By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

It has been open for nearly three years and in a very popular location too: just past the highway bridge in Ipoh Garden East coming from Aeon, right smack in the middle of the first row of shophouses on the right.

Tang Yuan is run by a dynamic duo of mother Ng Kam Foong who handles the front, son, Yong Foong Fee is Chef de Cuisine in the kitchen. Foong Fee, who picked up his Dim Sum skills in Singapore and previously in Kao Lee, produces the menu items himself, all homemade, using nothing from factories.

Of course, Dim Sum is Dim Sum and most items on offer are the same. For me, rating Dim Sum can best be accomplished by looking at a few qualities. Are their prawns springy and fresh in their Har Gau (RM6.50 for 3) and other prawn based items? Is their Pao pastry fluffy and the Char Siew filling generous and oozing? Is their Wu Kok (fried Yam Dum (RM4.80 for 2) crispy on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside with the filling oozing out the moment you break it open? And does the Siew Loong Pau hold together from basket to spoon and is the soup inside umami? And the judging criteria stretches on for us Foodies.

Tang Yuan certainly measures up to the above criteria by my books and additionally, has a few items outside of the usual run-of-mill fare to boot. Like their Suet San Pao or Snow Mountain Buns, whose distinction is not that they are baked but that they are topped with a layer of sweetened cream which melts in the oven, encrusting the bun when they emerge. The resultant pao with its ‘Char Siu’ filling inside is delectable with a sweetish mouthfeel, unlike any regular Char Siu Pao you’ve ever eaten (RM2.20 each).

Another item on their menu, which I haven’t encountered in other Dim Sum restaurants and which is probably considered “old-fashioned” today, is their ‘Poon Tong Gao’ a ginormous dumpling served in its own bowl and pierced with a straw through the hole in the centre. The broth inside is meant to be sucked out with the straw before the rest of the dumpling is broken open to reveal abalone slices, dried scallops and a host of other goodies. This item is not on the menu as yet and needs to be ordered one day in advance (RM8 per bowl).

Other items worthy of mention are the Har Mai (Siew Mai made with prawns) (RM5.50 for 3); their Fried Lo Pak Ko or radish cake (RM6); Mak Peen Keun, deep prawn roll with mayonnaise inside (RM6 per plate); and a host of others too many to mention.

For those with a sweet tooth, you must not meet the Lava Pao but please please don’t burn your tongue! (RM6 for 3).

Do try Tang Yuan, They have a new signboard up and you cannot miss it on the road to and from Aeon.

Tang Yuan Restaurant
25 Jalan Perajurit Ipoh Garden East
Tel: 012 354 7178; 016 564 8068
Open: 7.30am-2.30pm; closed occasional Fridays