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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Introduction to Dim Sum

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant

Address:Wan Hao Rating Meter
320 Orchard Road
3F Marriott Hotel, Singapore
Tel: +65 6831 4615

Question, where do you take a chef to eat when you’ve run out of ideas?  Why not dim sum!  In our attempt to bring to light the concept of Dim Sum (a Chinese dish of small steamed or fried savory dumplings containing various fillings, served as a snack or main course) we sought about a venue; after several failed attempts to find somewhere due to our last minute-ness we were finally able to make it to Wan Hao at the Marriott.

A quaint little place tucked away on the third floor of the hotel, I would have to say it’s a hidden gem.  We were lucky enough to make at a time when they were having their dim sum buffet promotion of SGD36++ per person; I’d advise you to call and check with the restaurant whether this promotion is still valid.
Firstly I must say the service at Wan Hao is quite good, the staff were quite knowledgeable with what food was coming to the table and our tea cups were filled (on most occasions) to the brim!  Sadly it took quite a while for us to have our first order delivered; unlike the traditional dim sum houses the food is not carted around via trolley, so you have to order in batches.  While we were waiting we were desperately trying not to munch on the pre food-food but we couldn’t resist.
Spinach and wolf berry soup - Our opening bowl of was nothing short of tasty!  But not to be distracted from the main event my eyes were solely focused on the Dim Sum menu proper:
Pages and pages of delicious treats; some of which I will cover here in this posting, but due to stomach-austerity measures there were only so many items I was able to consume within the stipulated dim sum window.
Siew Yok & Jellyfish with Garlic and Cucumber - Each were seasoned and cooked to perfection.  The roasted pork was succulent crunch and juicy, while the jelly fish was mildly firm and springy.

Har Gau (蝦餃)– shrimps encased in some glutinous rice flower and steamed, a dim sum favorite, though the skin was a tad thick the contents were still very flavorful and juicy!

Shumai (燒賣) – the other 1/2 to the ubiquitous in hargow-sieu mai (蝦餃燒賣) dim sum speak, though looking tasty this disappointed slightly; perhaps cause it was the chicken (instead of the pork) version wrapped in lye water dough.  It was a tad too dry for my liking; this despite eating it straight from the steamer.
Deep Fried Shredded-filo Dough filled with Scallops, Chinese Celery & Crabmeat – this and the coffee pork ribs were my favorite dishes of the day, I just loved the texture of the filo-dough and the flavors of the seafood!
Carrot Cake (蘿蔔糕) – I usually love eating my carrot cake; mashed up daikon mixed with bits of Chinese sausage and dried shrimp but this was overly salty, I ended up having to dose it with chili sauce.  Major disappointment.

Minced Garlic Cuttlefish – This was cooked well.  You can either undercook the cuttlefish leaving it rather raw and mushy or over cook it leaving it tasting like tough leather but this was done well, coupled with the nice flavoring of garlic it was something I enjoyed eating.
Char Siew Pau (叉燒包)– BBQ pork in a little white bun, yes there is a God! I love eating these little parcels of goodness, however there’s a fine balance between an overly thick ‘skin’.  Thankfully the dough for this pau was light, fluffy and was proportionate to the marinated BBQ pork.
Custard Egg Bun (奶皇包) – Not really a fan of this, I’m more a fan of the Western styled custard filled donut.  It was still nicely prepared, the dough quite light and fluffy and the custard was nice and smooth.
Phoenix Claws (鳳爪) – Braised chicken feet, what could be better? These gelatin and skin filled morsels are best eaten hot.  Not for the faint hearted though!  This place has one of the best chickens feet that I’ve had in Singapore, the skin was literally falling off the bone and it was superbly seasoned!
Beancurd Stuffed with Shrimp  – Deep fried pockets of goodness, I do recall eating two plates of these goodies!
Deep-Fried Chicken with Shrimp Paste (虾酱鸡)- The people in the west have Texas wings, here in the east we’ve got prawn paste coated fried wings; a nicely salted crunchy skin / batter that holds in the moisture of the wings nicely.  I have to say I’ve tried better else where but it was still rather tasty.
Coffee Pork Spare Ribs (咖啡排骨) – I’ve always been fascinated with this dish, and it inspired me (after eating it here) to make it see Coffee Anyone? The ribs here were deliciously tender, though I’d of liked a stronger taste of coffee, but hey that’s just me!
Steamed Duck with Ginger – Sorry but this dish was a total let down, the duck sadly was too tough and too dry; I only ended up eating 1 piece

Black Sesame Paste (芝麻糊) – This desert was another highlight of the days eating.  Not too thick yet not too runny the texture and consistency of this black paste was lovely.  As full as I was from all the food I ate.. I still managed to polish off one of these bowls.

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