I had a rather delicious start to the morning by having dim sum at around 7 am this morning. This is quite an unusual hour for me to be up on a Sunday morning. There is a very good reason for that though.
I didn’t sleep.
I have been up since I went to Lainey‘s birthday party since 8:30 pm on Saturday and spent 12 hours talking and nursing various alcoholic drinks (beer, cider, single malt, champagne, vodka) and shooting the breeze on a bewildering array of topics (to the casual listener) with Fresh, Gareth and Kim till dawn broke.
It’s been a long time since I did that. Heh. It was a lot of fun though and before crashing we headed to Jin Xuan in Puchong for dim sum.
Deep fried har kow
I usually don’t like deep fried dim sum but the har kaw (prawn dumplings) here are done quite well. No excessive crackly skin and it’s superb with a dash of mayonnaise. The ones with fu chuk (the soy bean byproduct) wrapped around prawns is good too – a nice variant of har kow.
Spare ribs (pai kuat)
This is really good as well. I like the ones that’s swimming in a pool of delicious marinate too:
It’s a bit hard to get at the meat, but when you do, it’s perfection.
Salted shrimp scallops
This one is pretty good as well. I’m a huge fan of shrimp in general so anything with it can’t really go wrong. It has bits of scallops, salted egg, and other stuff inside too.
Golden flowing bun
I don’t know how this translates in Cantonese. It’s supposed to be the piece de resistance in Jin Xuan and is a custard bun with bits of salted egg (?) that flows like lava when you break it open.
The savory taste of salted egg is surprisingly good in the sweet custard bun. It’s supposed to be really runny and despite multiple exchanges initiated by Gareth to get the perfect golden flowing bun – all of them was just a tad overcooked this morning.
However, if I didn’t know better I would have though it was excellent. I’m definitely going back again for the golden flowing bun. I bet it’ll be orgasmic if they get it right. However, we didn’t get charged for it due to the poor quality control so I guess it’s free dessert. Heh.
I totally crashed and slept for 9 hours when I got home. I had a total blast though. It’s a good thing tomorrow’s a public holiday. Have a great time everyone! :)
Tim Ho Wan is reportedly the best dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and even the concierge at our hotel recommended the place when we asked where we can eat dim sum.
I was already dead set on eating here before I even got to HK. I finally convinced the ex to head down to Mongkok to check out Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum on our very last day there. This is the outlet which received One Michelin Star!
You see, the problem was that the concierge told us that it’s the best dim sum in Hong Kong but you might have to wait up to 3 hours. I have heard about the legendary waiting time but also about the equally impressive food so I really wanted to go.
Tim Ho Wan has a lot of branches now but the original is in Mongkok. It is run by an ex Lung King Heen (a prestigious 3 Michelin star restaurant in Four Seasons Hotel) chef and the reason why it’s so popular with the locals is coz it’s cheap and delicious.
We waited for over an hour before we managed to get in – the menu is very limited and you choose what you want before you enter the restaurant. There’s a perpetual long queue in front of the dim sum shop. I think Tim Hou Wan has had some altercations with its neighbors coz everyone was told to keep within the confines and not stand in front of the shops beside it.
Anyway, we were finally seated in the extremely small and cramped dim sum restaurant. I love the ambiance though – it’s just people enjoying dim sum and you don’t feel pressured to leave (which I half expected).
Har Kow (Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings) – HKD 22
I loved it! I always like har kow, it’s an order I judge each dim sum place by and Tim Ho Wan did not disappoint. The prawns are huge and juicy and the wrap is delicate and thin. It’s perfection!
Steamed Chicken Feet With Black Bean Sauce – HKD 14
I like how the chicken feet came out just right. Dim sum is cooked fresh in Tim Ho Wan and the black bean sauce complements the chicken feet nicely. It has a spicy note from the chillies too! Delicious.
Braised Pig Knuckle in Sauce – HKD 15
Hmm…this was a major letdown. There’s more bone than meat or skin/fat and I’ve had much better braised pig knuckle in Malaysia. I would avoid this. It’s very meh.
