Dim Sum on A Sunday @ Royal China Restaurant, Coliseum Square, IpohJanuary 5, 2011 | 8,421 views
Like a scene from a TVB drama huh? People of all ages sipping tea and chewing on delicate morsels of dim sum on Sunday mornings, in an air-conditioned restaurant setting. But this is Ipoh, and this is Royal China; a subsidiary of Tai Thong Group.
Best way to start a Sunday? Dim Sum breakfast with family members. Or extended family members/relatives/’yee ma ku jie’ (swear that’s not a profanity) and the joy of jostling for a vacant table; executing those dreadful empty stares to shoo away those lingering for eternity (after the umpteenth time of refilling their pot of tea), and finally going all out and pointing for steamed dumplings, fluffy Char Siew Bao, fresh Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun and century egg porridge, and shutting up the disciplined alter ego and munch on crispy fried woo kok (yam puff with minced meat fillings), sweet and wobbly egg tarts and maybe a pudding or two.
Char Siew Bao – BBQ Pork Bun
And so, there I was squeezing every single memory cell (grey matter’s the real deal?) to come up with the 3 meals a day fiasco; lasting the entire weekend and then some. After all, who’s better to put to test?
Royal China Restaurant was formerly known as Tai Thong, and previously at Heritage Hotel on Jalan Tambun. Since last year (or the year before, I lost track of time …. can’t blame someone who’s near to his geriatric doom), they have started operating at Coliseum Square, where you can also find San Francisco Steakhouse (they offer lunch sets now; for RM16.90++).
Beautifully folded into a flower shape; the dumpling holds scallop and prawn within.
And so, after much deliberation, we settled for Royal China’s dim sum for breakfast. Foh San, Ming Court and Yoke Fook Moon were out of the equation since that street would be swarmed by merrymakers back for a glutton run. And Ying Fa although authentic enough; would have sold off every single bundle of their famous lotus leaf rice.
Not as aesthetically pleasing nor a treat to the palate; the Siew Mai at Royal China needs more work.
Half prepared to see a vacant restaurant, we were surprised as Royal China was almost packed to the brim. And it was about 10am+, slightly later than the usual breakfast hours in Ipoh. An eye opener indeed, especially when this place serves the most premium dim sum (read : expensive) in all of Ipoh.
Oklah … so not as exorbitant as you might think. About RM4.50-RM5.50 (USD1.50-1.80) per serving, and portions were of moderate sizes. Not too tiny like Ming Court’s, nor larger than life like some KL’s dim sum outlets that I have tried.
Always one of our pick for dim sum, the fried radish cake with bean sprouts, egg, scallions and red chillies (widely known as Lor Bak Gou) at Royal China was good. Not stellar, yet nothing to be ashamed of.
Almost immediately we were ushered to our seats, and service was prompt. Needless to say, the ambience was top notch; as though you’re dining in a classy restaurant without the noisy atmosphere usually associated with a Sunday morning’s breakfast camaraderie. The OLD Foh San had this; and it was a charming sensation none of those newer ones could ever replicate.
Ham Sui Kok. Literally translated as Salty Water Puff; the savoury deep fried puff contains bits of chopped char siew like the filling of a Char Siew Bao.
There were some hits, and some misses. For instance, we found that the Har Gau and Siew Mai (essentials when it comes to dim sum; a tradition) at Royal China lacked characters. Very generic, and the Siew Mai in particular was not packed with flavoursome paste of minced pork and prawn. The Ham Sui Kok was good though; since Mum’s a fan of these mini savoury puffs and she gave nods of approval.
We missed most of the items since there were 3 of us. The Yam Puff (Woo Kok) came a little too late, and we had to forgo the option. The Fried Radish Cake (Lor Bak Gou) was tasty enough; paired with the incomparable Ipoh’s bean sprouts made this plate a goner in minutes.
Har Gau (Prawn Dumplings) – Usually served in trio, Royal China upped the ante and served us with four. But not packing a succulent, juicy punch like Foh San’s, or even Yoke Fook Moon’s.
Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun – With either pork (char siew) or prawn fillings. NO mixing of both, hence you can’t have the best of both worlds. Anyway, nothing too fancy; steamed rice noodles filled with cubes of barbecued pork, then served in soy sauce and oil, with a dollop of sambal for the kick.
Wrapped in generous servings of kataifi, the slightly more modern touch came in the form of prawn and cheese dumplings. Not oozing melted cheese from within though, sadly.
But this Ma Tai Gou (Water Chestnut Cake, literally) wrapped in a thin layer of pastry (popiah skin) then deep-fried was a befitting end to the meal. Not starkly sweet nor unbelievably greasy, the QQ bites of the dessert made this a surefire hit with the kids.
I did not lie. This place looks resplendent with an aura of a posh Chinese diner. Yet you can have a dim sum feast here for less than RM20 per person.
So the bill came to about RM56/USD18.00 for the 3 of us. Oh and if you pay with a CIMB credit card, or CIMB Direct Access credit card, you get 10% off.
Good thing was that, we were in no hurry to finish our food and had all the time in the world to chat and catch up on life. Okay, slightly over dramatic there, since I have only left Ipoh for … a month?
But you get the drill. Instead of having vultures surrounding your family in a circle while you’re still enjoying (what’s left of it) your cup of Chinese tea, at Royal China you don’t sweat it out nor shout over to your dining partners seated across the table.
Just that, you have to pay extra, though parking’s a cinch. For RM2 per entry, you can park inside the multi-level carpark in the building. Miles better than paying those addicts on the loose all over town?
ROYAL CHINA RESTAURANT
Grd Floor, Coliseum Square,
No 8, Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah,
30250 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Business Hours : Mon-Sat (11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm), Sun (7am – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm) Public Holidays (9.00am – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm)
GPS Coordinates : 4.590684,101.093014
Google Map to Royal China Restaurant in Ipoh
(*Next to Impiana Hotel, and very near to the round about)