I don't know about you, but the only reason why I'd be up early (ie before 10), in the middle of the school holidays (yeh, this was a while ago) is if I'm forced to. But when we decided to make a trip to the city (we rarely go) there were two options- waking up early or not going at all. You see, parking your car in the city costs a lot and we'd much rather spend the money on food so we decided to go early to make it in time for the early bird specials =] Of course, we chose the first option.
So what does one do so early in the morning? Well, we walk around looking at all the not yet open shops and restaurants wishing that they were open so that there would be something to do other than yum cha-ing at Emperor's Garden restaurant- it isn't the best yum cha restaurant in the city. But as luck might have it, there is nothing open other than a restaurant who's entrance is blocked by the delivery van and does not look too appealing. So we end up walking into Emperor's Garden. It is already quite full, which wasn't too surprising given that it's the only restaurant open. We walk in and are quickly shown to a table. The food is already beeing wheeled around and seems good to our stomachs.
We just had breakfast about an hour ago.
Rice Noodle Rolls
Perhaps it's because it's early, but there don't seem to be many fried dishes. But that's okay because the variety of dim sum on offer isn't too bad, and seem to be steaming hot. The steamed food is enough to satisfy our stomachs as we do intend to eat later.
The rice noodle rolls are pretty good, although the rice noodle bit isn't as soft as I'd like them to be. It has a slightly bouncy texture, and the filling of strands of meat and mushrooms is pretty tasty, especially with the sweet soy sauce that the rolls are sitting in.
What I like about yum cha is the excitement of discovering what lays inside the dim sum trolley. Unfortunately, there is only about two dim sum trolleys, both containing similar food items. The food therefore gets offloaded in two batches which doesn't make it as fun as yum cha usually is.
The chicken feet come and our chopsticks fly over, trying hard to grab one which is dark in colour. They haven't been flavoured evenly, and there are some which are lighter in colour than the others and some which are drier too. The chicken feet are also a tad smaller in size than the ones we usually have but otherwise, they are not too bad. The sauce is more garlicky than the ones which we're used to but I love garlic so I quite like these chicken feet.
The service here however, is quite terrible. The yum cha ladies are, as usual ,not the nicest people in the world. What bugged us was that one lady conviniently parked a hot trolley right behind my seat and went off somewhere. At first I ignored it, thinking she'd come back soon. But then it started to get hot- since yum cha trolleys are ...well, hot. We pushed it away, and the trolley was later retrieved with evil glances in our direction, and definitely no apology either.
The steamed pork is soft and really yummy, as it is steamed with bits of dried scallop and mushrooms in it. It sits on a bed of some sort of melon (winter melon I think) which is very soft and tasty, as it has absorbed some of the pork's flavours.
The steamed dumplings were yummy- I love how they're so big they actually fill up the whole steamer. The wrapper was slightly dry, but still delicious and the filling of prawns, chives (I think?), mushrooms and meat was delicious and very satisfying
Can't seem to think of the name right now......
Which is surprising because this is one of my favourite yum cha foods, although this one was not all that great. The meat was very tender, although some bits were slightly chewy and some bits were slightly dry- the garlic and black pepper sauce was delicious though.
Beef Sui Mai
Sui mai isn't my favourite of all yum cha foods, but these beef sui mai are a little different and their meatiness is quite nice. The meat tastes slightly like the meatballs you get at yum cha only these are a little stiffer but eqaully as tasty!
With yum cha being so expensive nowadays, the cost of yum cha in the city is now similar to yum cha elsewhere (It used to be more expensive). Nevertheless, this 'light' meal did cost us quite a bit, but was a nice way to spend our time whilst we waited for the shops to open. It wasn't as bad as I'd thought it'd be! Now, we were fuelled and ready to start on a food-filled day around the city =]