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Soul food from Hong Kong and Shanghai

Update: April, 13/2015 - 06:41
Spacious room with a view: Looking out at the Saigon harbour, the main dining room seats 180 people. — VNS photos Hoang Ha

Sip a cup of tea, watch boats dock at the harbour, and revel in the tastes of Hong Kong and Shanghai dim sum at one of HCM City's newest restaurants. Hoang Ha reports on the experience.

Long the brunch of choice in Hong Kong and for the Cantonese at large, dim sum is a cuisine, and yes, even a lifestyle, loved by people around the world.

Opened earlier this year, Dim Tu Tac restaurant, which specialises in dim sum, is a welcome addition to the HCM City local restaurant scene.

The restaurant boasts a view of historic Saigon Harbour, with a main dining room that seats 180 people. Attentive waiters flit around the space with its wooden floors, partitions and tables graced with white napkins.

Chef Leung Kwong from Hong Kong brings 40 years of experience to Dim Tu Tac and it shows in his menu of many exquisite Hong Kong- and Shanghai-style delicacies.

"Each dish has in it the soul of heaven and earth, and is the essence of culture. It is the chef who fully conveys this spirit to the diners," Leung told me.

Shanghai-style: Steamed minced pork dumplings,.

Among the mouth-watering choices on the dim sum menu are egg white souffle balls with mashed red beans, steamed rice rolls with shrimp, minced pork dumpling with spicy sauce and pan-fried minced pork buns. Deep-fried radish pastries, pan-fried minced pork dumplings, and steamed minced-pork dumplings Shanghai style are also on offer.

Despite the ritzy decor, Dim Tu Tac has kept its prices reasonable. And every dim sum I ordered was remarkable and had the stamp of high quality.

The steamed shrimp dumplings (har gow, VND68,000) were delicately flavoured with garlic and sesame. They contained whole shrimps within a near-translucent wheat starch wrapping, with seven to 10 elegant pleats at the joint.

Deep-fried beancurd skin rolls with shrimp (VND68,000) were perfectly crisp, with a savory centre. And Shanghai-style steamed minced-pork dumplings (VND58,000) were surprisingly flavourful, the thin rice flour skin bursting with the succulent meat.

Tasty chunks: Spare ribs with garlic and olive sauce.

The steamed BBQ pork bun (VND48,000) was seriously the best I had ever eaten. The sweet pastry-covered bun was light and fluffy, with skin so thin, filled with tender barbecue pork filling slightly sweetened with a syrupy barbecue sauce.

The menu also featured a selection of congee, noodle soup and light dishes to cater to every need.

DIM TU TAC Restaurant

Add: 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, District 4, HCM City

Tel: (08) 3826 6668

Price Range: VND50,000 - VND500,000

Hours: 10am to10pm (Monday to Saturday), 9am to 10pm (Sundays and national holidays)

Comment: Authentic dim sum, Hong Kong and Shanghai style.

Other tempting dishes included fried rice with shrimp in X.O. Sauce, sweet and sour pork special, steamed frog with ginger chilli, braised vegetables with golden mushrooms, and fried E-Fu noodles with eggplant and minced pork.

It was the sauce served with the spare ribs with garlic and olive (VND150,000) that made it a special dish. The salty taste of olive mixed with the sweetness of honey created the unique taste.

Authentic recipes as well as raw materials are the signature touches of the restaurant, the manager told me.

The number-one drink at the restaurant - Hong Kong-style milk tea - contains tea leaves shipped from Hong Kong, allowing diners to enjoy the soft acridity of the tea and the faint scent of milk.

The restaurant also offers set menus priced from VND2 million for 10 persons, and other options for groups of customers or banquets. — VNS

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