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Dec 11, 2011 12:55 AM

Kuala Lumpur - Great Dim Sum at the Ming Room

It's first-come-first-served at the ultra-popular Ming Room in the Bangsar Shopping Centre for its dim sum luncheon. Quality of dim sum served here is very bit as good as those you'd get in HK or Guangzhou.

What I liked:
- Har-gau
- Siu-mai
Both contained fresh, crunchy shrimps, and were perfectly-cooked.
- Siu-yoke (roast pork) was delicious, with crisp pork crackling
- Steamed "Malay" cake layered with custard-duck's yolk

What were not so impressive:
- Cha-siu-so (baked cha-siu puffs), which lacked the buttery-flaky pastry and wine-enhanced BBQ pork filling I'd expected;
- Braised pig's intestines with tofu and peanuts in claypot, which came across as a bit bland;
- Cold dong-sui dessert with much-too-hard sea-coconut slivers, and was bland as well.

Address details
The Ming Room
T109, 3rd Floor, West Wing
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Jalan Maarof, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2284 8822

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  1. What's that other dish in the top left corner of the char-siu-so picture?

    No veggies or other steamed dishes? :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: huiray

      Oops, that was "fu pei kuen" (腐皮捲) - pan-fried rolls of shrimps/chives wrapped in tofu skin / beancurd sheets.

      The Ming Room has traditional dim sum trolleys and also waitresses bearing trays of freshly-cooked dim sum coming round - amidst all the mind-boggling choices, we totally forgot about the greens!

      A return visit to Ming Room beckons - though one needs to be there early (e.g. 11am), especially on weekends, as the crowds can build up.

    2. My!!! KL Chinese must be super-superstitious!!! All the Dim Sum morsels are in 3s NOT4s!!! Ha!!!

      21 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Now that you mentioned it, Charles! LOL!

        BTW, did you know that the Japanese also avoid "4" as the number also sounds inauspicious in Japanese. So, if one gives money as a wedding gift in Japan, the current/on-going rate is JPY30,000, and *never* JPY40,000!

        1. re: klyeoh

          You still in HK?! Heard its pretty 'chilly'!!
          BTW, what is that 'green' sauce between the XO sauce and the Chili sauce?

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Charles, I'm now back in KL for one last assignment. Then, I'm going home to Singapore for the Christmas break before going off to London on 2 Jan for the whole month.

            The weather in HK was pretty erratic last week, it was comfortable (16-25 deg C) from Mon-Thu, then it turned cold (9-13 deg C) on Friday and thru last weekend. My favorite temperature range is 6-13 deg C .... but I think I'm going to regret saying this when I'm in wintry London in January!

          2. re: klyeoh

            I can't remember if dim sum in KL was always served in three's... but it would be interesting to list what is done where around the world. :-)

          3. re: Charles Yu

            Don't they serve dim sum in 3s in HK too? :-)

            1. re: huiray

              huiray, traditionally, siu-mai will always be served in 4s, whilst har-kau & cha-siu bao will be served in 3s.

              But in KL these days, it does appear that many restaurants have switched to 3 har-kaus per serving - whilst HK & Singapore dim sum places still stick to tradition.

              1. re: klyeoh

                Really? I guess it is so on reflection but I've never given that difference in serving size btw har kow and siu mai too much thought. What's the "traditional" reason for doing so?

                1. re: klyeoh

                  Based on my experience, Har Gow in HK is always four. If one is lucky, you might get a tiny center fifth one!
                  Here's a sample gathering of HK Har Gow:
                  - Fu Sing
                  - Sun Tung Lok
                  - Tim Ho Won
                  - Yan Toh Heen

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    LOL! Trust Charles to have a collection of har-kau pics :-)

                    My brain must be playing tricks on me after all the threesome dim sum baskets in KL!

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      klyeoh, my friend! Knowing me, my collection of ' won-ton noodle pics' is even more extensive!!! Ha!!! :D

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Charles - I was about to ask you about the best roast goose restaurant in HK. I know Yung Kee is an old favorite amongst Chowhounders, largely due to its reputation and also very central location - sure beats that long trudge up to Sham Tseng in the New Territories, the mecca for die-hard roast goose aficionados.

                        What's your take on the best option on HK island or Tsimshatsui?

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          Personally, I picked my favourite fowl based on the taste of the sauce ( usually from marinade inside the cavity ) and the flavour of the bones around the back. Reason being, everyone who sells roast goose or duck should know the recipe of using hot water blanching followed by bathing with the vinegar/wine/molasses and air drying to create the crispy skin. What sets them all apart is how they go about marinating the rest of the bird to make it flavourful!
                          With that in mind, I find the version of 'Yat Lok' on 28 Stanley Street the tastiest! I was told they took over 20 steps in the preparation! Also, best to go around a11 am,. The birds are usually ready by around 10.30am for the luncheon crowd but need about a half hour 'resting' to stabilize the juice!
                          The version served by the 'Manor' in Wan Chai/Causeway Bay is also very good. ( if you wanted somewhere a bit more posh?! ). Lei Garden TST also offers a pretty good one too.
                          The thing is. this dish is getting so popular, one can find good ones almost everywhere. Two years ago, I had a great one in a restaurant in ' Ma On Shan ' deep inside the NT!!
                          Timing IMO is most important though! Just like KFC! Difference is night and day when you manage to get them fresh out of the cooker vs the staled ones left under the lamp!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Thanks, Charles - I'll have to visit Yat Lok the next time I'm in HK.

