|Sweet and sour fish with steamed rice|
We have been living at this suburban abode long enough to be able to report series of urbanization that took place throughout our less-than-ten-year cohabitation. First, a flyover changed the way we used to commute to our favorite haunts. Then, an expressway cut the time we usually spent driving through the traffic into the city and back. Now, very close to our place are a couple of community malls all packed with fancy restaurants, cafes and supermarkets that altered our weekend plans. Instead of always hopping into town every other weekend, we just chill – happily in shorts and sandals – at our nearby malls.
And good thing about these new additions is that we can enjoy more choices. Last weekend, as I was crying out for a good Cantonese Chinese meal and dim sum Saturday, there’s just a new place boasting to serve just those scrumptious bites to satiate both of us.
|Flat rice noodle with preserved back bean sauce and fish fillets|
Liu Xiang Fong – that I just learned by reading the first page of their thick and glossy menu – is a spin-off from Hua Seng Hong – a Chinese chain restaurant that has its outlets in most of Bangkok’s malls. Honestly, that fact instantly dulled my excitement; I was blithely hoping for a new jewel, not a boring derivative. But there we were, settled into our seats with chrysanthemum teas, hot towels in our hands, surrounded by cheerfully smiling attendants and a sad view of tied-up live lobsters in the tank, we continued looking through their menus and decided to order a small lunch just to try.
The first menu at Liu Xiang Fong features main dishes in sections typical to a grand Cantonese eatery. There are, for example, seafood cooked in variations of sauces (flashback to those poor lobsters!!!), congees served with your choices of meats or seafood, varieties of stir-fries, more Cantonese specialties and one-dish meals of rice and noodles.
My eating partner – and I knew this before the words even spilled from his mouth – went for his all-time favorite – the sweet and sour fish fillets and steamed rice. Clearly, someone needed a delicious reminiscence of the old days of Chinese takeouts. Turned out the dish was quite good and tasty with the lightly-floured and deep-fried fish fillets firm and fresh, and the sweet and sour sauce on the nice tangy side with fresh slices of juicy pineapple and bell peppers. Needless to say, it got big and several nods from the guy.
For myself, I chose the flat rice noodle with preserved back bean sauce and fish fillets. The noodle was fried to crisp up but still with their soft and chewy interior. The sauce was tasty (salty and a tad sweet :), veggies fresh and the black beans adding just the right amount of salty punches to each bite.
|Prawn in Thai-style spicy sauce|
Another menu at Liu Xiang Fong lists their dim sum variations. But when we were there, they didn’t offer us the menu printout, but insisted on serving up whatever they had off the steamers at our tableside. I loved choosing dim sum from the cart which always resulted in me choosing way too many. But thanks to a well-practiced self-control, this time I managed to pick just the right amount.
The first basket was the steamed prawns in spicy sauce. Served in a pool of Thai-style spicy lime and fresh chili sauce, the dumplings were undercooked and needed to be sent back into the kitchen. Eventually, when we ate them, we found the big bites good and shrimp-full, albeit with a little too much mixture of flour and starch that formed minced meat into balls.
|Prawn dumplings – to be my choice next time|
Here are my favorite. I would order these the next time around. They were very simple (read – mundane) but very good prawn dumplings. Big and prawn-full, crunchy, and juicy and tasted just like freshly steamed and slightly seasoned prawn with a hint of wonton wrapper and nothing else. See how ordinary my taste can be? ^^
Someone once told me that the look of chasiew pao alone can let on the real finesse of the chef behind the kitchen. Good-looking paos should be plumb and ‘smiling’ like a face of a pretty young girl; revealing just enough of the sexy melting inside but not too much. The cracks of the pao should also be symmetrical, in their typical three-pronged slit. If a chef can make that perfect-looking pao (and excellent wok-fried rice), you can bet he or she makes other dishes excellently also.
Chasiew Pao (BBQ pork buns) at Liu Xiang Fong might not look as perfect. And to tell you the truth, those buns were a bit on a soggy side and not as fluffy and airy as I’d wish. But they were not bad either. And at Bt50 for the whole basket, I would be crazy to write them a complaint letter:)
Summary – Mall-grade food with a notch. Comfy seating, especially the beautifully upholstered rattan chairs. Always have a thing for the rattan chairs; they must have given me a sense of relaxing seaside resort. Price-wise is good too, we paid about Bt750 for everything. Teas are per head and refillable throughout the meal.
Liu Xiang Fong, 2F, The Promenade (new community mall next to Fashion Island), Ramindra Road. T: 02-108-5058. Daily: 10.30-21.00.