Third dim sum meal in three weeks! People say, good things come in threes and I'm glad dim sum is not an exception to this rule.
Wan Hao is one of those Chinese restaurants that has been around for god-knows-how-long. Despite its central location, there has never been an impetus to visit the old-timer restaurant till we had some Marriott Hotel vouchers to redeem.
Though we had every intention of going ala carte, the $33++ Weekend Premium Dim Sum Buffet seemed like a great deal against the backdrop of lofty champagne and caviar brunches.
But as the Chinese say, 一分钱一分货, you could take that money and walk 300 meters south for a more satisfying meal at Imperial Treasure.
There is a decent selection of dim sum, led by its Eight Treasure Specialities. Quite sadly, their definition of "premium" stems from adding a cookie-cutter crabmeat-and-either-chicken-or-pork filling to every single
damn item, which means every morsel tastes more or less like its predecessor.
Of course, I might sound a little harsh but in this day and age, when you don't have to travel very far or pay through your nose for really good dim sum, so one has to really step up to stay in the game.
That's not to say the food was horrible. Nah, far from it but choose discernibly unless you prefer quantity over quality.
Waiting on the table were some tau kwa and long beans, stir-fried in XO sauce, instead of your average peanuts.
From the Appetizer section, we only ordered the roasted pork belly that lived up to expectations - cracking skin, tender flesh with a goodwill layer of fat.
Only the thought of our 18-week old and his chubby-chubb cheeks stopped me from ordering more.
Among the deep-fried items of the Eight Treasure Specialities, I preferred the crab claw over the dense starchy dumpling.
I also liked the vermicelli roll over the beancurd roll, which had sameish fillings but a crisper, lighter batter.
As for the steamed items within the Eight Treasure Specialities, the fen duo above and dumplings below were fraternal twins in the taste department but I would hold out for the fen duo as it had a crunchier, cleaner aftertaste.
Oddly (and I say oddly because I'm not even a fan of this much-loved soup dumpling) enough, the unpictured xiao long bao was pretty good.
The premium version of the steamed siew mai was hmm-ok.
We didn't order as many items from the normal aka non-premium dim sum menu, but whatever we ordered fared better than than their premium cousins.
Fresh and bouncy, the har gow and siew mai were the good ol' favorites that we remember them to be.
Though I'm biased towards triangular-shaped char siew soh, I've to admit Wan Hao's oblong offering was pretty good. However, it was served lukewarm which only made me pine for Imperial Treasure's shield of glory.
I'll admit the Sichuan peppercorn crusted foie gras played a major role in our decision to go with the buffet. Though I didn't taste much of the Sichuan peppercorn, the foie gras itself was pretty decent.
The deep-fried spare ribs, with a whiff of champagne, was delectable.
Unfortunately, the muddy-tasting steamed sea bass was disappointing.
The deep-fried prawn with butter and black peppercorn was not bad but moving on...
The only dessert available was the chilled pumpkin and sago soup, which would do one in with its assertive orange flavor.
Of course you could also tuck into the salted egg yolk custard bun - the Asian equivalent of a molten chocolate cake. Expect a spontaneous whoop of delight as you gently break open the soft bundle and lap up its gratifying molten innards. Yes, it will get graphic - you have been warned.
Overall, Wan Hao is decent but let's just say you won't find me jostling for a table in the near future.