                            BTW, I was reading about Yung Kee during my trip to HK last week - their geese were roasted in the third-floor kitchen, where three charcoal ovens installed four decades ago still sit in the far corner. Their chief roast-meister, Ho Tong Fung (now in his late-50s), began his apprenticeship as a teenager back then.

                            Chef Ho explained that Yung Kee used eight gallons of their special marinade sauce daily. The special sauce was used to baste the geese, and also poured inside the geese to marinade for an hour. The ingredients for the sauce included sugar, salt, herbs, sesame, black-bean oils, and 40-plus-year-old dried orange peel!

                            Chef Ho explained that “Everyone else’s orange peel is only two to three years old,” At Yung Kee, “(Founder) Mr. Kam started making this himself. He would first drain the orange, and then we would take the peel to the roof, hang it outside for two or three months, and then put it in storage. We have thousands of kilograms.”

                            And today, Yung Kee's chefs are already preparing to dry new batches of orange peel ... to be used for their sauce in 2040!!

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              I once saw a food related program on HK TV where they talked about old tangarine peels in their 50s or 60s thats almost black in colour and costs as much as dried Japanese abalone!!
                              Since Yat Lok is just a short walk down from Yung Kee, you can actually do a goose tasting?!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                And up my cholesterol level to that of a yokozuna? ;-)

                                Must time my next trip to HK to coincide with yours, Charles.

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  Definitely! We missed each other twice already!! And allow me to provide the 'Crestor'!! Ha!
                                  Actually, to make it more fun, we need to jive with Calvin's schedule as well!!
                                  If not HK, how about a week in Spain?! Barcelona and San Sebastian!! Its been a looooong while!!

                    2. re: Charles Yu

                      I think only KL, with its mainly Cantonese Chinese population, serves their dim sum in threes and not fours. It's not reflective of the Chinese in other parts of Malaysia.

                      In Penang, where we are mainly Hokkien Chinese, har-kow and siew-mai are still served in fours, even though Penang's dim sum restaurants are mainly owned by the Cantonese.

                      In Ipoh, where the local population is also mainly Cantonese Chinese, dim sum are also served in fours, except for char-siew pao, since only 3 buns can fit into one standard steaming basket.

                      KL people are getting to be too superstitious. Or maybe because their top dim sum restaurants are mainly owned by a large chain, and the owners were advised by a feng shui master to serve their dim sum in threes for good luck. For example, the Oriental Group of Restaurants company owns Oriental Pavilion in Jaya 33, Ming Room in Bangsar, Han Room in the Gardens Mall, SharkFin House in Jalan Imbi, Noble Banquet in Bukit Bintang, Oriental Banquet in PJ Section 19 and Noble House in Jalan Pekeliling - now called Jalan Tun Razak. If they start serving their dim sum in threes, all their restaurants are likely to follow the same pattern, then the other restaurant chains and smaller restaurants will follow the trend as the Oriental Group is renowned as serving the best dim sum in KL, right?

                      1. re: penang_rojak

                        Oh-oh, I stand corrected. I just Google klyeoh's post on Foh San in Ipoh and it seems that their har-kow and other types of dumplings are served in threes, although the siew-mai is served in fours.


                        1. re: penang_rojak

                          I also notice from klyeoh's photo of Taste Paradise in Singapore that only siew-mai and har-kow are served in fours, but the other types of dim sum are served in threes.


                          1. re: penang_rojak

                            penang_rojak - I just dug up some photos from my archives - remember that dim sum place you introduced me to in Penang the last time I was in town - Leong Kee Teahouse (龙记港式点心) at the junction of Kimberly Street and Rope Walk? That place which was so full of old Fujianese men sipping tea that I told you it made me feel like I was in Taipei or Kaohsiung?

                            Guess what - they served their dumplings in threes as well!!

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              Wah, I didn't even realise this. Merry Christmas, by the way.

                              Coincidentally, I was down in Rope Walk this morning for a Christmas Day dim sum breakfast at De Tai Thong Restaurant. It's another one of the oldest and most popular dim sum places in town. I'll bring you there the next time you come to Penang.

                2. Back at the Ming Room today, and had some fantastic dim sum options besides those previously tried:
                  - Steamed glutinous rice or "lor mai kai" - Ming Room's version had large slivers of abalone mushrooms, besides the finely chopped "char-siu" pork. Absolutely delicious.
                  - Steamed shrimp-pork dumplings topped with sharks-fin. Perfect textures. I'm a great lover of sharks-fin, so this dish was absolutely perfect for me.
                  - Steamed buns with barbecued pork filling ("char-siu bao"). Tasty here, but less impressive compared to the best ones in HK & Singapore.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: klyeoh


                    Those shrimp-pork-shark's fin dumplings look particularly enticing. Just three dishes? Heh. I tend to over-order when having dim sum then "ta-pow" the remainder and waddling home with it. :-)

                    1. re: huiray

                      Only a part of the Sunday dim sum spread we had - others were har-gow and siu-mai like in previous visits. And the crisp-skinned roast pork :-)

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        Oops. Yes, you did say "...besides those previously tried." I presume everything was still being served in threes.

                        What was the final tab? What's a typical tab for "yum cha" here?

                        1. re: huiray

                          Less than RM80 for 3 persons for the food. Drinks will add considerably to the meal.