Penang Food – Dim Sum @Aik Hoe Dim Sum Restaurant
The day started with a “yum cha” session at Aik Hoe Dim Sum Restaurant, located on Carnavon Street Penang. Specialising in dim sum, the restaurant which occupied two shop houses still retained its old nostalgic charm after several decades (opened in 1952).
The fixtures of old ceiling fans with flooring of small squares of blue and white tiles still remained there after all these years, making this place a real heritage in its own way.
Nothing much has changed and the restaurant still has the very ‘Chinese old school look’, even still with its signature metal chairs. The shop’s name has been embedded into the metal chair itself; a real rare find nowadays.
Teapots waiting in a row to be filled with hot Chinese tea which is a must have to go with the dim sum as it helps in lightening the richness of the food. There are varieties of tea leaves, from the more common tai yip to the fragrant ti kuan yin.
No push carts are seen here but instead, you will be served by waiters walking around carrying bamboo baskets filled with a wonderful choice of steamed, baked and fried dim sum.
We selected a few items, with the Lor Mai Gai ( glutinous rice) steamed with pieces of chicken, Chinese sausage, and mushroom. The texture of the rice is well done; the grain is QQ enough and not mushy soft.
The roll of Fun Cheong Kuen has a very translucent layer of skin. Inside revealed luscious filling of minced pork, shrimp, black fungus and Chinese water chestnut. The roll is subtly flavored with additional grounded ginger.
One of the must-have is the prawn dumpling, more commonly known as Har Kow. This steamed dumpling has the succulent taste of prawns.
The next item is the old-time favorite, Bau! From the steaming basket, we picked the Char Siew Bau and Pork Bau. The texture of the Bau itself is firmer as compare to the HK version which tends to be lumpy when you bite it. The Char Siew filling is also well marinated.
The sweet juicy filling of barbeque Char Siew
Pork bau with robust taste
It is a delight to discover items that are rarely seen in dim sum shops around Malaysia. The first one is Gai Chat, a dish in which chicken wing is steamed on Chinese cabbage with a dash of Chinese rice wine. It is described as a food item that can induce the old nostalgic feeling that is derived from the good old times.
The second item is the steamed Yoke Aun Kuen, a roll with a slice of lean meat wrapping up a piece of fat, liver and Chinese water chestnut. The taste is lovely with the combination of texture and freshness of ingredients and Chinese rice wine.
Having been on the menu since its opening, these two items are good sampling of what’s available in Aik Hoe.
Yoke Aun Kuen
There will always be times that you may be craving for some specific dim sums that are already sold out. In the case, customers can request for it and if ingredients are available the owner will prepare it fresh on the spot for you.
Requested items prepared on the spot
Our choice of fried items had us savoring turnip squares (lor bak ko) and wu gok (taro dumpling). There are also flaky pastry items such as char siew sou, lin yung sou and tan tart (egg tart).
This dessert with a filling of corn puree is too sweet for me
Thanks to Lee Choo, the feature writer from Guang Ming for introducing me to this restaurant and also organizing this yum cha session. Her write up article of me visiting Aik Hoe was published in Guang Ming Daily on 29th March 2009.
Lee Choo & myself
I would recommend you to try out the dim sum at Aik Hoe, especially its ‘specialty’ items. Parking can be a bit difficult as the restaurant is located right in Lebuh Carnavon (place for the morning market). Click here for the Map Location. It is a few houses away from the busy Chulia Street.
These specialty dim sums are getting rarer nowadays, with many outlets preferring more commercial and basic ingredients, instead of those that need extra long preparation time. If you do come across “old school” eating outlets and anything along those lines, kindly drop me a line.
Aik Hoe Dim Sum Restaurant
6 & 8 Lebuh Carnavon
Tel: 016 472 0971
Business Hours : 5am – 2pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
GPS Coordinates : N05 2502.8 E100 2009.8