Umm, That Rich Feeling…

Abalone Dumpling, Bt150 apiece

Here’s a dilemna I face writing about dim sum. A favorite and almost ubiquitous Chinese meal, dim sum has become so common in Thailand that there are more dim sum restaurants around to talk about, not to mention to try, them all. As a writer, I find it downright boring writing about things people already know so much about. But like any other things in the world – there are dim sum and dim sum, and this is the latter. And if your benchmark of a good dim sum meal is by the good old classic Hong Kong standard, you will want to try the delicacies at ‘Chef Man’ – the Chinese outlet at the new Eastin Grand Hotel on Sathorn Road.

The Man’s Ha Gaw

I first heard about Chef Man (Mr. Man Wai Yin) from a good friend – a chef and an avid foodie who, one day, out of the blue, handed me a simple-looking mooncake stuffed with the creamiest and most luscious savoury lotus paste with the flakiest, richest yet softest crust that gave my palate a whole new meaning of deliciousness. Of course, she said, that mooncake was one of Man’s delicacies, but it was only exclusively available among her father’s friends. Since she likes me, she said, she ‘stole’ one from her dad for me. That was one hell of a mooncake – so headily rich and wonderfully aromatic with, probably, lard – but the best I had ever eaten.

Deep Fried Tofu Skin Rolls

Good news is that we no longer need to steal from my friend’s father just to eat Chef Man’s food. The chef has just made his public debut with his namesake restaurant serving dim sum and a selection of Cantonese delicacies in Bangkok. In a plush carved wood and gold-trimmed interior, Chef Man’s is where we can simply drop by for a scrumptious dim sum lunch, or if you prefer, an opulent Cantonese dinner. On the twice occasions that I were there, dim sum were the choice among us all – a proof that good dim sum always has a place among the Thai die-hard fans.

BBQ Pork Pies

Chef Man’s two-page dim sum menu features both classic favorites and newbies from the steamers and fryers. For dim sum, we ordered the staples of BBQ pork buns which were theoretically beautiful (like smiling pretty girls), ha gaw, BBQ pork pies, braised chicken feet, shrimp dumplings, rolled noodles with fresh prawns and crispy prawns, pan-fried chive cakes, the wonderful abalone dumplings, crispy taro dumplings and melting cream buns. All pieces were gorgeous with well-crafted looks. The steamed dim sum were flavourful with the well-seasoned prawn stuffing. We all died for the abalone dumpling with its sauce so rich and flavourful we literally licked our plates. We were also amazed by the pies; chef Man has such a knack for for the pie crust. It was melt-in-the-mouth flaky, rich and so delicate it crumbles at the touch.

Gorgeous BBQ Pork Buns

One thing about this place is their ‘melting cream buns’ (lao sa pao) which are a perfect reminiscence of a good Hong Kong style dim sum. The soft buns are filled with the melting eggy cream and ready to explode once you tear them apart!! Since these buns used to be available only in Hong Kong, those who frequented the Island found them an epitome of Hong Kong’s dim sum delicacies. Now they are here in Bangkok with the taste and texture to match, thanks to the Man.

Melting Cream Buns

We also ordered half a crispy chicken. Sounds simple enough a plate, right? But tell you what, simple dish is sometimes very very hard to perfect. Chef Man’s crispy chicken was baked to a perfect juicy and delicious state with lacing chicken aroma, the skin perfectly crispy. I would love to eat more of it if not for the limited space left in my tummy🙂

The Crispy Skin Chicken

We also ordered two noodle dishes – egg noodle with chicken and rice noodle with pork. The chicken noodle was made with the slim Hong Kong egg noodle crispy fried to intensify its aroma and topped with rich chicken stock gravy with additional crispiness from the bean sprouts, carrot stalks and shitake mushroom. One or two bowls of this provides just a perfect ending for a meal of eclectic dim sum bites. The pork noodle, meanwhile, was quite bland to our liking although we loved the soft and silky texture of the rice noodle.

Egg Chicken Noodle

Chef Man’s desserts are also eye-openers. Have you heard about rolled noodle mango? Here he put his delicate skills into a good surprise by making the silky tofu curd into thin sheet and rolling it onto pieces of very sweet mango. Served chilled, this simple-looking dish gave an impressively sweet and tasty effect. I just loved it!

Mango Noodle Roll

And here are the flakiest, melt-in-the-mouth egg tarts. They are small in size, so their super-richness should only just entice you. The creamy filling is baked to just set and still slightly ripples when touched. And that with the perfectly flaky crust to match!! IMAGINE…

Chef Man, 3rd Floor, Eastin Grand Sathorn. The hotel is next to Blue Elephant restaurant and the easiest way to go there is by BTS. Get off at Surasak and walk through its connecting walkway. T: 02-210-8100.

Expect to pay about Bt1,000 per person for dim sum.

 

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