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Your Guide To Different Types of Dimsum

Growing up, my favourite part about weekend mornings was when my parents brought me out for a dimsum breakfast. I loved the hustle and bustle of the dining floor, filled with the chatter of patrons and the clink of plates and chopsticks. I loved the towering baskets of bamboo steamers piled up high on carts that were wheeled to each table, where diners got to pick out their favourite items. But most of all, I loved savouring the dimsum itself: delicious bite-sized morsels that are either steamed, fried or baked. It’s no wonder the literal translation for dimsum is ‘touch the heart’! 

As an adult, I still love dimsum, and even though the pandemic has changed the way we dine, I still find myself getting dimsum for takeaway every now and then to satisfy my cravings. 

For those unfamiliar with Cantonese cuisine, ordering dim sum can feel like a daunting task, what with the bewildering array of choices available. But fret not: here’s a handy dimsum guide that will help you to tell your siew mai apart from your siew loong bao (and perhaps impress your Cantonese friends while you’re at!) 

**Spellings may differ slightly depending on which country you’re from; I’m using the versions most common to where I live. Also, I’ve only listed 12 types; otherwise this would turn into a compendium lol. 

Har Gao 

Matt @ PEK, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can’t go to a dimsum resto and not order a basket of har gao. These shrimp dumplings are distinguished by their slightly translucent wrapper and delicate pleats. The wrapper is made from rice flour, which gives it a slightly chewy texture that contrasts perfectly with the juicy, crunchy shrimps enveloped within. A good har gao should not stick to the bottom of the steamer, and the skin should be thin enough to see-through, but thick enough that it doesn’t break when you lift it with your chopsticks. 

Siew Mai 

Blenpeams, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Next to har gao, siew mai is another must-have at every table. Like the har gao, the siew mai is also a ‘dumpling’, but a different kind altogether. The filling typically contains ground pork and whole or chopped shrimp, sometimes paired with ingredients such as mushrooms, chives, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts (for that added crunch). The wrapper is made from lye dough and is either yellow or white; sometimes it has a slightly sweet taste. To garnish, crab roe or diced carrot is used to form a dot at the top of the dumpling. 

Char Siew Bao 

Takeaway, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These barbecued pork buns are my husband’s favourite. In the Philippines, where the hubs is from, they are known as siopao, and the pork filling is usually red in colour. Here in Malaysia, a dark filling is more common; although tastewise, I think they are quite similar. The filling is savoury with a hint of sweetness, thanks to the marinade of oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and roasted sesame seed oil. 

Although char siew bao looks similar to baozi (traditional Chinese steamed buns), the texture of the former is different, as the dough uses yeast and baking powder as leavening, making it dense but fluffy. 

Siew Loong Bao 

While the name means ‘mini basket buns’, siew loong bao (or xiaolongbao) are actually soup dumplings. Traditionally a dish from Jiangsu, it is often associated with Shanghainese cuisine. The dumplings are also very popular in Taiwan, thanks to brands like Din Tai Fung, who have also popularised it in the West, so much so that they are sometimes called Taiwanese soup dumplings. 

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So, how does one fill a dumpling with soup? Chefs use a solid meat aspic (sort of like a gelatin cube), which they stuff together with ground pork into the thin wrapper before steaming. The heat from the cooking process then melts the aspic, creating a savoury soup. There’s supposed to be a ‘proper’ way to eat siew loong bao; ie you poke a hole in the skin, slurp up the soup, put a couple of ginger slices on then dip it into vinegar before consuming whole – but I say food is to be enjoyed, so eat it as you like. Just don’t burn your tongue on hot soup! 

Fung Jao (Phoenix Talons) 

A lofty name for chicken feet braised with black bean sauce. Some consider it a delicacy, and if you’re not used to eating parts like feet, this dish might be a tad … adventurous. The black bean sauce is savoury and sweet, masking any unpleasant odours. There’s not much meat on the feet, but plenty of skin, cartilage and tendons, so if you enjoy gelatinous textures, then dig in. If you’re really skilled, take a big bite – then elegantly spit out the small bones. 

Har Guen 

Since Canton (Guangdong) is close to the sea, a lot of dishes in Cantonese cuisine use seafood. Har Guen, or fried shrimp rolls, is one of them. Shrimps are wrapped with dried beancurd sheets (fu pei) into rolls, then deep fried to crispy perfection. To suit modern tastes, dimsum shops often serve them with dips like mayonnaise and garlic chilli sauce. 

