October 26, 2009

High end dim sum in my neighborhood

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A couple of friends were coming over to the Valley to check out Dim Sum (譽滿坊) for - what else - dim sum.  Thankfully there was a long wait (as is usually the case on weekends) so I was able to convince them to try out Sun Tung Lok (新同樂) just down the street.

Sun Tung Lok is a revered name in Cantonese cuisine in Asia, and will forever be associated with the bull market excesses of the 80s and 90s where punters regularly spent loads of dough dining on shark's fin, abalone, bird's nest while downing bottles of Cognac, Whisky or wine.  With the onset of the Asian Finance Crisis after 1997, the various outlets gradually closed down and it became all but a memory for some of us.

Then all of a sudden they reopened about two years ago just a block away from me, and I've been wanting to check it out ever since.  I wanted to finally see for myself whether it lives up to the hype (or the name).

Crystal prawn dumplings (水晶鮮蝦餃) - these were very, very good.  The prawns were fresh, firm and sweet.  The diced bamboo shoots inside were also nice and sweet.  Most importantly, the outer skin was soft yet able to keep the filling wrapped up inside.  We're off to a good start!

Pork and prawn siu mai (蟹子燒賣皇) - I didn't see - nor taste - the usual crab eggs on top.  Rather there were bits of tasty Chinese ham on top, and of course the whole siu mai was very yummy with bamboo shoots.

Steamed char siu bao (蜜汁叉燒包) - this was also really good, with delicious bits of real char siu and a nice, runny sauce inside.  So now I've got two restaurants in my neighborhood which does this very well.

Pan-fried rice flour rolls with home-made spicy sauce (XO醬煎腸粉) - I think we left this dish alone until it kinda cooled down, but it wasn't very popular with the crowd.  I thought it was not bad, but needed the extra serving of XO sauce to give it enough flavor.

Baked abalone puffs (特色鮑魚酥) - this was the waiter's recommendation and it took about 20 minutes to prepare.  I thought this was very good, too.  The nice puff pastry gave  way to fillings of abalone slices and mushrooms.  Very tasty indeed.

Steamed jade scallop dumplings (玉蘭帶子餃) - this was one of the highlights of the meal. The skin was as soft as the ones on the har gau (蝦餃), and inside was a delicious mix of diced scallops, kailan (芥蘭), crab eggs, bamboo shoots and minced ginger.  The combination was not just delicious, but also an interesting blend of textures - with a good mix of soft and crunchy ingredients.  I think most of us liked this.

Fragrant shogun oysters in claypot (奇香將軍生蠔煲) - the giant Japanese oyster was coated in corn starch, which reminded those of us who are Taiwanese (in the majority today) of oyster pancakes (蠔仔煎).  Interestingly there was liberal use of basil in the claypot along with glass vermicelli, probably to overpower any potential unplesant smells from the oysters.

Deep-fried salt water dumplings (金牌咸水角) - these were also much better than your run-of-the-mill dumplings from elsewhere.  The outer dough wasn't too oily, and was crispy and firm enough to the bite.  The filling included chives in addition to the usual mix of minced pork and other stuff, so the flavors were more intense.

Pan-fried soya pigeon (紅燒乳鴿) - this was not a small pigeon!  Unfortunately it came at the end of the meal, and we were all pretty stuffed.  I had a piece of the breast meat, which was reasonably tender.  But I wasn't terrible impressed, as the bird was a little lacking in flavor.  Perhaps I needed to dip it into the five-spice powder provided on the side?

We were pretty full to take in any dessert.  But I'm certain that I'll be returning to this neighborhood restaurant time and again for some high quality dim sum on the weekends, so I'll be trying out the desserts in the future.


Lambda said...

You should go with Changunnie to have "har gau" next time. She loves and knows her "har gau". She's improved, she'll share her food with you :)

Susan said...

Peter, this sounds delish! Must try.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I am Rachael from Ink Publishing. We publish inflight magazines for airlines all over the world. I am currently writing for Smile, the inflight magazine for Cebu Pacific. We have a little section called destination guides where we get locals to give our readers the low-down on countries we fly to. I was wondering if you'd be interested to do one for Hong Kong? Please email me at rachael.nonis@ink-publishing.com and i can brief you more there.


Anonymous said...

Where is the address, Peter?
Love the review!


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