Saturday, 15 January 2011

Dim Sum Delights - Imperial China (Watford)

I luuuuurve Dim Sum!  Yum Yum Yum in my Tum!  It was one of those treats I remember as a kid that we had every now and again in Chinatown.  I think I've probably been FOUR times in the past month as my Dad is over from Hong Kong for a while.  I'm not complaining though!  :0D  I often drool at blogs where people review their dim sum treats and the restaurant they visited.  Well, I'm not a dim sum connoisseur by any means but I thought I'd engage in some photo posting to make you all droooooool over your keyboards! Heh Heh Heh!  Mean aren't I?

Baked Shredded Turnip Pastry '千絲蘿蔔酥'
 Here's what we ate at Imperial China (Watford) 15 December 2010.

Cuttlefish Cakes with Coriander '香莤墨魚餅'

This was the first dim sum outing I took Dad to.  I was excited to hear of a new Chinese Restaurant opening in Watford, Hertfordshire.  Even more so when it was a restaurant with dishes aimed at Chinese people, not western palates!  It does dim sum too!?!?!  RESULT!  It has a sister restaurant in London's Chinatown and I've yet to sample the fare there but I've read that it's good. 

Imagine my horror when I discover the Watford site has a two-tier pricing policy!?!?  Monday to Friday is the first price banding and not cheap either for that matter!  Weekends you will be expected to pay around 40p-80p more on your dim sum dishes!  Making a list of items we would normally order if having dim sum (just myself and Mr Leaf), it worked out we would spend £10 more if we ate there at weekends! 

Crispy Dough Cheung Fun '蔥花炸兩腸'
 Luckily, Mr Leaf gets a 20% reduction on his bill by working in an office near the new restaurant.  It brings the bill in line with what we pay at our regular dim sum venue.  On our visit there, Mr Leaf was particularly pleased as after I submitted the dim sum tick sheet, I gave him a call and he took that as his cue to leave the office.  He took his lunch break and joined my dad, (Mr Plum) and myself for dim sum lunch.  This means less of his lunchtime is taken up by waiting for food to arrive.  Cunning.

Steamed Pork Buns '蜜汁叉燒飽'
 There is a good selection of dim sum delicacies on the menu (a laminated picture sheet with letters by each dish as well as Chinese and English names).  The tick sheet is two-sided.  English on one side, Chinese on the other.  All items correspond with the lettering on the photo menu too.  Here's a link to their menu so you can have a good drool there too! :0p

Steamed Pork Dumplings '上海小籠飽'
 Food wasn't too slow to arrive and was tasty enough.  The skill in making the Baked Shredded Turnip Pastry '千絲蘿蔔酥' was good and the filling was nice but perhaps lacked a certain oomph.  It was served lukewarm and was a bit oil-laden.  It should be described as Deep-Fried, it was no way oven baked. The Crispy Dough Cheung Fun '蔥花炸兩腸' was served with soy sauce separately - a nice touch I thought.  The dough stick was crispy but did taste of old oil. 

Prawn Dumpling with Chives '鮮蝦韭菜餃'

Pork Dumplings with Vegetables '菜甫鮮肉菜餃'
 My absolutely favourite dish was Pork Dumplings with Vegetables '菜甫鮮肉菜餃'.  One bite into these cute dumplings (I think they were supposed to look like Green Pak Choi!) revealed a juicy filling.  I tasted dried shrimp, Chinese mushroom and some preserved radish.  So flavoursome and memorable!

Steamed Rice with Spare Ribs and Chicken Claws '鳳爪排骨飯'
I would visit again but only on a weekday and with Mr Leaf so we could get the discount too.

*** NOTE:
...and I won't blog about such tasty delicious dim sum delights at silly o'hour as it's made me hungry and I REALLY crave dim sum right now!


  1. OMG! You're really mean.... I'm DROOLING all over looking at these pictures. I adore dim sum! YUM YUM!
    BTW, have you tried making steamed buns ("bapao")? I'm looking for an easy recipe to start with. I have the "bapao" wheat flour, but am not sure if I need to add yeast to it? Some recipes say yes, and some no. Any idea?

  2. had be drooling and salivating...wicked of you :p looks great and what did Mr.Plum say to it since he is from Hongkong, a food paradise where dim sum is famous :) Kiss Minh for me

  3. Oh dear..I am drooling over every dish. Wish I can have some for breakfast now. It's very expensive to eat dim sum here at restaurants.

  4. Hi Nasifriet! I have made steamed before in the past - not since starting this blog though. Yes, some recipes include yeast. These I have tried and my older brother complains it tastes to fermenty. I have used a recipe that uses baking powder and this does not have that yeasty flavour after baking. I'll make it soon and blog it ok?

    Elin, posting that entry made me hungry and craving for dim sum at 1am! Not clever! I have some more dim sum pics from other places that I haven't posted yet too - maybe I will do this AFTER I've eaten! Mr Plum says some of the dim sum here in UK is BETTER than in HK!?!

    Marymoh, I love dim sum as a treat but as Mr Plum is in UK for a little while I have been indulging in this rather often! Had some yesterday too!

  5. The dim sum all looks regulation and I guess if you're local to Watford, then its very handy. But living as I do in SW London, I doubt I'll make it to the wilds of Watford.

    I have to say the owners must rate as the worst Chinese businessmen ever! To have two different prices on the tick-sheet is shocking (extra printing costs for starters).

    The correct tactic for two-tier pricing is to have the higher weekend price as the 'norm' on the tick sheet and then to offer discounts during the week. This has a huge psychological effect, in that you're highlighting that it's cheaper during the week rather than it being more expensive at the weekend.

    That said the local office discount thing is a good move so they might not the absolute worse Chinese businessmen going!

  6. Hi Mr Noodles, thanks for dropping by! I can understand not travelling that far out of your stomping ground - likewise I'd struggle to find excuse to try Imperial China in Teddington!

    Agreed with pricing policy although the weekday prices seem steep enough already! I like what Chinatown Dim Sum houses do and offer discounts as you say on weekdays.

    Have had a few more Dim Sum outings since this, but only took pics at Royal China (Harrow) and Alisan (Wembley). Incidentally, the latter being ok, service great but dim sum on the small side. They have a great range in tea though - Mr Plum was impressed as it's the only place to offer 'Dragon Well' although I think he needn't have bothered as it turned out like a 'red tea'. Old tea leaves do that apparently. I'll try blog those soon.