Chee Cheong Fun 

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Many dimsum items are bite-sized, so if you’re looking for something more substantial, there’s chee cheong fun, ie steamed rice noodle rolls. The name actually means ‘pig intestine noodles’, since they look like pig intestines. Chee cheong fun starts off as a ‘sheet’: a mixture of rice flour, tapioca or glutinous rice flour plus water is poured over a special flat pan. The heat causes it to solidify;  it is then rolled into its signature long shape and sliced. The noodles are very versatile, and different places serve different versions, but the ones you find at dimsum shops are usually served plain and drizzled over with soy sauce, or stuffed with shrimp (no surprise) or barbecued pork. Here in Malaysia, dimsum restos often add sambal or chilli on top. 

Lo Mai Gai 

brown_colour, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

My dad and brother are typical Asians. Rice is a must have at every meal, which is why they always order this glutinous rice dish whenever we have dimsum. Traditionally, the rice, together with ingredients like mushroom, Chinese sausage and pork is wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed, giving it a fragrant aroma – but modern versions use an aluminium foil bowl so that it’s easier to remove (sourcing for lotus leaves is probably an expensive endeavour too). The rice has a chewy texture with a sticky ‘glaze’ to it. 

Lo Bak Go

jasonlam, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Lo bak” refers to carrots, but these savoury ‘cakes’ are actually made from Chinese radish. Water, rice flour and starch is added to mashed radish roots to form squares, which are then deep fried. Sometimes ingredients like dried shrimp, dried mushrooms, Chinese sausage and jinhua ham are added to give it more flavour. The starch/flour gives the cakes a crisp, brown coating, whilst retaining a soft but solid consistency throughout. Chao lo bak go is essentially the same, but stir fried with vegetables like bean sprouts and chilli instead of deep fried. 

Lao Sar Bao 

My personal favourite, lao sar bao (molten lava bun) is a relatively new creation to grace the menus of dim sum restaurants. Popularised in recent years due to the salted egg yolk custard craze, these steamed buns are soft and fluffy with a sweet and creamy filling of mashed salted egg yolks. The filling is a wonderful balance between sweet and salty, and although it has a sandy texture on the tongue (due to the egg yolk mash), it still slides down your throat effortlessly. There’s almost a sensual quality when you tear the buns apart and watch as the filling oozes out. Hmmh. 

Wu Kok 

Haha169, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Deep fried yam puffs? Comfort food at its best. The pastry has a croquette-like texture, in that it’s flaky and crumbly rather than firm like other types of deep fried dumplings. At first bite, you get a light and crispy texture on the outside, before moving on to the smooth, paste-like consistency of the yam. Finally, there’s the juicy centre of moist pork and vegetables. 

Daan Tat 

Of course, we can’t round off the meal without dessert. Dan taat, or Cantonese egg tarts are inspired by English tarts and the Portuguese pastel de nata; a vestige of British colonial influence in Canton / Hong Kong, as well as Portuguese influence in Macao. While dan taat isn’t traditional dimsum per se (it was only sold beginning the early 20th century), it is a staple on many dimsum restaurant menus today, as well as in Hong Kong-style char chaan tengs (coffeeshops). Making the pastry is tedious process, as it requires multiple folding to get that flaky texture, and a careful baking process to ensure the custard is perfect. I can’t imagine a more fitting dessert to end a dim sum feast. 

And there you have it! This is by no means a comprehensive guide: there are literally dozens if not over a hundred different types of dimsum, some of which even I have not tasted before. But hopefully, if  you haven’t been to a dimsum resto before, this will give you a better idea of some dishes to order and make the experience less intimidating. 

Happy feasting! 

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Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay To Open First Restaurant in Malaysia in June 2021

Gordon Ramsay may be known for his fiery persona on shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares – but with 16 Michelin stars and dozens of restaurants around the globe, you can’t say the man doesn’t have the chops.

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Come June 2021, Malaysian foodies will be in for a memorable dining experience, as Sunway City Kuala Lumpur has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Gordon Ramsay Restaurants to open the chef’s first ever restaurant here in Malaysia.

Blending culinary brilliance and eclectic entertainment, the Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill is the first concept to be implemented outside of its original outlet in Mayfair, London, and it is set to serve all-day dining fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a chic and contemporary setting.

