the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.


Little Touches to the Heart

IN THE MOOD for a small snack or a feast of 'small eats'? An authentic dim-sum brunch, artfully prepared, is one of life's great pleasures. The variety is numerous, the style novel.

Every other Sunday, my family and I troop down to a dim-sum palace to indulge in this grand Chinese smorgasboard of appetiser-like dishes served amid much clatter and chatter. Breakfast, lunch, brunch or tea, we go there for the ambience as much as for the food.

Inside, Chinese waitresses push steaming carts loaded with a variety of delicacies. The room bustles with the activity of roving carts wending their way among tables, calls for attention and clattering of plates.

Tiny trios of little delights cradled in small bamboo baskets arrive on these trundling pushcarts。

little bites, tiny delights
Posted by Hello

A spectacular assortment of delightful little 'touches to the heart’. You'll be spoilt for choice:

... Divinely delectable dumplings, succulent roast meats, soft buns hiding tasty fillings, petite savoury pastries, clams and stuffed shitakes bathed in lovely sauces...
and other scrumptious little bites ranging from springy meatballs to desserts of sweet and savoury puddings.

I always start with something traditionally Chinese – segments of yu-tiao or sesame cakes dunked in a bowl of sweet soya bean milk. The yu-tiao if not done well can be sad and soggy. Luckily, this joint rises above mediocrity. Its yu-tiao are long crunchy lengths of airy perfection and the sesame cakes, multi-layered and pillow-soft.

The classic har-gou is a must have. Its delicately thin translucent skin contrasts subtly with the sea-saltiness of the shrimp. An artistic variation comes wrapped in seaweed and topped with a dollop of salmon caviar. Oh, you simply must try the deep-fried seafood roll wrapped in seaweed as well. They look like cigars coated in flakes of batter. They burst with the light aromatics of coriander.

Their petite cha-sao-baos pits tender chunks of roast pork against white doughy covers for a touch of sweetness. For a bigger bite, try the da-bao. Another solid filler is the traditional Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf, a squat bundle of meaty flavoured sticky rice. It’s definitely the thing to go for if you haven't eaten for a week.

Oh, and do be sure to leave some room for the sou-bings (deep fried puffs). And wu-gok wears a crispy flaky shell hiding a moist filling of yam, pork and dried shrimp. Its radish cousin has a skin done to delicate perfection, each layer almost transparently thin and fragile to the touch.

My favourites are the Fried Buns with Leeks and Scallion Pancakes. The buns are finger-sandwich-size crimped pockets filled with leeks, chives, eggs, dried shrimp and dainty rice noodles. The pancakes arrive in two neat little triangular stacks. Each piece is so thin it’s hard to count exactly how many there are, but I savour the chewy pancakes accented by burst of scallion flavour, I just wish the stack never run out. These are really the scallion pancakes to compare others by.

Dan-tats are also a must. For dessert, I find the mango and melon soup - a cold dessert with a cloudlike sponge cake – a heavenly delight. Divinely delicious!

Remember though, good things come in tiny packages. A little touch-to-the-heart is an indulgence to savour every other week. A daily affair would simply be heart-stopping.

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