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On Ipoh Food: Dim Sum Yuen

SeeFoon Enjoys Dim Sum in Peace and Quiet

How often do we get to have any Chinese meal in peace and quiet? Not often enough I say. Somehow the Chinese in groups, especially those speaking in Cantonese, when confined within tiled walls exacerbated by tiled floors, manage to reach decibel levels that border on deafening. And I am one of the guilty ones contributing to the noise level as my main spoken dialect is Cantonese.

With 9 tones compared to the 4 in Mandarin and more cacophonous by nature, and since most Chinese spoken in Ipoh is Cantonese, Chinese and especially dim sum restaurants are noisy. Not one of the places you would go for a cosy tête-à-tête.

But I found a quiet haven in Dim Sum Yuen.

A recent change in ownership and management with a complete facelift of the premises of the old Kao Lee and just a stone’s throw from the Echo office, I have been meaning to check it out when to my delight, I received an invitation to lunch from my lawyer friend William Balasingham who has made this his new fave place. William’s reason? The tables are well spaced out and you’re not elbow-to-bum with the next person and you can actually talk and be heard!

We were quite a crowd that day and could therefore order a lot of different goodies. But being the diehard foodie that I am, I had to make sure I didn’t miss out on any item and hence went back a second time with my tribe.

One stand out feature of Dim Sum Yuen is their creative presentation of some of their offerings, as in the case of their water chestnut jelly, which for the cafe crowd, is certainly Instagram worthy (see pic). Most of their dim sum offerings are priced between RM4.50-RM5.50 with a few dishes using prawns like the Hong Kong Prawn roll going up to RM6.50. But in general, the average savoury plate starts at RM4.50 with desserts being slightly lower.

And they steam their dim sum in square wooden boxes instead of the common bamboo baskets or in some eateries, plastic ones.

Dim sum is dim sum wherever you eat it. What sets one eatery from another is the quality, the range of items, and the specials. And each one has their specials. In Dim Sum Yuen’s case, the notable ones aside from their chef’s skill with pastry (see the pumpkin – with date paste; and piglets – one with red beans and other with an interesting corn custard) is their “Lo” or soya sauce series. Everything of the pig’s innards from the ear (divinely tender, with a thin layer of fat lining both sides of the cartilage), stomach, large and small intestines are available here, paired with similarly braised tofu or boiled egg. A veritable offal haven. They also have the braised chicken in the same sauce as well which you can order whole or in a chicken rice set. And let’s not forget the braised chicken feet.

Another unusual dim sum offering which is one of their signatures is the Har Gao served in individual small bowls in a clear soup. A cross between a “Boon Tong Gao” and the traditional Har Gao, the soup is umami and the Har Gao filling of prawns was fresh. I must also mention their Hor Yip Fan or glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf, umami and cooked to perfection.

Desserts are another item to rave over. Aside from the painstaking decorative art involved in their presentation, as in the aforementioned water chestnut jelly of two birds sitting in their birdcage, the pumpkin lookalike is filled with bean paste, not overly sweet and a delightful mouthful. Their fried sesame balls are crisp; their oozy salted egg custard pao to dream about and their jellies like wolfberry and osmanthus refreshing and soothing.

Do go and browse their very extensive menu. You won’t regret it. And enjoy your meal in relative peacefulness.

DIM SUM YUEN
48/50 Lengkok Canning, Ipoh Garden, 31400 Ipoh.
Normal day: 7.30am-10.00pm PB/Sunday: 7.30am-3.30pm
Manager Dennis Lau: 05 546 2268
Open 24/7
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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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