Since its my birthday and I am so good, I will divulge my favourite (and in my opinion, the best) dim sum restaurant in Northbridge. This place isn’t new but it is gold. I don’t normally blog about the chinese restaurants I go to because it annoys too many people that I take photos of food. However, I am with Prithi and Blanche and they are a lot more patient.
After writing this post, I also realise that Dim Sum/ Yum Cha is not Kosher/Jewish friendly. It seems that most dishes are either made of prawn or pork or both together! Oh well, maybe one day I can try to do a Jew friendly dim sum post if that is even possible.
A very short story about dim sum
I got this story from my dad. I’m sure there are many different stories about the origin of dim sum but I really like this one.
There was an empress who wanted to show her gratefulness to her soldiers for being brave and fighting the war. After much deliberation on what to cook, she came up with many varieties of dumplings which she named Dim Sum…which literally means ‘to touch your heart’.
Nowww you knowww
Why I like Royal Seafood so much?
The service is efficient (and as polite as you can expect chinese service to be). The place doesn’t look dirty which can put people off. They also never ever ever ever over steam their dim sum from my experience. This is a major important point. I hate eating dumplings with mushy skin. It puts me off if they cannot get their har gow (prawn dumpling) right.
I also like that they serve something a bit more special in the Perth dim sum scene like this:
I am not sure what this is called. It is basically a prawn meat stuffed dough stick (you tiao) that is wrapped in a thin chinese style rice paper roll (cheong fan) and topped with sesame seeds and a soya sauce mix. Now the dough stick is fried so it is crisp. I love the prawn stuffing. This is a good alternative to your usual rice paper roll (cheong fan) stuffed with prawns or char siew (barbecue pork).
Prithi chose the next dish – the yam (taro) croquettes. These are seriously yummy. I know they are fried and hence not as healthy but I honestly think its a myth that the steamed dumplings are a lot healthier. The dumplings are filled with fat and that is what makes them so juicy and tasty. Chinese food IS fatty. Its just great genes that keep these Chinese girls so slim and small.
The coating is light and crispy. When you bite into it, there is a savoury saucy mixture of yam, dried shrimp and pork. I regret not taking a photo of the inside so you can see it. You would just have to trust me that its good! If you do not like yam (taro), do not eat this.
The typical dumpling seen at dim sum. This is called siew mai. Siew Mai is a pork and prawn dumpling wrapped in an egg skin and topped with fish roe. This is a good dish for any amateur dim sum-er because it looks really adventurous but its not really! Everything about it is mild. Good siew mai should not be mushy and should be juicy to bite into. No dry stuff please.
I ordered a basket of Shanghainese pork dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) here by mistake. If I had any complaints about authenticity about the dumplings in Royal Seafood, this would be it. Perhaps its because it is Shanghainese and not Cantonese; and really, dim sum is a Cantonese affair.
Xiao Long Baos are pork dumplings that are filled with yummy soup. It is normally served with ginger matchsticks in black or red vinegar. There is an art to eating it. If you do not want to break the bag and spill the soup / scald your tongue, best to follow my instructions.
1. First lift the dumpling at the tip which is the thickest part and immediately place it on a spoon. Any longer and the dumpling might break.
2. Bite the tip off and let the steam escape.
3. put some ginger and vinegar into the dumpling
4. when its cool enough, eat it whole.
The problem with the Xiao long baos here is the lack of soup in it. Ginger is also not provided. However, they were juicier/ soupier than your average dumpling. I guess it is their version. I will recommend another place for authentic xiao long baos in another post.
Blanche picked a vegetable dumpling which had crunchy bamboo shoots and coriander in it. She loved it! The skin is a translucent like the ones on the har gow but stickier. If there was a healthy dumpling, this would be it.
Since Prithi and Blanche had never tried this, I ordered the bean curd rolls. This is great on a cold day because of the hot broth that comes with it. This is basically a vegetable and minced pork roll with a bean curd skin wrapped around it. I suppose it is boiled. So what you get is soup seeping into your mouth as you bite into the bean curd roll. I also love the flavour of shitake mushrooms (which is a super food btw).
Finally, my favourite dim sum: Char Siew Pau. Pau just means bun. I love Chinese Paus because its so fluffy and white. I feel like I am eating clouds. Char Siew is barbecued pork – the red ones you see hanging in Cantonese roast shops. It is chopped up with extra sauce added in, encased in a fluffy flour coating and steam to produce this amazing dish. I can live on char siew baos and never get sick of it.
The only problem with Royal Seafood is the lack of good dessert. We had the sago in coconut milk which was rather plain. If they added honey dew, it would be soooo much better. However, their food is so consistently good that I would return anyway.
There, I’ve revealed my favourite and not so secret dim sum haunt. I hope I don’t regret this when I am unable to get a table in future…