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Photo rendering: via Sunway Resort

While the menu has yet to be finalised, it seems that Malaysians can look forward to some of Ramsay’s signature dishes, such as his world-famous Beef Wellington (apparently Ramsay’s version of the baked pie features fillet steak with layers of prosciutto, savoury chive crepe and Dijon mustard, wrapped in puff pastry), as well as Sticky Toffee Pudding.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Beef Wellington. Photo via masterclass.com

It seems fitting that Ramsay has chosen Malaysia as the launchpad for his next expansion. The chef has visited Malaysia several times for his travel shows – like for Gordon’s Great Escape (2011) where he helped at a Buddhist temple to serve vegetarian food to then prime minister Najib Razak, learned how to make rendang from local chef Aunty Aini, and competed in a local cooking contest. He returned in 2018 for another show, Uncharted, following locals into the caves of Malaysian Borneo to harvest bird’s nest.

Although the restaurant’s opening is still a few months away, bookings are already full for the month of June – so if you’re looking to secure a slot before the end of the year, go to sunwayhotels.com/sunway-resort/dining/gordon-ramsay-bar-and-grill.

Just don’t ask for any idiot sandwiches.

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BarBQ Plaza’s Unlimited Refill Is A Meat-Lover’s Dream

Mookata, commonly called Thai-style barbecue, comes from the words mu (pig/pork) and kratha (pan/skillet). Believed to have been inspired by Mongolian and Korean barbecues, the concept was first popularised in Thailand – and has since spread across Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, you will find many mookata joints, usually non-halal, that serve pork, seafood and meat, to be sizzled on a dome-shaped pan oiled with lard. All the juices from the grill then drips down into a shallow, surrounding ‘ring’ around the edges of the pan which contains soup – essentially flavouring it with whatever you’ve cooked and giving you an umami bomb unlike any other. Also, hotpot + grill in one? Genius idea.

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While mookata joints are now a dime a dozen in Kuala Lumpur, one of the pioneers to enter the Malaysian market was BarBQ Plaza. They have not waned in popularity ever since, and currently have 18 outlets across Peninsular Malaysia, including one in IOI Mall Puchong. H and I came here for a late lunch after work, and since we were both famished after skipping breakfast, we decided to go for their All You Can Eat Refill promo, which is only available on weekdays.

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There are two tiers: the Super Refill (RM46.90 for members, RM49.90 for non-members) lets you order everything on the menu, while the Happy Refill (RM35.90 for members, RM39.90 for non-members) gets you items on the bottom only. Personally, if you’re on a budget, I think the Happy Refill is good enough, but if you like a bit more variety, then the Super Refill is worth the extra 10 bucks. Both sets come with a ‘starter’ of either pork or beef; and then you can add on whatever you want, no limits. Drinks and desserts are also included, although you’re basically just limited to honey lemon, green tea, coke and ice-cream.

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H and I were on a mission: to satisfy our pork cravings. So we started off with the pork set, which came with a side of udon and some vegetables.

The thing about BarBQ Plaza is that the meat is always sliced really thinly (so that it grills easier), but that also means that you rarely feel satisfied, and it always leaves you wanting more. With unlimited refill, you get 90 minutes to pack as much protein as you can.

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The restaurant gave us generous amounts of lard to oil the surface and ensure the meat doesn’t stick.

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I know it’s super unhealthy (which is why you should eat this once in a blue moon, or for celebrations!), but I highly recommend getting the Mozzarella Bacon. The cheese sticks to the pan, so I suggest grilling one side of the bacon first before putting the topping on the other side, so you get nice, crispy edges and a gooey centre. Speaking of which, I like my bacon to be chewy rather than crispy, which the Hubs deems blasphemous. How do you like your bacon?

(Also pictured) Cheese tofu, smoked duck, regular bacon, pork slices.

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To break the monotony of meat, we also ordered squid and a couple of seafood items like clam, prawn and fish. They were out of everything though, except for the squid.

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Round 2: More Mozzarella bacon, more smoked duck, and Thai-style pork. There’s barely any sauce though so we couldn’t really taste the ‘marinade’.

BarBQ Plaza’s in-house special sauce is really something. I’m not even sure what they make it from, but it’s like crack lol. Especially when you add in garlic. It’s sweet and savoury, and helps to cut through the greasiness so you can eat more.

Now, I know that buffets sell you the illusion that you can get your money’s worth, since you’re basically limited to how much you can eat – but most people can’t eat that much, and buffets have done that calculation. How else are they going to turn a profit?

