Thursday, May 19, 2016

Best Pork-Free Dim Sum in KL

One of the best ways to spend a leisurely morning is to sip Chinese tea and indulge in a variety of dim sum with your loved ones or close friends. Originally a Cantonese custom, dim sum is often linked to the Chinese tradition of drinking tea or "yum cha".

Dim sum can be made from a wide range of ingredients, including beef, chicken, pork, prawns and more, which can be steamed, deep fried, pan fried or baked. These days, you will find many excellent pork-free dim sum restaurants around town too.

Here are some of my favorite (and some of the best) pork-free dim sum restaurants in KL. Most of these restaurants do the dim sum so well that you'd forget there isn't pork involved.

1. Chynna in Hilton KL

Walk into the restaurant and you will be greeted by the sight of steamer baskets in their open dim sum kitchen. The pork-free dim sum here is exquisite and we definitely left with happy tummies.

Traditionally made with pork, the siew mai here at Chynna is made with chicken and prawns instead, and topped with scallop and flying fish roe. Delicious!

Other must-try items here are the har gao (steamed crystal shrimp dumpling), steamed Australian scallop and shrimp dumplings as well as the crispy rice paper rolls with fresh mango and shrimps.

Read more about Chynna here.

2. Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

Here at Celestial Court, you can find a mix of traditional and innovative dim sum made with high quality ingredients. The dim sum here has the wow factor - some of the daintiest, prettiest ones you can find in KL and they taste absolutely fantastic too.

They offer an All-You-Can-Eat dim sum buffet on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays. This includes unlimited servings of dim sum as well as Cantonese a la carte dishes. Our favorite items here include the crab meat dumpling in spicy vinegar soy, squid ink har gao and the crystal vegetarian dumpling with truffle oil essence. There is even lobster on the menu.

Read more about Celestial Court here.

3. Tai Zi Heen, Pullman KLCC

Tai Zi Heen in Pullman KLCC (previously Prince Hotel) was one of the first pork-free dim sum restaurants that we tried in KL. After tasting the dim sum here, we were convinced that pork-free dim sum can be just as good as the porky versions.

On weekends and public holidays, they offer an All-You-Can-Eat dim sum buffet (cooked to order) for a very reasonable price of RM60.65 nett. They have recently refreshed their dim sum menu, offering over 30 delectable dim sum items including the Siew mai, Shrimp and chicken dumplings with Szechuan soy chilli dressing, Prawn dumplings with wasabi dressing and Deep fried bean curd rolls with Cheddar cheese and shrimp.

For salted egg yolk fans, there is a salted egg ice cream with red bean which you can order for dessert.

Read more about Tai Zi Heen here.

4. Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Arguably the most luxurious, elegant setting in KL for exquisite, handmade dim sum is Lai Po Heen in Mandarin Oriental KL.  You will find over 35 pork-free dim sum items from the menu to choose from, including steamed dim sum, steamed rice rolls, fried and baked dim sum, soup, congee, rice and noodles.

Some of the must-try items here include the siew mai topped with crystal prawn, mushroom buns with assorted mushroom, pan fried bean curd rolls filled with shrimps and cheese and the oven-baked egg tarts.

For durian fans, end your meal with their signature dessert, the famous LPH durian pancakes.

Read more about Lai Po Heen here.

5. Five Sen5es, Westin Kuala Lumpur

Five Sen5es have recently revamped their menu to reflect their pork-free restaurant status. The restaurant offers an All You Can Eat Simply Dim Sum on weekdays (RM78 nett per person) and weekends (RM115 nett per person).

One of the must-try items here is the poached prawn dumplings in crab roe bisque - the bisque was rich in flavour and velvety smooth. The xiao long bao aka steamed Shanghainese dumpling (RM16) here is pretty unique - the delicate dumplings are filled with the herbal "chick kut teh" soup, a chicken version of the ever popular Malaysian bak kut teh. I am not usually a fan of yam puffs but the deep fried crispy yam puff here was excellent - it was light and crispy, and furthermore, it comes with fresh scallop filling.

For dessert, order the traditional baked mini egg tarts - the pastry is crumbly and crisp.

Read more about Five Sen5es here.

6.Ti Chen, Saujana Kuala Lumpur

I've only tried a few items off their dim sum menu, however whatever we did try was good. We had the "Ti Chen" Steamed Prawns Dumplings "Har Kao", Steamed Signature Chicken Dumplings "Siew Mai", Deep-fried Jackfruit with Prawn Rolls, Deep-fried Beancurd Skin Rolls with Sweet Sour Sauce and Hong Kong Yee Fu Noodles. Can't wait to go back and try more!

Read more about Ti Chen here.

7. Dolly Dim Sum

Dolly Dim Sum has outlets in Avenue K and Nu Sentral, and is the only non-hotel pork-free restaurant to make it into this list. We were impressed with the dim sum here, especially the crystal prawn dumpling with prawn and chives filling; the dumpling skin was so thin, translucent and delicate, truly masterful.

Another favorite is the salad prawn dumpling, with a crispy exterior and plump, juicy prawns. Other noteworthy items are the siew mai and roasted BBQ bun, made with chicken and was good tastewise.

Read more about Dolly Dim Sum here.

8. Tao, InterContinental KL

Over here at Tao, the wu kok is filled with minced black pepper smoked duck in lieu of pork - we love the beautiful crispy exterior. Another popular dish here is the stir fried radish cake with spicy sun dried scallop sauce.

Read more about Tao here.

9. Kim Ma, Palace of the Golden Horses

Typically, dim sum is served in a basket of 3 or 4 pieces, which is not ideal for a group of 2 diners as it limits the types of dim sum you can try in a sitting, especially if you are small eaters. The great thing about dining in Kim Ma is that you can customise how many pieces of dim sum you would like to order, hence you can try more varieties of dim sum here.

My favorites here include dried scallop dumpling with caviar and baked puffs with unagi. Kim Ma also offers an "All You Can Eat Dim Sum" package every weekend and public holidays (10am to 4pm) for RM65 nett per person.

Read more about Kim Ma here.

10. Dynasty Restaurant, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel

Eat to your heart's content with the all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch here for just RM43.80 nett per person. Available from Mondays to Saturdays from 12 noon to 2.30pm, diners can handpick from a selection of 35 scrumptious dim sum which are made-to-order, including steamed, fried and baked dim sum as well as congee and rice rolls. 

Our favorites here include the Crystal prawn dumplings with water chestnut, Dynasty's glutinous rice with smoked duck, Crispy mango prawn dumpling and egg tarts.

If you know of any other good pork-free or halal dim sum restaurants in KL, do share it with me in the comment box below.

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  1. Thanks for sharing! I would like to bring my buddy to one of this place since he can't eat pork :)

  2. I would love to nominate Siang Restaurant (Sogo) and Quality Hotel KL for your next reviews ;)

    1. Thank you for the suggestions, will definitely try these places out. :)

  3. Luk Yu in Starhill is pretty good too :)

  4. Do you have any non halal dim sum review?

  5. Hi Steven

    All dim sum reviews are posted under this label:

    You will be able to find non-halal dim sum if u scroll down the list.


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