PETRINA JO FERNANDEZ tries the new Chinese Muslim dim sum steamboat promotion at Junction Bistro.
Food lovers across China and Hong Kong would find it odd that Malaysians restrict themselves to having dim sum only for breakfast. There, in the land of siew mai and dumplings, dim sum has long been all-day fare that accompanied any yam cha session.
The Junction Bistro, located at Menara PGRM, prefers the original Chinese way of doing dim sum - with a healthy and halal touch.
The restaurant´s new dim sum steamboat set sees the fusion of the best Chinese food and cooking method in the creation of a healthy set meal. Instead of the traditional steaming, the dumplings are dipped into a boiling chicken broth, a la steamboat, until they are ready to be eaten.
There are two methods in which customers can enjoy the meal: by boiling the dim sum in the traditional pot or using the custom-made charcoal apparatus (available only for al fresco dining) provided. The latter is the signature of the restaurant´s dim sum steamboat meal and allows patrons to experience the authentic "old taste" of dim sum.
The set opens with tang hor. The leafy vegetable is fresh and the garlic oil, which accompanies it, is light enough to enhance but not overpowering in its natural taste. A handful of fish balls come next along with glass noodles, but it tastes somewhat monotonous after a few mouthfuls.
The meal only really starts when the dumplings are brought into the picture - or the pot, rather.
There are six different dim sum featured in the set: mushroom dumpling, prawn siew mai, chicken siew mai, pak choy dumpling, prawn dumpling, and the Teochew dumpling.
It´s recommended to have a waiter do the steamboat for you, as timing is a crucial element here.
Dumplings left too long to boil will become mushy. However, when done right, the dim sum has a lovely tender but firm texture.
The bistro´s Soh Chong Meng said the secret to a firmly-packed dim sum lies in its skin.
"The skin has to be made just right to keep the dim sum from breaking apart while it is boiled," he said. True enough, the dumplings dipped into the pot were able to withstand the intense boiling.
The prawn siew mai and prawn dumpling were the highlights of the set.
Boiling the dim sum, as opposed to steaming it, helps retain the freshness of seafood, and the prawns here are plump and juicy. The mushroom dumpling is also worth a mention: the filling tasted fresh and had a strong mushroom flavour.
The broth is made using chicken stock with no added preservatives. Light and flavourful, the broth doesn´t overwhelm the palette or taste of the dim sum.
The set is recommended for those who would like to try a healthier version of dim sum, as well as Muslims yet to sample the mysterious dim sum everyone is raving about.
Big eaters who find themselves unsatisfied after this light meal can opt to have a la carte side orders such as crab meat balls (RM5.50++), black pepper dumplings (RM3.80++) or kau choy dumplings (RM2.80++ ). There are over 30 items to choose from.
At an introductory price of RM18++ (for a minimum of four people), the dim sum steamboat set is available throughout the day. All food have been certified halal and the variety of vegetarian and meaty dumplings should ensure there is something for everyone here.