Vermicelli Roll Stuffed with Pig’s Liver – HKD 16
OMG! This is like an orgasm in your mouth! It’s chee cheong fun, except it’s stuffed with pig liver.
Here’s what it looks like. Don’t be fooled by the simple presentation – the vermicelli roll wrapping is translucently thin and the pig liver is extremely creamy with a very rich mouth-feel. Highly recommended!
Steamed Rice with Beef and Pan-fried Egg – HKD 17
This was a mistake. I wanted to have the lou mai kai but my ex accidentally ticked this one instead coz she thought it was lou mai kai in Cantonese.
It was alright, but we didn’t come here to eat a rice dish.
The actual lou mai kai (sticky glutenous rice) looks like this – unfortunately it’s our neighbors and we didn’t know them well enough to ask for a bite. ;)
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork – HKD 14
This is what Tim Hou Wan is famous for. It’s their signature dish – almost everyone I saw ordered at least one basket of this. There are three buns in a basket and it’s not enough!
The bun is has a layer of crispy goodness and the rest is exquisitely soft and fluffy. I don’t know how they managed to achieve that texture complexity but it works very well. It’s basically a baked char siew pau but it’s so delicious that I was tempted to order more. The BBQ pork filling is sweet and savory, tender, done to perfection. I could eat this all year! You *have* to order this.
Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake – HKD 10
I don’t know what this is. The translation doesn’t even make sense but Jeanie told me that it’ll be delicious…and damn was she right!
It’s made with goji berries and Osmanthus flowers. Those are the only two things I could identify, but there’s a host of herbal goodies inside the jelly. You can taste the flowers and berries when you bite into the jelly – they’re whole and intact! It’s like drinking (eating?) tong shui that has been solidified into Jello. This chilled jelly is wonderful – a perfect ending to a near perfect meal.
Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum Specialists might be a tad overrated but it’s still great dim sum at unbeatable prices. It only cost us HKD 112 (about RM 46) for two, inclusive of tea. The baked char siew bun is absolutely fabulous!
However, be prepared to wait to get into Tim Hou Wan in Mongkok – it’s usually about an hour, so it’s not too bad. Also, the tables are really small so if you order a lot of non-stackable items, you’ll have to eat them really fast, lest you invade another table’s space. :)
Okay, this is one of the most interesting and unique things I’ve heard in a long time. There’s an 8 flavor xiao long bao course at Paradise Dynasty which includes premium fillings like black truffle and foie gras.
I couldn’t wait to try it when I first heard about the concept. I headed down to ION Orchard in Singapore yesterday with Lainey to meet up with Michelle and Ben just for this.
Paradise Dynasty claims to have the world’s first 8 flavored xiao long bao and you have to eat it in order. The restaurant is famous for it – the open kitchen is filled with cooks preparing it and a lot of patrons order this specialty.
The 8 different fillings are:
4. Foie Gras
5. Black Truffle
7. Crab Roe
…and you have to eat it in order to have the optimal experience. :D
The set costs SGD 13.90 and it’s well worth the price. I found the Garlic and Ginsengxiao long pao very flavorful, with the juices bursting from the skin as you bite into it. The Foie Gras and Black Truffle ones are suitably decadent and I loved the Crab Roe filling too.
However, I felt that the Cheesy xiao long pao should have been #7 as the overpowering taste of cheese can be a bit…well, overwhelming. The Szechuan deserves its final spot as the filling is extremely spicy (even for my desensitized taste buds).
