When I married rif, I got to learn more about Malacca Peranakan culture and food. One of the food I found interesting is the Nyonya bak chang (rice dumpling), where the filling is made of sweet minced pork. Although delicious, I still enjoy savoury dumplings better especially the ones with egg yolk, chestnuts and plenty of pork.
Lai Ching Yuen’s Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Roasted Pork (RM28++) was the perfect bak chang for me. Portion was huge enough to feed 2 diners and it came with several chunks of fatty and meltingly tender pork belly.
I also liked how the glutinous rice was cooked till the right doneness; it had a smooth, lightly sticky texture and didn’t clump together. The problem I find with many bak chang is the tendency of them being undercooked. That gives me gastric almost immediately after consumption. But Lai Ching Yuen’s bak chang was not only easy on the eyes (and available as gifts to friends and family) – it was easy on the tummy too.
Another bak chang I tried was the Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Abalone and Chinese Mushroom (RM68++) which was parcel-shaped. This is the most indulgent dumpling at Lai Ching Yuen and was as tasty as it looked. I’m impressed with how Chef Kong managed to maintain the traditional essence of the dumpling while adding fancy ingredients such as abalone and dried scallops inside. Tastewise, the pork filling was well flavoured with sweet accents from the chestnuts. The abalone slices were tender and gave the dumpling a twist in texture.
Between the two, I prefer the roasted pork dumpling because of the melt-in-the-mouth pork fat. As me the same question 20 years later and I might not be as keen on the pork fats. For the uninitiated, bak chang/rice dumpling is eaten on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar in conjunction with the Dragon Boat Festival.
There are two other bak chang available — Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Dried Scallop and Roasted Duck Meat (RM38++) and Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumpling with White Lotus Paste (RM18++). All rice dumplings are available from 9th June to 23rd June 2012 so better hurry!
rif and I also tucked into some dim sum and my favourite of the lot was the steamed siew mai with fish roe. Presentation was top-class – the siew mai sat on a soup spoon and garnished with what seemed like a full teaspoon of fish roe. I popped the whole thing into my mouth and savoured the complementing flavours of the tender pork, juicy prawns and crunchy roe.
The pan-fried pork dumpling with chives (RM10.80) was slightly on the oily side, but the savoury filling and soft dumpling texture made up for it. I thought the sharp flavour of the chives helped offset the richness of the pork fat. Deep-fried eggplant stuffed with fish paste (RM10.80) was crisp on the outside with a smooth, tender flesh. The fish paste filling had a nice, chewy bite.
Although bad for the waistline, I couldn’t get enough of the deep-fried seafood roll with cheese (RM10.80). Crisply fried with a rich-gooey centre, how can one piece be enough? It is common to find prawn or char siew steamed rice rolls, but that was the first time I came across steamed rice rolls with preserved vegetables and meat (RM10.80). The preserved vegetables were mildly salty and went well with the rice rolls and pork filling.
I wasn’t a fan of the steamed wanton with sweet and sour sauce (RM10.80) as I thought the sauce slightly overpowered the subtle flavours of the dumpling. A less piquant sauce might be better but rif didn’t seem to mind this, so it’s personal preference.
To end our brunch, rif had the chef’s recommendation – baked durian tart (RM10) while I ordered the black sesame glutinous rice dumpling with almond cream (RM12). The former was generously filled with durian flesh and cream, and beautifully plated. I found the almond cream smooth and thick, but slightly strong flavoured for my liking. I prefer the ginger tea as the spiciness of the tea refreshes the palate after a hearty meal. That said, the tong yuen was generously filled with black sesame puree. I like!
Overall, I enjoyed the dim sum. Presentation was top class and quality was good. I’ll definitely come back for more, especially the Weekend Dim Sum Feast (RM65++ per person with all-you-can-eat dim sum). On weekdays, dim sum is also available as ala carte order.
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Food: 7/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: I enjoyed the bak chang and will definitely return for more dim sum.
Lai Ching Yuen
Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur
160 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2117 4180
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: facebook.com/laichingyuen, facebook.com/grandmillenniumkl
Business hours: 12noon to 2:30pm, 6:30pm to 10:30pm