This time, though, I think it’s score one for Eris and H. Our bill came up to RM55 per pax, and I felt like we ate our money’s worth lol. It’s a shame about the seafood items. They also didn’t have dessert. Pro tip: come at 11AM; that way you can avoid the lunch crowd and they wouldn’t run out of items.

That being said, there are a couple of things that the IOI Mall outlet can improve on. They were understaffed, with only 2 servers on the floor, so it took some time for them to serve our tables whenever we requested for refills. Also, instead of telling us that some of the items had run out, the first server simply brought whatever they had out – so we kept thinking they had forgotten the items and kept ordering them on our next chit.

BARBQ PLAZA (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

Lot FS09- FS11, 1st Floor, IOI MALL, Jalan Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Business hours: 11AM – 10PM (daily)

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La Casa, Verve Suites Mont Kiara

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With its sleek wood accents, spacious interior and warm yellow lights, La Casa at Verve Suites, Mont Kiara is a cosy chill out spot that’s perfect for an intimate dinner with the significant other, or brunch with friends over coffee and conversations. The place is popular with the expat crowd as well as locals for its Western dishes the likes of pastas, pizzas, steaks, sandwiches and more. They also have a selection of Asian offerings, such as Japanese rice bowls. I rarely venture to Mont Kiara since it’s so far from my place, but I came here to meet up with some ex-colleagues for a small Christmas get together.

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PS: Sorry for the ugly photo. Quality of my phone’s camera has been deteriorating, especially when taking pictures indoors and at night. 😦 Would love to change it but I guess it’s not a need, more a want lol.

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Hot chocolate. Frothy, smooth as sin, and not too sweet.

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J ordered the unagi rice bowl, which she apparently does whenever she visits. The bowl came with a huge block of grilled unagi (eel), as well as Japanese-style eggs and a side of vegetables.

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S had pasta alle vongolle, featuring a generous heap of clams and lots of garlic.

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I went for buttermilk fried chicken, which came with a mountain of sweet potato fries, a side of salad and housemade anchovy cream sauce. Was a tad disappointed with the chicken; the inside was not cooked thoroughly and it didn’t smell fresh. The skin was quite soggy too. Only saving grace was the fries, which were nice and salty/sweet, and the anchovy sauce.

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For the sweet-toothed, there are a variety of cakes and desserts you can try out! 🙂

The staff was kind enough to move us to another seat when we accidentally spilled some juice onto the table. We ended up spending quite a long time in the cafe catching up on things. There wasn’t supposed to be a gift exchange, but since I had been shopping recently, I got them some items, and they also bought me some treats!

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LA CASA

Verve Shops Mont’ Kiara, G-5, Grd Floor, No. 8, Jalan Kiara 5, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Business hours: Mon – Fri (10AM – 11PM), Sat-Sun (9AM – 11PM)

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I Finally Tried Hai Di Lao: Was It Worth The Hype?

Would you line up for THREE hours just to eat hotpot?

Well, that’s what a lot of people do on a regular basis at Hai Di Lao, the popular Chinese hotpot chain famed for its spicy malatang soup. Founded in 1994, the restaurant has over 935 outlets all across the world, including in Malaysia.

When the chain opened its first shop in Sunway Pyramid back in 2019, the hype was insane. Reservations were fully booked for months, and if you wanted to try the queue, you had to go early to get a number. People recounted how they had to queue in the morning just to get a slot for the afternoon, or if that wasn’t possible, for the evening session. If they ran out of numbers for the day… well, tough luck.

Photo via Hai Di Lao Malaysia Facebook.

While you don’t have to remain in queue the entire time (they give you a sheet with a QR code where you can check your status), it’s still pretty mind-boggling that you have to wait that long just for a seat. That’s why they have things like a popcorn machine and snacks at the waiting area to keep you entertained while you wait. Yep, you read that right – they give you food to eat while you’re waiting to eat food lol.

Now, I like good food as much as the next person – but the longest I’ve ever waited for a table was 40 minutes. No way I was going to waste three hours of my life for a bite, which is why I’ve never tried it no matter how many glowing reviews I read about it on the internet.

Recently, however, foot traffic has fallen in a lot of malls due to the pandemic – and I was finally able to try the Hai Di Lao at Sunway Velocity Kuala Lumpur. There wasn’t even a line, so we breezed in and were served within 10 minutes! If you’re like me and hate queueing, but have always been curious about what makes this hotpot chain so popular, now is a good time to try it.

