Han Palace has a Dim Sum promotion from 8 am to 2 pm Thursday to Sunday. It’s apparently quite popular and I thought it was a dim sum buffet, but it’s not – it’s a la carte dim sum dishes for weekend mornings.
Han Palace is on the second floor of Grand Palace Hotel, Miri. I went there with Faye for some food before heading to the beach after just four hours of sleep compounded to a hefty sleep debt incurred during all the clubbing in Miri.
Han Palace is a Chinese restaurant, with an interior decor resembling…well, just about every other Chinese restaurants out there. I don’t know, y’all look alike to me. ;)
The tables are set with the standard napkin and Chinese cutlery – soup spoon and chopsticks, with a plate, saucer and Chinese tea cup. It doubles as a Chinese restaurant at night and the setting is what you would expect in similar joints, except Han Palace is doing a dim sum promotion brunch.
Tea is served the moment you are seated, with a waitress pouring out a hot cup with the blend of your choice for you. You can gaze at the tea leaves and attempt to predict your future by the way the tea leaves settle in the cup. There’s even a name for it – Tasseography. The divinations I gleaned from reading the tea leaves told me that this is a blend of Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) Tea and it would cost RM 4.10 ++ for the pot.
The dim sum is carted out from the kitchen regularly with fresh offerings straight from the dim sum chef. The push cart is heated and the waiter goes around to every table with the dim sum options for you to pick and choose. There is a card on the table that is marked accordingly with each dim sum dish that you take from the cart. It’s a good system that works.
There is also fried dim sum offerings in addition to the traditional steamed dim sum. This is presented on a separate cart by a different waitress so there’s two dim sum carts going around at any time – one with the steamed dim sum offerings and one with the fried dim sum options.
There is also a third cart, presumably manned by the head waiter, which has the premium dim sum offerings on it. This cart only comes out occasionally and the waiter will also take orders for a particular dim sum that you have a hankering for. It kinda works like a sushi train – except this one is the Dim Sum Cart (TM).
We picked a couple of dim sum baskets to begin with. Han Palace serves two kinds of dim sum – Steamed Hong Kong Dim Sum and Fried Hong Kong Dim Sum. Each item on the cart costs RM 4.35 ++ each. The standardized pricing is achieved by increasing or decreasing the amount and size of the items in the dim sum baskets.
This is the Steamed Phoenix Claw in Minced Garlic. Phoenix Claw is a euphemism for chicken feet. The Chinese eat a lot of the parts of the chicken that is shunned by other cultures. One other example is the Bishop Nose, which is the preferred euphemism for chicken’s ass.
This is the Chicken Cube with Dried Oysters and Prawns. It’s done Thai style, with sliced chilli on top. It tastes great but the portion is a little bit too small, probably due to the premium ingredients.
This is the Baked Mini Egg Custard Roll Spanish Style that the waitress recommended. It was surprisingly good – the custard is warm and practically drools out of the roll the moment you bite into it. Delicious!
This is the Shanghai Siew Long Pau. It’s a staple of dim sum where the meat is steamed inside the paper thin pau (requires careful handling) until the essence (juices) comes out in a form of soup inside the bun. You’re supposed to take a small bite and suck the soup out before consuming the rest of the bun in one bite.
This is the Fried Seafood Spring Roll and is served with a side of mayonnaise. It’s cut up into manageable pieces with a pair of scissors by the waitress before being served. This is not a strictly traditional dim sum dish but most dim sum offerings have local fusion influences anyway.
I was practically falling asleep at the table due to the considerable sleep debt I was running up during my trip to Miri. No, that isn’t an expression of ecstatic anticipation of a particularly delicious morsel of dim sum on my palate. It’s the manifestation of a post-lunch coma.
I figured I’ll be better off wearing Faye’s new RM 1,400 Gucci sunglasses to hide my less-than-presentable eyes from the combination of sleep deprivation and substance consumption. ;)
I did wake up when the dim sum cart with lo mai gai (Glutinous Chicken Rice) came over to our table though. This is another dim sum staple that is very popular.
Han Palace does a great lo mai gai but the best I’ve ever had was this microwave version that I got from the supermarket when I was probably 12 or so and have never found the product on the shelves since.
Han Palace has a wide range of freshly made dim sum during weekend mornings. The price range is affordable too, considering the hotel setting and it’s a nice place for some air-conditioned comfort while enjoying a friends/family gathering.