Sunday, April 29, 2007
Dim sum, to me, has always been nothing more than a term used to refer to small portions of high cholesterol, prawn-laden parcels/packages/treasures.
Very much a Hong Kong thing, it didn't really appeal much to me, until recently. Perhaps I've been just plain ignorant but I found it hard to be excited over tiny dumplings and buns. I guess I was missing out on a lot.
Whether is it because my family's lack of interest in dim sum, or just blatant narrow-mindedness on my part, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't make a difference now because I am crazy about dim sum. Or at least with a certain dim sum place that I discovered last month when a couple of my friends from SMU introduced me to it.
No no, it's not that I've never popped a har gao (prawn dumplings) or siew mai (steamed minced pork dumplings) into my mouth. I have! I've eaten at Yum Cha, Din Tai Fung etc... but like I said, the level of appreciation stopped there - the savouring it at face value. Really not sure how to explain, but yea, I think I didn't quite get the whole dim sum thing.
Anyway, back to what I've been meaning to rave about. Yes yes, this tiny cosy outfit can be found in Sunshine Plaza along Bencoolen Street. Victor's Kitchen is its name and seriously, you cannot let the exterior fool you. You can't! That's unless you only like eating food in nice posh air conditioned places. But you know what? Even if you do, you got to at least try out the dim sum from this place at least once or do a take-away.
What's so incredibly special about Victor's Kitchen? It's not just the reasonable prices, it's the quality and freshness. I hear the sceptics rising from their chairs, ready to question me, but hold on, hold on a second. At least let the photos speak for themselves:
That's the fresh succulent prawn from the har gao. It's amazingly tender and delicious. You know how important the freshness of the prawns are. When you eat har gao, it's only the thin translucent skin that covers the crusteacean and if it stinks or lacks freshness (the prawns), it's very obvious and the entire experience will go down the drain.
Prior to my visit to Victor's Kitchen, I did a Google search about it on the internet to have a sense of what to order. I found Chubby Hubby's post on Victor's Kitchen and ordered almost everything he recommended, including the Oyster Sauce Char Siu Bao; which I absolutely adored!
Chunks of scrumptious char siu awaited me with each bite and it was definitely much nicer than most char siu buns I've tried. The fluffy pillow of goodness put not just a grin on my face but a twinkle in my eye. No, I'm not exaggerating; you can ask the friends who came with me! hahaaa
That's not all... what's to come is even better:
Custard buns. Filled with egg custard that had corn bits and salted egg yolk, this was one sweet bun that I will not forget. I think it was my first time eating such a bun and I really got to say this: the custard takes the bun hands down. Part jelly-like, and part creamy, the sweet filling tasted good even with the salted egg in it. Very intriguing and fantastic bun. Yummy to the very last crumb.
Being a chee cheong fun fan, I had to try their You Tiao Chee Cheong Fun (rice flour rolls stuffed with fried dough fritters):
There's just something about the silky white 'skin' that appeals to me. This one is made on the spot and has a certain elasticity that enchants as much as it satisfies the tastebuds. Love the sauce they served it with, and the you tiao was still very crispy and superb:
Don't you just love the different textures and flavours of Chinese cuisine?
Here's the glutinous rice wrapped with lotus leaf:
There's chicken, salted egg, Chinese sausage and ginger in it. Sticky rice is my kind of thing and it's always fun using the chopsticks to pick out chunks of rice. That's because I am not blessed with fantastic chopsticks skills and have to contend with using it only when really necessary. I know, I should master the proper way.
Well with glutinous rice it's so much more easier. Who's the genius who thought of wrapping the rice in lotus leaf? It does make a difference in the taste of the rice. I totally devoured this one with chilli sauce and the sauce from the chee cheong fun.
I've been there only twice but it's now already in my mental list of places to recommend others. Trust me, my friends have heard me raving about the place and I do hope they go there and try it! And you my friend :) if you're reading this, go give it a try.
The owner's actually from Hong Kong I heard and it's really authentic - in terms of cooking style et al.
And remember, don't be fooled by the humble tables and shaky stools. After all, it's the quality of the food that counts, no?
Sunshine Plaza, #01-21
91 Bencoolen St,
Open Tues to Sun, 10am-9pm.