Video here:

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The restaurant is massive, airy and well ventilated. I think it can easily seat 200 people or more, but only half of the floor space was open for diners during our visit. It was pretty quiet too for a Saturday, and there were loads of empty tables.

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Hai Di Lao is famed for its impeccable service, which starts from the moment you step through the door. Some places even offer complimentary manicures and massages!

We were led to our table, where H was given a hair band to tie up her long hair, and I was given lens wipes for my glasses. Each section has a few dedicated wait staff. Our server was friendly and helpful; she first asked if this was our first time, then proceeded to explain how to order food from the tablet menu.

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Before anything else, you have to choose a soup base. Unlike conventional hotpot places which offer a maximum of two flavours, Hai Di Lao has a unique four-compartment pot which allows you to pick up to four different soups. You can, of course, go for the traditional one or two compartments, but take note that the larger the compartment, the pricier the soup is.

H and I were discussing on how best to save on the soup when the server recommended we get the four-compartment one, but pick two soups. “I can fill the other two with plain water.” she said. That way, each soup base would only cost us RM10. If you change your mind later, they can fill in the ’empty’ slots with a soup of your choice for RM8.

HDL’s signature is the malatang (a spicy, numbing chilli-based soup popular in the Szechuan region), but since I’m not a big fan, we opted for tomyum as well as the local exclusive, pepper with pork stomach.

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Sauces are not complimentary; you’ll have to pay RM8 if you want them. There’s a good variety, though. Aside from the usual vinegar and soy sauce, they also offer unique sauces like mushroom, seafood, sesame, shacha (peanut and spices), oyster and more.

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All items on the menu are available in half or full portions. Half portions are recommended for 2 people. We ordered pork belly, cheese tofu, bursting pork balls, octopus, cabbage and radish.

The main highlight at HDL is the soup, and the ones we ordered delivered. I especially liked the pepper pork stomach soup: it was chock full of ingredients, had just the right amount of peppery kick, and was creamy and flavourful. All of the items we ordered were fresh, although I think the pork belly could have been slightly thicker. The bursting pork balls were springy and juicy as well. We also ordered a plate of pork neck (not pictured), which I recommend if you like fatty cuts.

HDL has a wide variety of ingredients to choose from: aside from pork, you can also go for lamb, chicken, beef, seafood and vegetables. You will also find some unusual items like sea urchin, duck feet and liver, which are not conventional hotpot ingredients.

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HDL offers complimentary fruits as dessert, but we decided to get another one from the menu: deep fried sesame cakes with melted brown sugar. They’re crispy on the outside, while the inside has a chewy texture similar to mochi.

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Washed everything down with a refreshing bowl of aiyubing (jelly)!

Our total bill came up to RM157, or about RM78.50 per pax. It is rather pricey by hotpot standards, since you can get a buffet for around RM60 – but I enjoyed the food and the experience, and wouldn’t mind splurging on it once in awhile. Provided there’s no queue, that is.

HAI DI LAO (Sunway Velocity)

 F3-16,Lingkaran SV, Jln Cheras, Maluri, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Open daily: 11AM – 9PM

Reservations: 03-9770 0070

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Meal for One: Gangnam 88 @ Setiawalk Puchong

I can’t believe it has been three years since I last dined at Gangnam 88 at Setiawalk Puchong – I’m surprised the place is still surviving. It has nothing to do with their food, which is pretty decent – it’s just that Setiawalk is so dead these days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find restaurants that are still open. A far cry from its glory days when the place was thriving with restos and bars.

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The decor and menu has not changed much since my last visit: it still looks bright, cheerful and warm, with lots of Korean-themed decor adorning the walls, and the customary K-pop videos playing on TV.

Most of the items they serve are meant for sharing, like the BBQ platters, Korean fried chicken, stews and such. For lunch, they have individual rice and noodle dishes, as well as lunch sets which come with refillable banchan (sides).

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I had the Ramyeon with Cheese (RM16), which was served with the usual sides like pickled vegetables, kimchi, fishcakes and tofu. Ramyeon was a tad overcooked so the noodles were too soft, and the soup was too diluted, so it was a quite disappointing. Still, if you’re in the area and looking for Korean food, this is one of the only ones around aside from Ticket to Korea, and I think that they do serve some pretty decent BBQ.

