Sherman's Food Adventures: Happy Valley Food City (Dim Sum Service)

Happy Valley Food City (Dim Sum Service)

Fresh off a visit to the HK-Style Cafe side of Happy Valley Food City, we were curious about their Dim Sum service on the other side of the restaurant.  Truthfully, my parents had already visited a few weeks prior and they said it was decent.  Hence, we went with them on a Saturday morning to see for ourselves.  As mentioned in the previous post, you cannot order anything but Dim Sum in that section of the restaurant (and Chinese BBQ during dinnertime).  For all your HK-Style Cafe needs, you must be seated in the front section of the place.

To kick off the meal, the first plate to hit the table was something sweet in the "Turtle" BBQ Pork Pineapple Buns.  These were cute, but ultimately good too.  The actual bun wasn't super airy, yet wasn't dense either.  Uniform in shape and completely intact, the "pineapple" crispy sugar and butter topping was good.  Inside, there was a bevy of sliced BBQ pork that was fairly lean.  The glaze was a bit pale in colour, but was sweet and savoury.

Sticking with the same protein, the BBQ Pork Pastries with Unagi were something familiar with a twist.  As for the pastry, it was flaky and light while not being too greasy from the lard.  Inside, the filling was essentially the same as the aforementioned BBQ pork bun.  With the unagi on top, it added another layer of sweetness and texture.  For me at least, I would've preferred it to be mixed in with the filling, even though there would be less of it.

Next, we had something we always order, in the XO Lo Bak Goh (Daikon Cake).  This featured fairly large cubes of daikon cake which were semi-firm.  Hence, they retained their shape while not being overly dense.  The exterior was fried nicely where it was slightly crispy.  I found the dish to be not that greasy (as it can be).  My only complaint would be the lack of XO flavour and spice in general.

One of the kids most favourite things to eat is beef brisket (in any shape or form).  Therefore, we decided to get the Beef Brisket with Rice Noodles.  In reality, there was more pieces of rib finger meat than actual brisket.  However, that was fine by us as we prefer that cut of meat anyways.  The meat was moist and tender with appealing fattiness.  Flavours were impactful and there was enough sauce to coat the rice noodles.

So here we are with arguably the most important Dim Sum dish - Ha Gau (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings).  If you look closely at the picture, it is pretty apparent that the dumpling skin was rather thick.  It certainly ate that way too with a noticeable denseness and chewiness.  It had good elasticity though.  Inside, the filling was quite good with whole shrimp that had a moist snap.  Seasoning was on point with aromatics including sesame oil.

Now arguably the second most important dish is the Siu Mai (Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  For this version, they served 5 of them unlike the usual 4.  I found these to be good with pieces of pork that exhibited the classic bounce texture.  The dumplings were juicy and properly seasoned with equal parts savoury and sweet.  The little dollop of raw tobiko on top made things appealing.

Of course we were going to order the Shrimp Spring Rolls since the kids love this dish.  This arrived piping hot and freshly out of the deep-fryer.  If you take a look at the shrimp filling, you will notice they are big pieces of whole shrimp.  Texturally, they were on point with a juicy rebound while being well-seasoned.  The exterior was lightly crunchy and none too greasy.

My daughter never passes up the opportunity to have some congee, so we got a small bowl of the Fish & Vegetable Congee.  This was pretty solid with a thick base that had the right viscosity (thick but still drinkable).  It was seasoned enough so there was a nutty sweetness.  There was no shortage of fish that was well-marinated, so that it was still moist and flaky.

So far so good with the dishes we had, but the Steamed Chicken Feet was probably the weakest of the bunch.  First of all, the chicken feet were on the scrawnier side, hence there was less skin, cartilage and fat.  Second, most of them were missing skin as you can clearly see.  At the very least, they were soft and braised enough.  Also, the flavours were on point with garlicky and sweet notes as well as the saltiness of black bean.

Back to the kids, they felt like some Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves) this time around.  Another good dish were the sticky rice was soft and glutinous.  As you see, there was a good amount of ground pork and shiitake filling as well.  Hence, there was a balance of textures and flavours with starch-thickened sauce mixed well with the rice.

Looking a bit pale, the Steamed Beef Meatballs were inundated with green onion.  Sure, there is supposed to be some in the mix, but this was a bit excessive.  The result was a very one-note flavour which of course, was green onion.  As for the texture, these were textbook with a fluffy rebound and airiness.  They had been whipped just enough to achieve this.

Even though we had the beef brisket rice rolls already, we ended up with the more usual Prawn Rice Noodle Roll as well.  Yes, without the soy, it looks pretty plain and pale, but rest assured, this was pretty good.  The sheet of rice noodle was semi-thick with good elasticity.  Inside, the whole prawns were meaty with a rebound.  They were mildly seasoned where it allowed the soy to do its thing.

Normally, when we order Steamed Black Bean Pork Spareribs, the small sauce dish is 3/4 full.  Well, for this one, it was overflowing with spareribs.  Not only was the portion impressive, it was also prepared properly.  Most pieces were meaty rib portions and they were marinated enough that the flavours penetrated and the meat had a nice bounciness.  This was probably one of the best dishes of the meal.

Even though we had a few sweet items already, our actual dessert was the Steamed Sponge Cake.  Loved this as the brown sugar afforded a rich and toffee-like sweetness that wasn't overwhelming.  The cake itself was moist and airy.  So overall, the Dim Sum at Happy Valley was decent and we would have no problem having it again.  Definitely better than the HK-Style stuff we had the previous week.

The Good:
- Generally decent
- Above-average service
- Well-portioned

The Bad:
- Some dishes could use further refinement
- Limited seating for Dim Sum


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