It certainly is an epicurean adventure that you MUST try if you’re ever in Singapore. Thanks for brunch Ben and Michelle! :)
Feeling hungry but don’t want to go all the way to Singapore for some awesome food? Check out this MilkADeal offer:
It’s a great deal at RM 15 – there’s even soup, drinks and side dishes in addition to the authentic claypot chicken rice and it feeds 2! It’s an unlimited purchase and redemption offer that just debuted today and heaps of people have already gotten their hands on it. Where else can you get prices like this for good food in the Klang Valley? :)
It all started on Friday night at Brussels Beer Cafe. It was during this inspiring round of drinks that the impromptu trip hatched. I was supposed to meet Bonnie there and truth to be told I don’t even remember how I got to know her and inquiring minds want to know. I also had half a mind to FFK the drinks on Friday thing coz I was really sick but I’m glad I didn’t coz it turned out to be one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. :)
We were having drinks in Jaya One when I finally got around to around to asking her how we know each other. It turns out that we don’t. She reads my blog, added me on Facebook and it was a random and casual “Okay, let’s have drinks sometime” that led to this particular day. Bonnie turns out to be 22 (!!!) and she’s a student at Monash. She also acts part time in local productions.
Anyway, it seems that we have something in common so we were just talking and suddenly I thought about going on a road trip. It was 12 am at the time and the plan was to head down to Ipoh for the dim sum.
I’ll follow her car back, pick her up, and then head down to Ipoh and stay the night at a hotel before waking up for breakfast.
Losing my wallet
The first thing that went wrong was losing my wallet. I think what happened is that I took it out and used my credit card to pump gas. I remember leaving the wallet on the boot of the car and taking the receipt but I did not remember taking the wallet back into the car. I suspect my wallet was still on the boot when I drove off. FML.
I had about 1-2k inside but what’s worse is the MyKad, driver’s license (!!!) and credit cards which I have to replace.
I only realized it when I got to Ipoh coz when it came to the toll, Bonnie paid for it but I was puzzled as to where my wallet was – it was supposed to be on the dashboard. However, after a prolonged search when we arrived there, it was nowhere to be found. My car can be a black hole sometimes, but it’s still a confined space so after looking into every nook and cranny, the most plausible explaination is that I left it on the boot and drove off.
Naturally, without any money, Bonnie had to withdraw from an ATM and we went in search of a hotel.
She also took over the driving.
I think we went to 5-6 hotels but all of them were full. It was insane! There’s apparently some kind of military function going on there and it was about 5 am when we finally drove up to this dodgy looking place called Shanghai Hotel.
They had one room left and it was RM 40. I guess some would call it rustic and charming and maybe even full of character but it’s the kind of place where you’re afraid you’ll get syphilis, gonorrhea AND herpes just from sleeping on the sheets. >.<
This is what the hotel room looks like.
Anyway, my pillow had this really weird smell to it so I shared Bonnie’s pillow and we slept, fulling intending to wake up at 8 am in the morning.
It was 11 am when I woke up.
Foh San dim sum
This is what we were down in Ipoh for. Bonnie swears by the lam mei pau. It’s a bun that’s filled with fatty pork and it’s absolutely fabulous. It was well worth the drive down.
We also had some other stuff – my usual har kao (prawn dumplings) and a memorable dim sum made with juicy succulent prawns and salted egg yolk.
However, the lam mei pau was every bit as good as Bonnie said it was. We were afraid we’ve missed it but apparently even though the dim sim place tells you it’s no longer available, you can get it by going to the take away counter and ordering it.
Try it, and thank Bonnie (or rather, her mom) if it works. We even got a box to tapau back home.
Caption: Why drink canned Ipoh white coffee in Ipoh?
Anyway, since I didn’t have a license and Bonnie was rushing for her class, she drove down instead. It was an interesting experience to have someone else drive you car at 160 km/h and swerving through lanes to avoid traffic. It’s like a roller-coaster, without the safety features. ;)
Oh, and I also lost my rear bumper somewhere during the drive to Ipoh.
It’s not an epic weekend unless you’ve lost a car bumper, your wallet and all the identification in it, slept in a dodgy hotel and sped back to KL…and the weekend is still not over. Bonnie crashed at my place last night and helped me out with something I had to get done during the weekend.
I know it sounds like a tragic weekend, but it’s really an awesome one. Seriously, it’s not a havoc weekend unless you’ve lost something and now I’m driving with no driver’s license, MyKad and with a missing bumper.
