I’d always wanted to have dim sum for the past few weekends, but somehow, certain events always came up during the last minute and the plan had to be put on hold. That was the case, until last Sunday, when I finally managed to get a leisurely few hours to have dim sum for lunch at Tingha Palace in Parramatta Leagues Club. It was our first time there, and we were unsure of what to expect. Located inside a club, parking was aplenty and free. We made our way to the entrance of the restaurant and were given a number. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long before our number was called, and we had a table in a nice and quiet corner.
Pu Er Tea
To start with, we ordered the Pu Er Tea to go with our dishes, because Yum Cha essentially means drink tea! The restaurant was busy but under control, with trolleys of dim sum rolling by every few minutes or so. Most of the wait staff who served us were also very friendly and had good service. For example, a trolley with mostly deep-fried items stopped by, but we were not interested in any of the items so we politely declined. But could we please have some Char Siew Pao and Chee Cheong Fun, we asked the waitress? Not only was she not upset that we didn’t pick any of her items, she actually ordered the items we asked for, and they were on our table within minutes. So very efficient! I had actually tried this with a few other waitresses, and all of my orders actually materialized, without me having to wait for the correct trolleys to come by. We were certainly impressed.
Siew Mai / Pork Dumplings
My favourite item from the visit was the Siew Mai or Pork Dumplings. They were huge and filled with a mixture of succulent prawns and juicy minced pork, nicely wrapped in thin wonton skin. One of the downfalls of the many dim sum places that I visited was that they tend to over-steam the siew mai, making them dark and soggy. The ones we had here were perfectly steamed and served steaming hot.
Har Kau / Prawn Dumplings
Another mainstay of dim sum is the Har Kau, or Prawn Dumplings. These were nicely steamed as well (no breakage of skin), though it would have been better with slightly thinner or more translucent skin. Otherwise, the prawn fillings were generous and succulent, all packed in a huge parcel of a dumpling.
Generous filling of succulent prawns
Saucer noticed a few tables around us ordering the Braised Chicken Feet (Foong Chau) so we followed suit. I am personally not a fan of the chicken feet, but I wouldn’t mind eating them once in a while. I found these to be soft and easy to eat, with quite a nice flavour to it.
Foong Chau / Braised Chicken Feet
Coming from Malaysia, Lor Mai Kai is a common dim sum item, but when we asked for that, we were presented with Glutinous Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf (Hor Yip Fan) instead. And 3 packets of them, no less! Man, how were we going to finish them, we thought. These were unfortunately, not as good as lor mai kai, and had a milder flavour with a dry texture. Also, the fact that there were 3 in a steamer made it even harder for us to finish them off, since glutinous rice can be cloying if too much of it is consumed.
Hor Yip Fan / Glutinous Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf
Inside the Hor Yip Fan
Thankfully, the Char Siew Pao (BBQ Pork Buns) managed to save the day. These were served steaming hot and in a reasonable mini size. I loved the fluffy pao with savoury BBQ pork fillings that I could finish in a few bites. Best to be eaten hot!
Char Siew Pao / BBQ Pork Buns
One trolley that we found interesting was the Pan-Fried Chee Cheong Fun, where the waitress fried the rice noodle rolls to order. Since we had never had this before, we ordered a plate to try and boy, was it a huge one! It was served with sprinkles of fried dried shrimps, which gave it a nice aroma, and the noodles had a slightly crispy exterior. It was definitely something different to our conventional Chee Cheong Fun. The only problem was that the portion was way too huge for the 2 of us, and we ended up having to takeaway more than half of it home. These were best eaten either with the soy sauce it was served in, or with the sweet and nutty sauce that came on the side. Eating with the latter definitely reminded me of the Penang style chee cheong fun!
Pan-Fried Chee Cheong Fun
Finally, even though we were filled to the brim, I simply had to order the Tau Fu Fa for dessert! The Tau Fu Fa lady had already passed by our table many times and when we were finally ready to order, she was all smiles. The Tau Fu Fa or Soybean Custard did not disappoint! It was extremely smooth and soft, but still had a certain amount of firmness that melted in your mouth. Saucer also loved the fact that the syrup was not overly sweet. He almost couldn’t stop himself from slurping the dessert and warned me to quickly eat my share before he finished it all up!
Tau Fu Fa / Soybean Custard with Syrup
Dining environment in Tingha Palace
Overall, we had a pleasant yum cha experience in Tingha Palace, mainly due to some of the good quality dim sum they served, as well as the professional service we had from the wait staff. It was certainly impressive considering the restaurant was full house. For the both of us, the bill came up to AUD$44, and you could see that we really stuffed ourselves silly. For what we ordered, it could easily feed 3 persons! Needless to say, we wouldn’t mind returning if we have more cravings for dim sum in the future.
- 20% discount for cash payments during weekdays
- 10% discount for cash payments during weekends
2/13-15 O’Connell St
NSW 2150 Australia.
Phone: (02) 9890 1688
Yum Cha Hours: Mon to Fri (11.00am to 3.00pm), Sat & Sun (10.00am to 3.00pm)