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Eating Like Royalty at Dim Sum King

Satiate your dim sum and Cantonese food cravings at this inviting teahouse located in one of Kuningan’s best situated hotels, the Manhattan. Freshly prepared dim sum and Southern Chinese classic meals are what drive this intimate restaurant.

The term ‘Chinese food’ is actually a misnomer. The cuisine in China incorporates the various regions of the country that vary widely in taste, ingredients, preparation and cooking styles. Historically, not long after the expansion of the Chinese empire during the period around 200BC, the Han people started to embark on a type of classification system for cuisines that had been incorporated into the new kingdom. However, issues surrounding boundaries, political instability and the constant shifting of cultural identities during these early days prevented authorities from creating a definitive system. That there were great differences in each region ranging from climate, resources and ingredients didn’t help matters much.

As time progressed and China’s borders became more rigidly similar to what they currently are and Han culture became prevalent (via a merge or imposition with other ethnicities and cultures), scholars created a classification system called the ‘Eight Great Regional Cuisines.’ One of these great traditions is the Yue, or more popularly referred to in English as Cantonese cuisine. Within this stratum, there are further clarifications of each cultural style of Cantonese cuisine, with some having more influence and popularity in other cultures such as Hakka or Fujian.

Perhaps the most well-known style of cuisine to arise from Cantonese cuisine is that of dim sum.

It is served in smaller portions and eaten alongside a hot pot of tea. In Hong Kong, many of these teahouses require servers to push carts around loaded with steamer baskets or plates full of bits and pieces of savoury and sweet delicacies such as meatballs, dumplings, pastries, cakes, roasts, soups, charcuterie and so on.

It is served in smaller portions and eaten alongside a hot pot of tea. In Hong Kong, many of these teahouses require servers to push carts around loaded with steamer baskets or plates full of bits and pieces of savoury and sweet delicacies such as meatballs, dumplings, pastries, cakes, roasts, soups, charcuterie and so on. Usually, people eat dim sum with family and friends as a brunch on the weekends, and it’s more formally called yum cha in this instance.

 

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‘Usually, people eat dim sum with family and friends as a brunch on the weekends, and it’s more formally called yum cha in this instance.’ | Photo by May Tien

 

At Dim Sum King, one can find many of the classic dishes within this great cuisine from a modest, but venerable menu served fresh upon order. On a recent visit, we were treated to beautifully steamed dim sum baskets of Tim Kaki Ayam (fung jau) and Sio Mai (the halal version of siu mai). Tim kaki ayam are quite the delicacy, as they are more or less chicken feet and ankles. There’s a famous saying in China: “Anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies with its back to heaven is edible.” There is a natural continuation to that proverb in this case: “No edible part of the animal goes to waste!” It takes skill to make that part of the bird soft and supple, infused with aromatics and seasonings no less worthy of any other more expensive part. The Sio Mai at Dim Sum King are delicate and beautiful little bites of ground chicken wrapped in a golden pastry and steamed, tender to the bite.

Dim Sum King also offers delicious mains and sides in addition to their dim sum menu. We enjoyed the Fried Crispy Noodles in Assorted Seafood, which features a large mix of fresh seafood stir fried with Asian vegetables and light gravy that is then drizzled over crunchy noodles. The Black Pepper Beef Hot Plate was very satisfying; the beef slivers were tender and the sliced sweet onions were a nice contrast to the spicy black pepper sauce. This dish is best poured over a bowl of steamed rice and eaten with a spoon.

 

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‘Dim Sum King also offers delicious mains and sides in addition to their dim sum menu.’ | Photo by May Tien

 

At the Dim Sum King, there is ample space for family and friends to come together and enjoy a feast. The dining room is kitschy chic, with many Chinese embellishments for good luck and fortune scattered throughout. It is located on the fifth floor of the Manhattan Hotel, a stoic business hotel located in Central Kuningan. Dim Sum King is a great place for casual dining, and a good option for those who want traditional Cantonese food in the area without having to endure lines or long waits. The staff are attentive and friendly, they provide a change of plates and also keep your tea cup filled to the brim.

Weekends are a special deal at Dim Sum King. On Friday evenings and midday Saturdays and Sundays, there is a special all-you-can-eat buffet. One would be hard pressed to find dim sum, shabu-shabu, delicious mains and desserts at the incredible price of Rp.128,000 (US$9.60) net, per person. This is the time to bring family and friends and enjoy much of the kitchen’s creations. As it is situated in the Manhattan Hotel, there are ample opportunities to have a cocktail before or after a meal at one of the lounges or even a coffee at the Central Park Restaurant.

One of most interesting deals at the Manhattan Hotel (as well as their sister hotels, Sunlake and Merlynn Park) is that they offer culturally appropriate wedding packages for clients who would like to provide their guests with a special engagement. The Chinese banquets on offer are grand, and for happy couples looking for a nice option at a competitive price, the Sunlake Group of Hotels has some of the best offers in greater Jakarta.

 

Dim Sum King Restaurant

Manhattan Hotel, Fifth Floor

#1 Jalan Prof. Doktor Satrio, Kuningan, Jakarta 12950

Telephone: 021 3004 0888 ext. 7081

Website: www.hotel-manhattan.com

 

Featured Image by Hisakazu Watanabe/Flickr

 

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May Tien is a freelance writer who specializes in culinary anthropology and Asian cuisines. She has worked in the restaurant hospitality industry for many years and mentored students at Le Cordon Bleu in New Zealand.


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