Fook Lam Seafood Restaurant
Several weeks ago I was in Chinatown hoping to have some Taiwanese food for lunch. As luck would have it, it was a Monday, and K C Kitchen was closed. I also thought about visiting Season's Ice & Eatery, but remembered that the owners of the shop were out of town for two weeks. Since I was already in the area, my friend suggested having something to eat here. After that first visit, I decided to come back again and try a few different things.
Upon arriving at Fook Lam, I found the restaurant to be crowded. Stepping inside, I left my name at the counter and was given a little slip of paper with the number 71 on it. Below that was written the number 2 (for two guests). After waiting for about 5 minutes, I heard over the loudspeaker "chat yap sat", "qi shi yi", "number 71" -- funny! At least they gave me three chances to respond.
Once inside, we were seated at a table in the far corner of the restaurant. This is the crowd at 1:30 pm. Can you imagine how many more people are here at 11:00 am?
Once seated the carts started coming around to visit. This one was on it's way and contained mostly fried stuff in the bottom and a number of desserts up top. See the hungry look on the man in red's face? And how's the girl with her mouth open. I think she saw something she wanted.
We chose a few items off the carts and also ordered a few items that are not on the menu. Let's start with this -- #24. honey tripe (US$1.90).
Sweet and just a little spicy, the tripe retained just enough bite to make this enjoyable. One thing that I don't usually like about tripe, is that it's most often overdone -- too tender, with not enough texture. That was definitely not the case here. If you like tripe, you'll definitely like this.
#9. Chicken feet with black bean (US$1.90).
After the first bite, I couldn't really tell that the chicken feet were braised using black bean sauce. Instead, the flavorful chicken feet seemed to have been flavored more with chilli and star anise. Distinctive in flavor, I wish this would have been braised for just a little while longer so the chicken feet would have been just a bit more tender.
#21. Steamed spinach & scallop dumplings (US$1.90).
Tiny bay scallops and wilted spinach were surrounded by a thin, semi-translucent rice flour skin. Soft and tender, with just the right amount of filling, these dumplings were nearly perfect.
#33. Beef look funn roll (US$2.75).
Thick and slippery look funn noodles were wrapped around lots of flavorful minced beef before being topped with sweet soy sauce and a healthy sprinkling of chopped green onions and cilantro.
Pan fried turnip cake with XO sauce (US$4.95).
This dish is actually not on the menu, but they will make it for you if you ask. Mashed turnips were mixed with flour and dried shrimp before being pan fried until crispy with savory XO sauce. Garnished with slices of cut red chillies, chopped green onions and cilantro, this was one of my favorite dishes here. It reminded me of the chai tow kway that I had in Singapore. All this needed was some of that sweet, dark soy sauce.
Xiao long pau (US$3.80).
Ever elusive, this dish is another that is not on the menu. Xiao long pau, or pork dumplings with soup, are a rare find on dim sum menus here. If you know to ask, you'll be in for a treat. Eat them while they're hot, otherwise, the soup will be absorbed by the skins. These were nicely filled with ground pork and well flavored with lots of ginger. The skins could have been a little thinner though.
#43. Fish rice soup (US$3.95).
Rice soup, or congee, is another favorite of mine, but one that I don't indulge in too often. Normally, I will have the century egg (pei dan) with pork rice soup, but this time I decided to try something different. Large chucks of fish were swimming in the bowl of smooth textured rice soup. Add a little vinegar and a sprinkling of pepper and you're set.
After all that, I still had room for dessert. I decided to have the red bean jelly (US$1.90).
Cool, refreshing and not at all sweet, this red bean jelly hit the spot. It's not often that I indulge in dessert after having dim sum, but was so irresistable.
The dim sum here at Fook Lam is, in many ways, just as good as the dim sum at my favorite place, Panda Cuisine. The selection of items here is good and the dishes are thoughfully prepared, flavorful and well portioned. In addition, the service here is better than at most dim sum places and given the quality of the food, the prices are very reasonable.
Fook Lam Seafood Restaurant
Chinatown Cultural Plaza
100 North Beretania Street Suite 110-112