Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Food: Dim Sum Galore at Zuan Yuan 鑽苑 Chinese Restaurant @ One World Hotel, Bandar Utama, PJ - a la carte dim sum buffet!


Dim Sum has already been a favourite of mine. Even from my young days in London, I can still remember the parents taking me to Royal China for my favourite prawn cheong fun and prawn dumpling  har gau. Now that we're back in KL, there's no shortage of dim sum restaurants around! But rarely do we ever find an offer for all-you-can-eat dim sum. That however is exactly what's on offer at Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant in One World Hotel, Bandar Utama!


For the months of March and April 2012, Zuan Yuan is having a Dim Sum Galore buffet promotion! For RM55++ on Mondays to Fridays (RM65++ on Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays), customers can try and set a new personal records for most number of dim sums eaten from as early as 11am! The best part is that it's an a la carte buffet, which means you can order as you like off the set menu, and the dim sum comes freshly prepared to your table. Doesn't that sound fun? =D Plus, if you have a OneCard, one person will also get to dine for free for every four people!


The elegant setting in Zuan Yuan - private rooms are available

Thanks to May from One World Hotel and Evelyn, we were invited to sample this dim sum lineup in the buffet. Who would pass up an opportunity like that? =D  Being a restaurant in a top class hotel, the setting is fittingly posh and modern yet not without its traditional touches too. Private rooms are available for bigger parties, and that's where we were for our taste session. 



As part of the promotion, each diner gets a choice between the Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Crab Roe (蟹黃翅) and a seafood dumpling, coming up next. The sharks fin soup came first, and we found it thick and flavourful. I thought it was slightly on the starchy side, but that's just me. 


I still enjoyed the soup, but Wendy preferred the Steamed Seafood Dumpling with Superior Stock and Shark’s Fin (生翅灌湯餃) - a dumpling packed full of seafood and mushrooms with a small heap of sharks fin on top. When I first saw it I thought it looked like a giant siew long bao! There was a nice fresh sweetness to the stock that reeled Wendy in, but I'm the kind that prefers unhealthy saltier stuff, so I didn't linger long with this.


While diners only get one serving of the sharks fin soup / dumpling, the rest of the menu can be ordered again and again! And of course, what would dim sum be without the likes of Steamed Prawn Dumpling (蝦餃皇) with fresh juicy prawns...



....or siew mai? (the exact name is Zuan Yuan Style Steamed Siew Mai with Flying Fish Roe (鑽苑蒸燒賣 =D). Zuan Yuan is a halal restaurant, which means traditionally pork-filled dim sum like siew mai are pork-free, but we felt the ones here at Zuan Yuan were good enough, so much so that we barely missed the pork at all.



Siew mai might be the normal crowd favourite, but here at Zuan Yuan it's definitely worth giving the Steamed Teo Chew Siew Mai (潮式蒸燒賣) a try too! I thought this tasted very nice, even without any pork inside. Wendy thought it tasted good thanks to a dash of five spice powder. We can't be certain, but whatever it is, it certainly does the trick! A must try.



Continuing the siew mai trend, there was also Steamed Glutinous Siew Mai (糯米燒賣) - this was something different, glutinous rice in siew mai dumpling skin, but very filling. We don't recommend one to devour the whole dumpling, else you'll be able to eat nothing more. Loh mai kai lovers will seriously consider this since there is no loh mai kai on the buffet menu. 



Besides the Teo Chew Siew Mai and Steamed Glutinous Siew Mai, we found this Steamed Minced Squid Ball with Dried Octopus and Crab Stick (花枝蟹柳球) to be quite unique too. We couldn't tell what it was from the outside, but bite down into the springy ball and there's the unmistakable taste of squid. Wendy found this a bit salty, but I thought it was quite nice. =)



There was  more sharks fin coming in the form of the Steamed Shark’s Fin Dumpling (魚翅賣) - I liked this one, which had a filling of meat, carrot, and fungus, with sharks fin on top.



Ah, the unidentified-green-dim-sum (for awhile we became a little confused with the many baskets of dim sum =P) a.k.a. Steamed Scallop Dumpling (帶子餃)! The translucent green skin was filled to the brim with fresh bouncy prawn and minced scallop, blending together for a tasty combination. I don't like to eat my greens, but this is one green I eat with no problems. =D



Moving on to the fried items, we had Taro Dumpling Wu Kok Style with Scallop and Miso Sauce (帶子炸芋角) - this deserves a special mention for more than one reason. The yam shell was not thick, so it didn't overpower the filling. The filling was more savoury with bits of meat and mushroom, and the miso sauce made the dish just slightly sweet; a nice departure from the common cloying sugary char siew filling you usually get in wu kok. Everyone at our table raved about this one.


