It’s the First Day of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit!
Usually, this will be a public holiday and my siblings and I will wake up, don our new clothes that are usually a festive red and off we trot to our grandmother’s house.
That was when I was still a kid, zoom to years later and I find myself waking up on this day to go to work. Still, I decided not to wear my usual safety attire of predominantly black and opted for a bright daffodil yellow dress to work instead. Something bright and festive I thought.
I thought that it was going to be the usual ‘having lunch at your desk’ day for me when half an hour before lunchtime, my colleague asked me what my plans are for lunch. The next thing I know, we were walking towards Chinatown. And the next thing after was we found ourselves entering Dumplings Legend.
With music blasting in the background singing ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ and numerous diners on their mobiles calling people and wishing them ‘Xing Nian Kuai Le’, ‘Sun Tai Gin Hong’ (wishing you good health). It’s hard not to get swept up in the mood.
What do you have on Chinese New Year Day for lunch? Why, dim sum of course!
There was a card which says New Year Exclusive on each table. Ever so curious, I picked it up to read and they have 2 new exclusive Siu Long Bao on offer. A truffle version and a Black Moss & Pork version. Black Moss in Cantonese is pronounced as ‘Fatt Choi’ which is also the pronunciation for ‘getting money’. The Chinese like to use festive words like this and black moss is used quite a bit during this period.
How could I say no to ordering one of these? I decided to choose the safer option of the truffles as black moss might be too weird for my non-Chinese colleague. But I have to say that I love black moss!
After putting in our order, we definitely could not wait to stuff our hungry tummies!
Scallop with cheese and mashed taro croquette £2.50
First to arrive was the croquette. This was deep fried with the batter being airily light, non-oily with an almost melt in your mouth batter. Couldn’t quite taste the scallop between all that cheese and mashed taro but still decent.
Truffle Siu Long Bao £8.80
Next came the awaited Siu Long Bao. How can this not be festive? Even the price is double 8 digits which mean fortune multiplied by two! I couldn’t wait, you can see a bit of the truffle poking out at the top in the middle one. It has my name written all over it but I graciously left that for my colleague as I had to show her how to eat a Siu Long Bao. The truffle gives these tiny meat parcels a rounded balance.
I cut one in half to see how much truffles were included and you get a whole shave of truffle! This picture doesn't quite show it but it is a whole shave!
Cheung Fun with sliced sea bass and preserved vegetables £3.50
I have not seen this anywhere else and was told about it by the lovely Su-yin. Of course I had to try it. My colleague really likes this one and I definitely enjoyed it too. The preserved vegetables take centre stage here, so if you want more of the fish, go to Leongs Legend instead.
It is such a custom to always order the Shu Mai and the Prawn Dumplings. These are not the best but not the worst out there. Actually, Shu Mai was quite nice.
Egg Yolk Custard Buns @ Liu Sha Bao £2.40
My eyes widened when I saw Egg Yolk Custard Buns on the menu. These are not the chrysanthemum custard buns that you get at Pearl Liang. Noooo….this has a grainier texture with savoury liquid egg yolk ready to ooze out the moment you bite into this. I was introduced to this when I had dim sum in Shanghai and was the only time that I had it. It instantly went into my ‘always have to order at dim sum’ list.
Look at all that yummy goodness. Had to sacrifice some of it for this picture.
The bun was too thick but the liquid egg yolk custard filling was just as good as I remembered. I am a happy happy bunny!
The bill came up to £13.50 per person, quite reasonable.
I left with a full tummy and joyous smile now that I got my fix of festive music, festive vibe & festive 'fortune' food! Do go and have your Truffle or Black moss & Pork Siu Long Bao during the next 14 days CNY celebration. Have some ‘fatt fatt’ smiling down on you!
Dumplings' Legend, 15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London W1D 6JEhttp://www.dumplingslegend.com/