from the 9-course Chinese New Year menu officially starts.

First to be served was “twin cold combination“. The oyster shot was delicious – fresh juicy oyster in a special light sauce that has Japanese soya sauce, lemon, and other touches in it’s list of ingredients. The shellfish, on the other hand, is served with kiwi fruits and tomato. I liked the seafood but am allergic to kiwi, so perhaps missing from the total experience.

dimsum combination, grilled scallop bacon
dimsum combination, grilled cod fish, grilled scallop bacon

The second dish was dimsum combination, with xiao long bao, fish ball, and siu mai. These measures up to some of the better dimsum dishes I tried.

Cod fish is one of my favorite seafood, and the execution from the chef in this grilled cod fish dish did not disappoint. The exterior lightly charred with a taste of honey, it was exquisite and delicious.

Grilled bacon scallop had it’s origin from pigs in blanket, with the scallops successfully elevate the status and sophistication of this otherwise simple dish. A couple grilled ginko nuts were served on the side to provide some balance.

grilled pork ribs
grilled pork ribs

The third grilled (and final) grilled dish was the grilled pork ribs. It was sweet, succulent, and would certainly please any pork loving diner. While the dishes might not look heavy, we were starting to get a little bit full by this dish.

asparagus, abalone fried rice
asparagus, abalone fried rice

A simple dish of asparagus with bonito flakes provides the comfort to your mom that something green is consumed, and the main dishes is capped off with abalone fried rice that’s served with a beautiful whole scallop in the middle. Of course, there was no way I was going to waste this, it was soft, succulent, and how abalone should taste like.

doubled boiled bird's nest, KY & Haze
doubled boiled bird’s nest, KY & Haze

The two desserts served together in this RM 1,200 CNY set menu (for 10 pax) were double boiled bird’s nest and crystal peanut dumpling. Dinner was well satisfying with very good food and excellent company, if I had to nitpick, the only criticism I can think of would be the lack of traditional soup in the CNY menu. Then again, you can always order that separately

Royal Flush promises a wide variety of other dishes – including geoduck, suckling pigs, yee sang, and more, many of these would be bold and modern interpretation of traditional dishes, while others, closer to the origin. If the quality is consistent to what we experienced over this review session, Royal Flush would be a force to reckon with in the higher end Chinese cuisine market.

map to Oasis, Ara Damansara

Address:
The Royal Flush
Central Piazza, Oasis Square Ara Damansara,
2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.11352, 101.574612
Tel012-211 7810, 016-2912 737, 012-299- 7598

Last weekends I attended an event organized by Open Rice at Grand Millennium Hotel’s Lai Ching Yuen thanks to the invitation from Marcky, a friend who is associated with the project, and someone who definitely loves to eat.

chef Kong of Lai Cheng Yuen showing off his skills
chef Kong of Lai Cheng Yuen showing off his skills

Lai Cheng  Yuen is famous for it’s dimsum, and our host was the very friendly Chef Kong, a dimsum chef 28 years. Some of chef Kong’s signature dishes are the steamed siew mai with fresh scallop, deep fried bean curt roll with prawns, and mini durian tart.

On that day, however, we were in a treat for something different. Dimsum is usually associated wit seafood and pork as main ingredients, but Chef Kong wanted to show us that you can make yummy dimsum using all vegetarian ingredients too.

we got to try our hands on making dimsum
we got to try our hands on making dimsum

Even better, right after the cooking demonstration, we got to get our hands dirty and make our own dimsum as well.

The good chef prepared the all important dimsum skin from scratch (they do this everyday at Lai Ching Yuen) using Hong Kong flour as the main ingredient. The filling of the dimsum was prepared from the combination of carrot, mushroom, sengkuang, celery, bokchoi, and more.

these are all vegetarian dimsums
these are all vegetarian dimsums

After the cooking demo, we were served 5 different vegetarian dim sum dishes chef Kong prepared on the spot. These were the pan fried soft bun with mixed vegetable, deep fried yam ring with mixed fruits, vegetarian lot mai fan, chee cheong fun, and a transparent sort of sui kao.

vegetarian chee cheong fun, lor mai fan, and the last 2 pieces, we made
vegetarian chee cheong fun, lor mai fan, and the last 2 pieces, we made

The dishes were pretty good, and I suppose as close as you can get to tasting like real dim sum without any hint of meat or seafood ingredients. This is perfect for vegetarians who prefer real vegetarian foods instead of those menu that’s filled with fake meat & fake seafood that is popular in Chinese vegetarian offerings (always irks me especially for those who do it for religious purposes).

the five dimsum dishes we sampled
the five dimsum dishes we sampled

Unfortunately we did not get to try dim sum from Lai Ching Yuen’s normal menu, but judging from chef Kong’s expertise  in this demonstration, I am pretty sure that they won’t disappoint.

At the end of the event, I won a lucky draw – lunch buffet for two at  The Mill, Grand Millennium, and Horng walked away with a handsome voucher of RM 800+ from Slimming Sanctuary. Yuki should be happy about it. 😀

Address:
Lai Ching Yuen
160 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14791, 101.71222
Tel: 03-2117 4180

As a pork loving guy, there are two types of breakfast that will always make me happy. The first is of course, bak kut teh, and the other? Proper Hong Kong style dimsum.

And when it comes to dimsum, there are plenty of choices to be had in town, but few offers as many variety as Jin Xuan (锦选). Ever since it started operation a few years ago, the restaurant steadily picked up its pace and has become one of the most popular dimsum destinations among PJ dwellers.

and these golden custard buns, heaven!
these golden custard buns, heaven!

Situated at Damansara Jaya right next to the mall that used to be Atria, getting a parking space is usually quite a lot less troublesome than getting a table on weekends. They have, however, a decent numbering system and waiting area under the tent, and with a few opportunistic traders offering fruit rojaks and soya bean drinks around the vicinity, the wait is usually not too tough to bear.

dim sum goodness at Jin Xuan
dim sum goodness at Jin Xuan

Once seated, like all dimsum places, ordering is usually not necessary. Servers carrying various types of dimsum will appear right in front of the table, all you need to do is to pick what you want and start eating.

Like in conveyor belt sushi restaurants, the pricing of each dish is determined by the type of plate used, this removes the need for having the server jotting down what you get on a piece of paper like what some dimsum places practice. Quite a lot more efficient.

some of the fried stuff, the scallop with salted egg is a must try
some of the fried stuff, the scallop with salted egg is a must try

There are a few broad categories of food you can order here. Steamed dimsum, deep fried dishes, various types of bao (steamed buns), porridge/chee cheong fun, and even a few non-dimsum related dishes.

and of course, they have the whole selection of everything dimsum
and of course, they have the whole selection of everything dimsum

Most of the dishes at Jin Xuan that I’ve tried were very yummy, with a few that are fantastic, or if you like – must tries.

To me, the number one item on the list must be their fried scallop with salted egg. I’m not sure if you can get this anywhere else, this is the only place I had this dish and absolutely love it.

The “lau sar pau” is another yummy dish that I always have. Another salted egg based item, but in liquid form flowing out all hot and tasty when you bite it down. yums!

Other commendable dishes are their fried chicken wings, porridge, and the classic dimsum items.

Prepare to spend about RM20 per person and an hour of your morning and I’m sure you’ll start your day on a good note.

map to jin xuan hong kong dimsum restaurant

Address:
Jin Xuan Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant
59, 61, 63, Jalan SS22/19,
Damansara Jaya,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
GPS: 3.12708, 101.61549