And then there was Flaky Barbecue Char Siew Pastries (叉燒酥) in the background, served together with Oven-Baked Cheese Tart (芝士撻)! The pastry for the former was soft and flaky, and the sweet meat filling was plentiful. I knew the cheese tart was going to be trouble for me since I'm such a cheese fan, and it really was filled to the brim, oozing with cheese. I would have had more, but I had to save space for equally demanding dim sums. =P


Deep-Fried Sesame Ball with Peanut Paste (花生芝麻棗) - the glutinous rice shell was firm and crispy, and the peanut paste filling was fine and creamy. Certainly a delightful change compared to the sesame balls with coarse-chopped peanut fillings you get elsewhere.



Bean Curd Roll (腐皮卷) - crispy foo chuk, with a slightly sourish & spicy sauce within that tasted a little like asam sauce. If we had to rank all the dim sum, this wouldn't be amongst our first choices. Crispy enough, but we would rather save stomach space for other items.


This Deep-Fried Prawn Dumpling and Salad Dressing (沙律明蝦角) could have been a real winner in my books, since it's essentially a deep fried dumpling with lots of salad sauce. Children would love this, but we wish we could have tasted just a little more prawn in here. 10 points for presentation, though.



What dim sum would be complete without Oven-Baked Mini Egg Tarts with Caramel and Cinnamon (焦糖蛋撻仔)! The pastry was soft and flaky, and the filling within soft and wobbly, just the way we like it. We didn't taste any cinnamon though. Maybe a second taste test is in order! =P



Nearing the end now (are you tired yet? =P), these are Pan-Fried Shanghai Dumpling (上海煎鍋貼). Pan fried, with minced meat inside, it's a safe call for anyone that loves them some fried dumplings.



Those craving for more dishes with carbohydrates can order some Stir-Fried Turnip cake with XO Sauce (生炒蘿卜糕) - the turnip cake was the right texture (not too firm, and not too gooey) and well fried with lots of egg, choy poh (pickled radish) and chilli, the way Wendy likes it!

Thankfully, we're sure this is a 'legal' fried turnip cake! (inside joke =P)



Zuan Yuan does two types of cheong fun to satisfy the tastebuds of many - the Barbecue Char Siew Chee Cheong Fun with Sesame Seeds (麻香叉燒腸) & Scallop and Shredded Dried Scallop Chee Cheong Fun (肉帶滑腸粉).


We liked the other dishes over this; and wished we could have had a little more sauce with this instead. The cheong fun also tasted a little bit thick to me, although that could probably be explained by the vast amount of time we spent taking pictures of the many types of dim sum before finally digging in #firstworldpains =D




To finish off the already-too-much lunch, we each got a plate of Seafood Noodles, crunchy sang meen (fresh egg noodles) in a thick gravy, with prawns and slices of fish. Like the sharks fin soup, every customer is only given one plate of this noodles. By then it was fine by us, because we were bursting at the seams and couldn't have eaten much more even if we had tried anyway! 



We also had an a la carte order of Steamed Wild Rice and Glutinous Rice with Mushroom and Roasted Duck (野米糯米鴨), a huge serving for only RM8. This was interesting due to the use of multigrain rice mixed with glutinous rice and slices of roasted duck on top. 




Let it not be said that Zuan Yuan doesn't provide a full meal! For dessert, there are 2 choices, one being the  Double Boiled Crystal Pear with Fresh Ginseng (蔘須菊花燉雪梨). For those who are very adverse to the taste of ginseng, stay clear from this you'll taste the familiar bittersweetness of ginseng. It's still quite sweet enough though, so we think it should be suitable for everyone!


What will definitely be a big hit with big kids (like me) and real kids is the Chilled Aloe Vera infused with Lemon Grass (香茅蘆薈凍). This was definitely a crowd favourite, akin to the man tau long we used to buy from pasar malam as a child, but with the strong scent of lemon grass which made it very refreshing. This is the kind of thing we wish we could pack everywhere we go so there's a cool snack waiting for us in the hot afternoon sun!


All in all, the damage to our waistline was certainly immense! And yet, we were thoroughly satisfied having given this dim sum buffet a try. None of us had the stomach to add on anymore orders after the first round finished, and in fact there was still food left unfinished. So if you're looking for a dim sum buffet in the next couple of months, give the Dim Sum Galore Buffet at Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant a try. You can be sure of fresh, tasty dim sum in a lovely environment, and we daresay it won't disappoint you. =)


Dim Sum Galore
March & April 2012
Monday - Friday, 12pm-2:30pm (RM 55++)
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 11am-2:30pm(RM 65 ++)

For reservations, please call Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant at +6 03 7681 1159

Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant | Site
Ground Floor,
One World Hotel,
First Avenue, Bandar Utama City Centre,
47800 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 7681 1159
Opening Hours: Daily, 11am-2:30pm & 6:30pm-10:30pm
Seating Capacity: 165 persons
Dress code: Smart Casual



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