GANGNAM 88 (PUCHONG)

I-2-G, Setiawalk, Persiaran Wawasan,, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47160 Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan

Opening hours: 11AM – 12AM (daily)

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Signature Pork Noodles @ Harbour Steamboat, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Harbour Steamboat in Bandar Puteri Puchong is known for its hearty, belly warming hotpot dishes, which are available for dinner. It’s not common to eat hotpot during the day though, so the restaurant has affordable rice and noodle dishes for the lunch crowd – and they serve some pretty darn good pork noodles.

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The restaurant is cosy and air conditioned, and has Japanese touches, with rows of Japanese sake bottles lining the walls. This is because the owners of Harbour Steamboat also run a Japanese yakitori place upstairs, called Minato Yakitori. (Also one of the best places in Puchong to get Japanese-style skewers!)

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Iced plum and calamansi juice; a refreshing thirst quencher
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The star for me is the signature pork noodles (RM14.90), which is what I order every time without fail. The portion is large and will easily satisfy big eaters. If you’re a small eater, you can even share the bowl between two people. Choose from a choice of different noodles such as kuey teow, mee, beehoon and meesua (my preferred choice).

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The noodles are soft and silky, but the winner is the soup. Chock full of ingredients, you get generous portions of pork belly slices, pork mushroom balls, offal (intestines, kidney, liver), tender minced pork, squid and shrimp, all swimming in a cloudy broth that is bursting with flavour. To top it all off: a smattering of deep fried pork lard, which really adds extra flavour to the soup.

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Not in the mood for noodles? You can always get the pork soup with rice.

HARBOUR STEAMBOAT 

G, 49, Jalan Puteri 2/3, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: (daily) 11AM – 2PM, 5.30PM-10.30PM. Pork noodles available for lunch only.

Phone: +603 8063 5776

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Meal for One: Wong Kok Char Chan Teng, IOI Mall Puchong

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In Hong Kong, char chan tengs are a part of everyday life – the equivalent of a Malaysian kopitiam – where you can get fast, tummy-filling, affordable meals. The menu is often an eclectic mix of local favourites like rice and noodle dishes, and Western-style fusion cuisine the likes of cheese-baked rice, grilled chicken wings and toast.

Thanks to the popularity of Hong Kong culture which peaked in the 90s to 00’s among the Chinese diaspora here, there are several very popular Hong Kong char chan teng chains in Malaysia, such as Kim Gary, Chatterbox HK and Wong Kok Char Chan Teng.

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Among these brands, Wong Kok is my favourite whenever I’m craving char chan teng food. Named after the Wong Kok (literally, ‘golden/bustling corner/street) district in HK, the resto has been operating here since 2003 and serves up an enormous variety of dishes. There’s one at IOI Mall Puchong, which was where I dropped by for lunch after running some errands.

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No meal would be complete without ordering the iconic HK beverage – HK Milk Tea, also known as xi mut nai cha – so called because the tea leaf filter resembles a silk stocking. HK was once under British rule, and it was during that time that tea drinking became popular on the island. The tea is made from black tea leaves and condensed milk, so it is rich, sweet and has a silky texture. You can have it either hot or iced.

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One thing I always order whenever I come here: Cheese-Baked Seafood Rice with Portuguese sauce. This is another char chan teng staple and reflects Hong Kong’s diverse influences. Rice and seafood like crab meat sticks, deep fried fish and shrimp is covered with a layer of oozy, melty cheese on top, and baked together with Portuguese sauce.

Rice is a staple in Chinese cuisine, and the cheese, is, of course, a very Western ingredient. The Portuguese sauce, which is a thick creamy sauce with curry powder and coconut cream, is from Macanese cuisine. Despite all the seemingly different ingredients/styles, they blend together surprisingly well to create a harmonious dish that is hearty and delicious. The cheese gives it a gooey texture, while the sauce ensures that the dish is not dry.

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I mean, you can’t go wrong with cheese to be honest.

With over 200 items on the menu, it’s impossible to do a complete review of Wong Kok Char Chan Teng – but it also means you’ll never run out of things to try (if you try one dish every day, hypothetically it will still take you close to a year to order everything). But if you’re looking for good Hong Kong-style dishes at an affordable price, then this is a place to consider.

WONG KOK CHAR CHAN TENG (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

G.00B3A, Ground Floor, IOI Mall, Batu 9, Jalan Puchong, Puchong Jaya, 47170, Puchong, Selangor.

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM

Phone: 03-2141 8407

wongkok.com.my

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