Sherman's Food Adventures: Chef's Choice Chinese Cuisine (Dim Sum)

Chef's Choice Chinese Cuisine (Dim Sum)

Believe it or not, I actually had the Dim Sum at Chef's Choice way before I went for dinner (2 times).  The reason I did not post on it was simple, my pictures were terrible.  Yes, I'm quite picky about that and even these pictures for this post are so-so.  Whatever the case, this visit for Dim Sum is the 4th time I've eaten at Chef's Choice within a month.  I'm pretty confident that I have a good grasp on the place.  Without further ado, let's get to the food!

To start, we had the Seafood Congee where exactly 3 slices of fish, 2 scallops and 2 prawns hid within the broth.  All were of a good size, fresh and cooked just right.  The fish was flaky and soft, scallops were delicate and the prawns had a sweet snap.  As for the congee itself, it was cooked down enough that it was silky with only tiny morsels of the remnants of rice.  I thought it was seasoned enough that it didn't taste plain without being salty.

Not many places serve the classic Shrimp Toast anymore and we had this the first time, so we weren't going to pass it up this time around.  Unlike other versions, the toast on the bottom was not soaked all the way through with oil. Rather it was not overly greasy while being uniformly crunchy.  The shrimp paste topping was well-portioned and had the requisite bounce texture.  It was well-seasoned and still had natural shrimp flavour.

We normally do not order Sweet & Sour Pork during Dim Sum, but we decided to do it this time around.  It consisted of fried pork belly which was juicy and tender.  There was good mouth feel due to its bouncy texture.  There was enough batter to provide crunch (even with the sauce) while not being too heavy.  I found the sauce to be good, but it needed more tanginess in my opinion.  Also, there seemed to be more sauce than the previous time, which made it a bit too saucy.

One of the bigger dishes we ordered was the Spareribs on Rice Noodles Hot Pot.  Last time, I got the tripe version, but didn't see it on the menu this time.  For something that seems rather defaultish due to the generic nature of rice noodle rolls (the ones with no filling), this was prepared really well.  The noodle rolls were pan-seared and really soft while having good elasticity.  There was a bit too much sauce for my liking but that only added to the softness of the noodles.  Plenty of spareribs on top, but they were marinated too much being soft with not enough chew.

One of the more interesting dishes was the Fried Donut filled with shrimp paste.  The donut itself was crispy and light without being greasy.  It tasted great on its own with enough salt.  However, the shrimp paste filling added not only texture, but some sweetness.  The ample amount of shrimp paste was like the shrimp toast (probably the same stuff) being bouncy and well-seasoned.  My only wish is that this came with some sort of dip because it ate a bit dry.

As always, we got the kids favourite dish in the Shrimp Spring Rolls with nori and cheese.  Well, normally, we don't find cheese in shrimp spring rolls, but rest assured, this was fine.  There was only a small amount of cheese, so it was barely noticeable.  Instead, we could taste more of the nori and of course the shrimp instead of the cheese.  The shrimp was bouncy and well-seasoned while the roll itself was crunchy.

Of course I got my usual offal in the Tripe and Tendon.  Although this isn't an overly complicated dish it is difficult to nail the right texture.  It can be underdone where it is chewy or overdone where it is practically melting.   This dish was bang on with tripe that was in large pieces that were buttery tender but still retaining a bite.  The tendon was soft and gelatin like while not melting away.  Seasoning was on point too being sweet, salty and garlicky with some spice.

So at first glance, it was a bit distressing to see the Phoenix Talons with parts of the skin missing at the end of the chicken feet.  That is usually an indication that it was overdone or overhandled.  Fortunately, it ate a whole lot better than it appeared.  They were large in size and extremely plump.  So that meant the cartilage and fat underneath was in fact, not melted away.  Seasoning was good with it leaning towards sweet with plenty of garlic and a touch of spice.

You won't find gigantic Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) at this place, but you will find carefully crafted ones instead.  The dumpling skin was delicate with elasticity.  Inside, the tender shrimp filling had a buttery snap with only enough seasoning for effect without being overwhelming. Often, we concentrate on the size of the dumplings but really, some of those gigantic ones are not good, consisting of mostly shrimp mousse.  Quality over quantity here folks.

Same could be said about the Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) as these were also very modest in size.  However, the ingredients spoke for themselves as there was a good ratio of shrimp to pork.  Furthermore, the pork was fatty enough (without being all fat) to have the perfect complimentary texture to the sweet snap of the shrimp.  Hence, the dumpling ate with plenty of bounce and it wasn't dense.  There was a modest amount of seasoning where we could taste the ingredients.

Unlike many places, they do not serve beef meatballs for Dim Sum.  Rather, they do a version of it that resembles a Beef Siu Mai.  Due to the natural texture of beef, these did not eat like siu mai though.  Rather, think of a similar texture to the beef meatballs (processed beef that becomes bouncy) but a bit denser.  I would've preferred them to be a bit more airy, but they weren't overly dense either.  In terms of seasoning, these were very mild and needed the Worcestershire.

Probably the one thing to get here is the large Seafood Soup Dumpling since they do it the traditional way where it is served in its own steamer rather than a bowl.  Hidden inside the massive dumpling was the usual gelatin (that dissolves into soup when steamed), cilantro, pork and seafood.  Unlike the first time we visited the place, they now serve these in individual portions rather than in 2's.  This way, you can get the exact amount you want for the table.  I thought this dumpling was quite good with a thin tender wrapper (that didn't puncture).  Inside, the gelatin was not all melted, but for the portion that was soup, it was sweet and light.  

For our choices for dessert, we didn't stray far from the regular starting with the Baked Egg Tarts.  These were textbook and then some.  The tart shell was flaky, light and buttery (or lardy...).  There was nice colour to it without being overbaked.  In the centre, the egg custard was light, silky and only sweet enough.  I often say that, but the overly sweet ones from Kam Tou reinforced the belief that not all egg tarts are created equal.

We couldn't forget about their fantastic Steamed Brown Sugar Sponge Cake (as we've had it 2 times before).  I love the size of this as it is easily shared by 8 people.  It was fluffy and airy while the sweet rich caramel flavour of the brown sugar emanated through smell and taste.  Overall, the dim sum here at Chef's Choice is solid complete with great service.  I've had it a few times and it has been consistent.  Pricing is on the higher end, but worth it in my opinion.

The Good:
- Quality dim sum
- Great service
- Clean upscale dining space

The Bad:
- A bit more expensive than mainstream dim sum joints
- Parking is free, but since it is extremely tight, don't drive a LX570 into it



Anonymous said...

Bouncy review.

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