Tai Thong's latest batch of seasonal specialities shows why this long-entrenched restaurant titan remains a 21st-century favourite, with fresh interpretations of dim sum & mooncakes that seem set to satisfy both traditionalists & the modern-minded.
This year, Tai Thong began introducing thematic sets of dim sum that evolve every three months; for August-October, the 'Black Temptations' collection comprises highlights like yin-&-yang pan-seared dumplings filled with fish paste & a mellow blend of cheese (RM9.80) & charcoal buns stuffed with a mix of durian & salted egg yolk (RM9.80) - these surprising combos work in beautiful harmony. For the buns, each bite of the centre is richly nuanced - the aromatic sweetness of the durian seamlessly segues into the gentle savouriness of the yolk, the former supplying a lush creaminess & the latter a little bit of grit.
Comforting familiarity is mingled with enterprising novelty - glutinous dumplings with a burst of light sesame paste (RM6.80) should win over fans of kuih koci, while the mildly bitter chilled coffee jelly cake (RM5.80) evokes layers of agar-agar, but both are imbued with carefully crafted new dynamics of taste & texture to help them stake a viable claim as inventive creations.
The 'regular' dim sum selection is worth sampling too; recommendations include shredded duck cheong fun (RM9.80; the savoury-crispy meat is a flavourful counterpoint that's perfectly balanced with the rice noodle skin) & the deep-fried balls with a soft, hot interior of sweetly ripe banana flesh & red bean (RM6), alongside classics of har kao, siew mai & char siew bao.
Tai Thong's a la carte menu is also spilling with intriguing attractions - the Flaming Beijing Duck is a recently launched recipe, featuring the traditional barbecue-roasted fowl with a twist, set afire at the table with rose-scented liquor that adds a charming floral fragrance to the crisp skin. This unique interpretation will likely stay available at all Tai Thong branches through Sept. 30.
The most coveted cuts of the duck are sliced & served with Tai Thong's crunchy buns; make the most of the remainder of the tender, top-notch meat by requesting it fried simply with salt & pepper. Need veggies? Try the claypot mustard leaves with pork belly for something to satisfy both your fibre & protein requirements. All of the above pair well with a Cabernet Merlot.
Tai Thong's mooncakes are wide-ranging, but 2015's newbies specifically harness the power of fruits. Perky, punchy lotus variations comprise blueberry with dried fruits & assorted seeds, plus orange with palm sugar & seeds. The soothingly nectarous snow-skin collection showcases mango kiwi with dried fruits, & a textured tropical pineapple with jackfruit mochi. Many thanks to the Tai Thong team for being warm hosts.
Imperial China Tai Thong Restaurant
Jalan SS 17/2, Subang Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 03-5636-1266
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