The girlfriend had a lunch craving for dim sum on her birthday, and I thought it will be a great occasion to finally try out Royal China @ Raffles Hotel. Alas, I made the fatal mistake of not making reservation on a Saturday afternoon, as the staff told me that I had to wait for about 1.5hrs.
Forget it, we decided to try our luck and hop opposite to Asia Grand, managed to get in without having to wait! (RC eventually called me just 30 minutes later, too late!)
Complimentary Appetiser (Diced Fishcake, Cucumber and Capsicum), Sambal Chilli
Located at Odeon Towers, Asia Grand does remind me of a typical Hong Kong Chinese restaurant; noisy environment, big seafood tanks and a row of live cooking counters. If you prefer it quieter, ask for the booth seats deeper within or opt for a private room if you have enough diners.
Porridge with Century Egg and Lean Meat ($7.00), Fried Yam Dumpling ($3.50)
The Cantonese-styled congee was alright, but I preferred the ones at Crystal Jade for their thicker, smoother texture. Yam dumplings were served with fluffy coatings and piping hot fillings, pretty good but not really outstanding.
Siew Mai ($4.50), Char Siew Bun ($3.50)
Pretty much my staple dim sum choices! The first thing that struck me about the plump Siew Mais was how it tasted a lot more, well, pork-like. Rather than the usual minced meat, I think they stuffed it with tender pork slices instead, thus the firmer texture and juicier bite. One of the better ones around!
The other one was pretty decent, nicely barbecued with a slight sweet taste. Kept us happy!
You Tiao Rice Roll ($4.50)
Now this got me irritated. Not that it was bad, mind you. The silky, translucent skin was in fact very well done, completed with crispy fried dough. But what irked me was the accompanying sauce. Since they only served it with soy sauce, I asked for sesame and sweet sauce, which really are typical dips for this. But the rather clueless waiter came back and said:
"Uhh, we don't have Sesame Sauce or Sweet Sauce.."
Hung: "Don't have..? you know, 芝麻酱, 甜酱?"
"Oh, 甜酱! What about I get you some ketchup?"
I swore I nearly fainted. Call me a purist, dim sum snob, arrogant Hong Konger etc. But I think any deserving dim sum restaurant should have these sauces, or at least, don't confuse sweet sauce with ketchup!
Baked Custard Bun ($3.50)
Now back to the good stuffs! This was pretty much a marriage between a flaky Polo Bun and creamy custard fillings. Though it didn't flow (not expecting it to anyway), it was still a nice twist on the usual steamed custard buns.
With tea surcharge of $2 each, bill for two was $35.90 after taxes. I thought that the prices here are reasonable given its efficient service and grandeur surroundings, though the items were above average at best. Been there, done that, now can I please not hear ketchup with rice roll again?
Asia Grand Restaurant #01-02 Odeon Towers Tel: 6887 0010