To know a friend's secret address for delicious dim sum in town is like stumbling on a new treasure for someone always on the crave for the "touches of heart" like me.
Lin Fa Chinese restaurant at Siam City Hotel has been in business for more than 17 years and has extended a reputation far beyond the hotel's guests. In fact, thanks to its savoury dim sum (Chinese for "touches of heart"), the place has been a favourite for locals looking for a hearty get-together meal with friends and families for a long time.
Tucked in the back of the hotel's ground floor, Lin Fa serves daily dim sum and a la carte menu for lunch and set meals for dinner. The place looks like a luxurious Chinese teahouse, airy and bright with a mezzanine floor dedicated to six private rooms, the largest accommodating up to 40 people. For a small hungry bunch like us, we gathered around one of the ground floor's big tables.
Lin Fa's dim sum menu reveals yet another delight - the prices are reasonable. Most items are Bt50 to Bt65, some seafood are Bt70 to Bt80 and the steamed scallops in goose liver sauce the most expensive at Bt120.
Going crazy, we chose the Tsiu-Chow sui mai, steamed pork/shrimp dumplings, steamed fun-koh, steamed crab meat/pork dumplings, ha-gao, steamed scallop cheng-fun, crispy-fried taro, deep-fried turnover, steamed crab legs in curry sauce and steamed prawns in Thai-style chili sauce. You must try their shrimp-loaded sui mai and scrumptious turnovers, for they are both very good.
Chef Kotchapak Metheebovorn has been at Lin Fa since the place opened. Trained with a Hong Kong chef at an early age, Thai-native Kotchapak confirms that delicious dim sum is made with fresh and well-seasoned ingredients, fresh flour wrappings and the sharp ability to control the fire to bring out best and natural flavours. While sticking to the traditional Cantonese cooking in most areas, Kotchapak adds some tasty Thai-style items to spice up the whole eating experience. An order of steamed prawns in chilli sauce brightens the tastes of the meal and Kotchapak's flavouring is heavy on seasoning, which suits Thai tastes.
Cantonese cooking is revered for its healthy and sumptuous soup, so we tried their braised fresh fish maw with crab meat in brown sauce (Bt350). The steaming hot soup of fish maw, believed to be a collagen booster for skin, comes in a clay pot with spicy Thai seafood sauce on the side.
Another favourite is the crispy roasted duck (Bt700), which comes chopped, boneless and wholesome with the tasty meat served with slices of fried bun, cucumber pickles and thick sweet sauce.
We wanted to try their fried noodles too, but we wanted to leave room for dessert. I liked my mango/banana spring rolls with raspberry sauce enough, but a bite into my companion's tangy and sweet gingko nut flambe with ice cream made me wish I had ordered his. But everything depends on a person's taste because another companion ignored all the aforementioned items and tucked happily into her warm-cold combination of Chinese pancakes and ice cream. Desserts are Bt120 each.
Lin Fa regularly holds dim sum cooking classes for Bt1,600. Also, the restaurant offers all-you-can-eat dim sum weekend lunch at Bt495 net per person.
Sirin P Wongpanit
The writer can be reached at www.ohsirin.blogspot.com.