Nope, FLM is not a bad word, on the contrary, its the best place for well made and relaxed dim sum that (I feel) is great value for the ambience and quality of food.
If you have been reading my blog (not to sound presumptous or anything) you would probably know that I’m a complete dim sum fiend – I consider it the one category of food I would have no problems eating every day for the rest of my life because of the sheer variety, the bite sized portions, and the distinct Cantonese flavor.
My sister D is exactly like me in this aspect and I suspect that we inherited this crazy love for yum cha from our mother, who has a very Cantonese, very noisy, and very huge extended family (MAHJONG! DIMSUM! DOUBLE-BOILED SOUP! SHOPPING!)
Anyway, the first thing that will hit you about Fook Lam Moon is how .. spacious … it is compared to your run of the mill, hole in the wall dimsum place in HKG.
I mean, I am all for the authentic, buzzing, noisy, greasy native experience but sometimes you just want to yumcha in peace and quiet without noisy aunties pushing trolleys full of steamers around that may or may not fall on your head if you’re in the way.
The crowd when we were there was pure Cantonese. No mainlanders in sight, mostly nuclear families ( Dad with Blackberry, Mom with Prada bag, two small kids and a helper) or suits entertaining clients.
Without further ado, the food, which I can only describe as refined. and major yummers, of course.
As you can see, I’ve labelled it “Porridge” and not Congee because, to my utter surprise, the version served at FLM was not the usual yummy sticky congee (boiled so long the grains have dissolved into starch) but rather a broken-grain porridge.
To be honest, I thought I would be disappointed but I wasn’t at all. For the rice grains were steeped in an amazingly tasty broth with a deep umami complexity that could only have been achieved with the best ingredients and long hours of boiling bones, seafood, etc.
Using the stock for congee would have been a waste. With rice porridge it was just right – enough contrast between the bites of rice and the yummy stock without being too rich.
Very good, but not very outstanding. The rice rolls were suitably silky, the prawns fresh, the vegetables blanched just right, but I felt there was something slightly missing in the sauce that would have elevated it. In any case, it was still better than most of the upmarket versions I have tried in SG.
Perfect ! Refined, thin skin that wasn’t too thin/soggy after steaming – if you get it right, the skin should turn out almost translucent throughout, but most places are either inconsistent or get it too thick, making each mouthful that much more doughey.
Prawns were very fresh without the weird over-crunchiness from using soda water (cheap trick to make prawns look turgid)
Paired with some home made XO chilli sauce, it was crunchy chewy perfection.
Again, gorgeous ( I couldn’t find ANYTHING WRONG with FLM’s dimsum, unlike most places where there are more hits than misses and only one signature dish done well)
Bun – Fluffy, not stodgy at all, light, airy
Meat – Incredibly flavourful, smoky, tender.
My dad is a health aficionado and only eats organic rolled oats for breakfast, avoids red meat, and enjoys steamed fish and rice. Meaning he avoids deep fried food like the plague.
He insisted on only eating half of one of these but ended up eating the whole thing – because they were that good. I think it may be the minced pork filling inside – the ‘pang’ (fragrance) of the fried pork belly just perfumed the mashed yam. Soft, yielding, and scrummy on the inside, crispy savoury yam on the outside.
I wish my mum had been there – this is her favourite dimsum item.
I think I have run out of adjectives to describe good food. Plus, the picture speaks for itself. Every grain of that pearly glutinous rice was filled with flavour, no grain was mushy, the rice didn’t reek of damp lotus leaf (as it is apt to do in dimsum places where they pre-steam the food or overcook the lotus parcels)
And the nugget of Yunnan ham inside was just the icing on the cake.
Finally, FLM’s signature dish, the Liu Sha Bao (also my favourite dimsum indulgence of all time)
On the outside – unassuming, plain looking little bun.
Inside – golden flowing sunshiney goodness.
I show you:
What maketh the perfect LSB ? Try the Libby taste test:
- Pick it up (yes you should be able to pick it up) – is the bottom soggy? Can you see a hint of yellow? If yes, FAIL.
- Rattle the bun. Can you hear a slight sloshing that indicates the insides are liquid? PASS
- Slowly tear the bun open down the middle. The filling should be just right to be held in both sides of the bun without spilling all over your plate. If yes, PASS
If the bun fails #1, it means that the bun skin was either too thin or the chef overcooked it / over filled the bun.
Failing #2 means that again, the chef overcooked the liquid and it is now blobby and gooey and now the flowing butterscotch liquid that it is supposed to be. It could also mean it was served to you slightly cold and not fresh
#3 – If it spills, too much filling. Too much filling is overwhelming and cloying.
Taste wise, your Liu Sha Bao should be the perfect balance between sweet and salty – the sweet from the custard, the salty from the salted egg thats beat into it. The consistency should be slightly more liquid than cream, and never grainy.
FLM fulfilled all my expectations except one – THERE SHOULD BE TEN AND NOT THREE BUNS IN ONE STEAMER!
Just kidding 🙂
With good dimsum and tea, anything can be overcome.
So there you have it – eating my way through Hong Kong to bring you the best dim sum ! Go to Hong Kong and try Fook Lam Moon – you will never be able to look at Crystal Jade again, let alone 126 (turns up nose snobbily)
Fook Lam Moon
53-59 Kimberley Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
Tel: (852) 2366-0286 Fax: (852) 2739-8063
Also has outlets in Wanchai, Tokyo (Ginza), and Osaka.
What are your pet peeves or favourite dimsum places ! Share !