Nice dim sum with nice crowd ~
Had a sudden craving for dim sum on a Sunday afternoon and didnt want to fight with the Crystal Jade crowd so headed towards Hai Tien Lo for some nice quiet dim sum. It was surprisingly not packed at 1pm and we were given a table with a view~
Service was good, but perhaps it was the small crowd as well. Orders were taken swiftly, and staff hurried to offer to refill our tea when they spotted my picking up the tea pot. Nice quiet crowd with some business guys and young families allowed for some peace and quiet. It was also quite nice to just space out at the view sporadically too.
All except the porridge, shark's fin dumpling, and rice flour roll came in 3 pieces:
Shark's fin dumpling in a broth ($13 per pax) - I only tried the broth and liked it quite a bit. It was a very light chicken broth with what I think was the sweetnss of scallops (?). I wished there was more broth so I can drink it as a soup.
Steam crystal dumplings with vegetables ($3.90) - This was disappointingly normal, with the usual crunch of meat and some veg. Presentation can be better too.
Pan fried rice flour rolls with crispy conpoy ($3.90) - Good. The plain rolls came pan-fried excellently and the conpoy added a nice touch of fragrance. The accompanying sauce was some form of bean sauce I think, savoury but too gluey for my liking. Rather eat it plain.
Poached Beijing dumplings stuffed with chicken and prawns in chilli vinegar sauce ($4.20) - The highlight was the sauce itself: very good. It enhanced the sweetness of the dumplings and helped to avoid any typical dim sum 'crunch fatigue' syndrome. The chilli and vinegar was mixed in the correct proportion, and was so good that we ended up dipping most of our other dim sum in it.
Deep fried sea perch wrapped with vermicelli ($5.40) - Was glad we ordered this. Fish was deep fried so to be honest the sweetness of it wasn't apparent, but the vermicelli was freshly fried without the stale oil taste which I am very sensitive to. It wasquite skillfully done and presented, with some roe dotting the top of the pieces.
Century egg porridge ($3.90) - Disappointingly bland and too watery for my liking. It didnt have the fragrance of the century egg as I think they used another variety of century egg which was golden organge hued. Pepper did not manage to lift the taste.
Rose Pu Er ($6 per pax) - Nice fragrant choice, although I personally think $6 is too pricey. I mean how much tea can one drink?
The host who greeted us asked for my name even though I did not make a reservation and I wondered why. Then realized its because she wanted to say goodbye when we left addressing me by name. How nice!
I was quite plesantly surprised by the prices. I'd pick this over Crystal Jade for almost the same pricing with a less noisy / hurried crowd. The varity of dim sum is small though, so expect to be bored after your 3rd visit.
We searched for the button with the 37th label on it, and pressed. Zoom, the elevator, or I preferred to call it the express lift-off, shot up into the sky. Looking downwards as everything became miniature - we were so insignificant. I was actually quite scared when I took a peep. It shouldn’t be, since I’ve been to higher ground before, but still. It always happened. Ding, we reached 37th level, welcome to Hai Tien Lo.
The Steamed shrimp dumpling ($4.80 for 3 pieces) was pretty with the chopped celery giving it a tinge of green.
It must be short-sightedness, but it often occurred with carrot cake. Somehow I always missed out the word steamed, when I ordered carrot cake. So instead of my favourite fried carrot cake, we were surprised when they served a steamed rendition; but it was good! I like how the sauce brings out the flavour of the soft and nice carrot cake. Okay, the full name, steamed carrot cake with preserved meats ($3.90 per portion).
The Steamed pork dumpling with fish roe ($4.80 for 3 pieces) was a piece of art. The curvy lines, with her yellow outfit, topped with the pretty bright orange fish roe.
This was a special, they called it the dim-sum-of-the-week. Sophisticated yeah? It was essentially a shrimp with fish roe on top of a mushroom. An innovative way to do the overdone-to-death prawn in dim sum.
Surprise number two came in the form of pan-fried rice flour roll with crispy conpoy ($3.90 per portion). Well actually it’s not much of a revelation since I asked about the fillings beforehand. Or rather, the lack of fillings. I like the slightly char pan-fried surface of the rice roll with all the crispy toppings. The rice roll on itself was rather bland, but drizzled with the gorgeous sauce; it was good, no, it was tasty!
Since my favourite char siew sou wasn’t available, I just had to make do with the Steamed barbecued pork buns ($2.80 for 2 pieces). White fluffy buns, with sweet char siew fillings, what’s there not to like? I like it sweet, extra sweet please!
Instead of the usual prawn filling, Hai Tien Lo’s rendition came across as the Deep-fried sea perch wrapped in vermicelli ($5.40 for 3 pieces).
* * *
With the to-die-for magnificent view of the marina area, dining at Hai Tien Lo was definitely something that evoked the visual senses together with the taste buds. We chatted, appreciated the skyline, nibbled at the dim sum, drank more tea, and I’m so in love with dim sum! xoxo
You are always welcome to visit ladyironchef for a full-up on this trip. Whatever written herein are my genuine feelings expressed in words. Food, my dear, is what they call an adventure!
I prefer the previous Top of the M for romantic dining. So sad that they were now replaced by Chatterbox.
Meanwhile, I don't see any high level of service being rendered by Hai Tien Lo staff. My father was celebrating his birthday there, but we don't get special items, unlike in Wan Hao/Top of the M/whatever else restaurants.
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