The beauty about having a two-hour lunch on Fridays is that one can have an enjoyable lunch at nicer establishments without having to worry about being caught coming back to office late again. Yesterday afternoon, I was craving for dim sum at the Ritz Carlton and managed to convince Bouncing Barbie to join me. Unfortunately, my powers of persuasion didn't extend to the two guys, Smokin' SOB and Ecstatic Eeyore, who had just entered into some major financial commitments which collectively included some investments in the currently booming stock market, purchase of a new car (already modified to become a babe magnet), purchase of a new mobilephone to match the new car, and an impending purchase of a new digital SLR, a Canon EOS-1D Mark III, no less. With such financial constraints, we had to forego Li Yen at the Ritz Carlton.
In addition to dim sum, I had another specific craving; I wanted to eat lap mei fan (waxed meat rice). Thankfully, my darling indulgent friends conceded to my request and that is how we ended up at Imbi Palace Restaurant at the busy Jalan Imbi, KL.
We hadn't made any reservations, so we were lucky to get a table in the extremely crowded restaurant. We weren't so lucky, though, with the lap mei fan, as we were informed that it would take one hour to prepare this dish. We had the luxury of time, but not that much time (!) to wait for one dish. The waitress suggested another dish, fried glutinous rice, as a substitute for lap mei fan. I decided to be a good sport and agree to the substitute, which means that I still have cravings, even as I write this, for....sigh...lap mei fan.
The salmon yue sang at Imbi Palace was very fresh. No, I can't get enough of this crunchy, tangy salad that is only available during the Chinese New Year period.
Dim sum consisted of char siu pau (steamed barbequed pork bun).....
.....har gau (steamed prawn dumpling in a transluscent skin).....
.....siew mai (steamed pork dumpling).....
.....fried prawn fritters in beancurd skin.....
.....and stir fried lo bak kor (carrot cake).
I particularly enjoyed the fried prawn fritters which had a crunchy prawn and seaweed filling and a nice, crispy outer layer. The lo bak kor was also very good although the cubed carrot cake was not bitesize. I always prefer them cubed smaller so that they better absorb the flavours of the seasonings.
The fried glutinous rice was beyond expectation. Each grain was separated and can be described as more fluffy than sticky, and there was a substantial amount of waxed meat that blended well with the glutinous rice. The shredded egg and parsley that were thrown on top are more decorative than flavour-enhancing, but the taste of the rice was just extraordinary. Needless to say, I ate quite a lot of it (not reluctantly), with thoughtful friends generously topping up my bottomless bowl of fried rice.
There were two choices of dessert - tau foo fah (soya bean curd) and mango sago, but they had run out of tau foo fah which was our first choice, so we had to settle for mango sago. I'm glad that happened, because we move from what we're comfortable with and are forced to try something new, and sometimes we discover new things that make us wonder why we are not more adventurous. The mango sago, made of mango paste with bits of mango, strawberry and pomelo, was very refreshing. We couldn't quite agree what the floating black seeds were. They looked like poppy seeds to me, while Barbie felt they were dragonfruit seeds. Judging from the fact that no one felt high after the meal, Barbie was probably right!
Lunch was very good, but I regretted pigging out knowing that I would be meeting some food bloggers later that evening for another round of indulgence!
P.S. I forgot to say a big mmmuahhh to Ecstatic Eeyore for generously footing the bill!!!
Imbi Palace Restaurant
No. 8, Jalan Barat
Off Jalan Imbi
Tel: 03-2145 4822