Good things in small packages

There’s a reason Hongkongers never get tired of yum cha week after week – the city’s dim sum scene is overwhelming, in a good way.

Like its Aqua group counterparts, the newly-opened Dim Sum Library at Elements has a chic yet elegant interior, decorated with mirrored walls and bronze geometric embellishments. Dark furniture and tableware are accented by gold detail.

To echo the interior, Aqua’s executive dim sum chef Leung Kwok-wa specially created the lobster dumplings with Tianqi herbs (HK$62).

The herb’s sweet and slightly bitter flavor enhances the plump seafood, which is wrapped in an edible charcoal-infused skin.

Immunity-boosting ingredients can be seen throughout the menu, which was designed with the Covid-19 situation in mind.

They include wild mushroom and beetroot dumplings (HK$52) and black garlic siu mai (HK$58). “Black garlic is good as an antioxidant,” Leung explained. “Its sour and sweet flavor gives the siu mai a touch of playfulness and cleanses the palate.”

Leung also recommends the dan dan xiaolongbao (HK$52), an innovative take created by the group that combines traditions from Sichuan and Shanghai. The spicy soup that flows out when you pierce the skin is so moreish you’ll wish you had some noodles to go with it.

Another signature dish is the crispy aubergine tossed with salted fish and sakura shrimp (HK$128). The subtle flavors of the aubergine, which is topped with bean curd, balances out the umami taste of salted fish.

Leung’s personal favorite is the wagyu beef puff with black pepper (HK$82), wrapped in a homemade 48-layer puff pastry.

Finish off the meal with a nourishing dessert of chilled hibiscus and guava pudding (HK$52), which has a sweet and sour note to help wash away any greasiness.

For those with a bigger appetite, Dim Sum Library’s sister restaurant, The Chinese Library at Tai Kwun, is now offering weekend free-flow dim sum (HK$298) from 12pm to 3pm with 14 chef-recommended dim sum.

Gorge on traditional delicacies like Sichuan ma la fish bao and steamed mandarin fish cheung fun served with chili peanut sauce. Favorites like the laksa xiaolongbao (HK$28) and black truffle har gow (HK$59) are available as an add-on, and vegetarian options are also available.

Prefer a more traditional meal?

Unlike the two fusion-style eateries mentioned above, Duddell’s 4/F Salon in Central sticks to the classics with its all-you-can-eat 80’s Dim Sum Nights (HK$268), available every Wednesday to Friday from 6pm onwards.

Featured are timeless dishes like shrimp dumplings with bamboo shoots and Teochew dumplings with peanuts. Baked and fried delights such as barbecued pork buns and prawn spring rolls are also served, as well as street foods like curry trio and imitation shark fin soup.

Nostalgic desserts include red bean and tangerine sweet soup, white sugar pudding and sweet sesame roll.

Apart from savoring the delicacies, if you want to learn more about dim sum, the popular dim sum-making class (HK$488) is returning to Michelin-starred Ming Court at Cordis Hong Kong in Mong Kok. Every Saturday this month from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, its head dim sum chef will lead a class of eight to 10 step-by-step in making the restaurant’s signature dim sum.

Included in the menu are new Caledonia blue prawn dumplings served with bamboo shoots, scallop dumplings served with morel mushroom, rose petal red bean buns and lava hawthorn balls served with strawberry jam.

After the class, each guest will receive a coupon for chicken consomme served with matsutake mushroom and bamboo pith, as well as a HK$300 dinner voucher for their next visit.

(This article was published at The Standard on May 15, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Good things in small packages )

200515 Good things in small packages

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