Cop magnet much? This illegal PRC immigrant says yes. I’ve been diligently avoiding roadblocks so let’s hope I can keep up with that until Monday.
Clare has left for Kuching just now and bought me breakfast at Mitsu Tea House in lieu of sexual services rendered during her stay here. ;) I’m kidding of course, I was just little more than her personal driver during the week she was in Sibu.
Mitsu Tea House is just about the only place you can get decent dim sum in Sibu. There is an al fresco seating area at the bottom…
…and an air-conditioned enclosure at the first floor. Mitsu Tea House was totally packed this morning – it seems like it attracts the Sunday morning crowd in droves!
We finally managed to snag a table after a short wait and a waitress took our order. You can tell I woke up at an ungodly hour from my ruffled hair. I usually don’t do Sunday morning breakfasts. ;)
Mitsu Tea House has the ubiquitous dim sum carts doing the rounds but you can order a la carte from their menu as well.
Mitsu is one of the more successful eating establishments in Sibu with Mitsu Shabu Shabu offering Japanese cuisine and Mitsu Tea House with its impressive dim sum portfolio.
We ordered Chrysanthemum + Green Tea (RM 4 per pot), a mixture of two different tea leaves (and flowers). It came in a store branded teapot and cups, much like the eating receptacles over here.
Steamed Pork Meat and Abalone Sauce Buns. This is pretty good stuff…it’s a little like “little dragon buns” where the sauce is sealed in the bun pouch itself…
…and can be eaten as you eat oysters. Slurp it down. ;)
Lo mai gai (sticky glutenous rice) is another dim sum staple but Mitsu Tea House’s version disappoints. It was under flavored and lacking in carnivorous content.
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (har kau) was very good though. It has two shrimps in each dumpling and tasted exquisite!
We also had Baked Cream Custard Pastry from their Dim Sum Pastries menu and it was alright….tasted like a Portuguese Egg Tart.
Mitsu Tea House also serves noodles and we saw a lot of other tables ordering this. The waitress told us the Dry Fried Noodles with Beef was one of their specialties and we finished off the brunch with this carbohydrate laden dish.
Mitsu Tea House has just about the best dim sum you’re going to get in Sibu. It’s the only specialized dim sum place in town but be forewarned – the crowd can be oppressive. There wasn’t an empty table to be seen in the entire establishment!
Hmm…there’s something about tea leaf divination… ;)
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.
This is Fu Yu Kopi Shop at Sekama. It has a larger variety of dim sum and is famed for its fried prawn kolo mee.
The place has a wooden balcony type extension, that’s the best
seating arrangements for a breakfast…it’s nice, you can see the
bustling morning activity around you.
This is 99 Dim Sum, one of the stalls in Fu Yu Kopi Shop. The
proprietor is a friendly woman who has a large repertoire of dim sum
…as you can see here. The dim sums here are mostly one off i.e.
one of a kind, so when that dish is gone, it’s gone for the day.
I think we ordered five dishes but she forgot about one of
them…either that, or the one that we chose was out. There’s also
chili sauce provided, which goes well with some dim sums.
This is chicken bits in Thai chili sauce. It’s very nice and flavorful, with the chicken meat flavor infused through broiling.
Here’s a variant of siu mai which doesn’t contain pork, but a
conglomeration of other ingredients. It has mystery meat and other
This is a fish based dim sum wrapped in seaweed strips. It’s basically a large fish oblong.
I thought this was har kau, but it’s not. It’s a mostly vegetable
based dim sum…in fact, I didn’t think I tasted any meat in there.
Here’s the dish this place is famous for – prawn fried kolo mee. It
has two prawn fried batter pieces on top, but otherwise, it’s a normal
kolo mee. The fried prawn mini fillets were good though.
It’s a good place to have breakfast, with the al fresco (this term
should be banned in Malaysian food reviews, since most of our dining
establishments are al fresco by nature) balcony and the hustle and
bustle of the Sekama district.