For fine dim sum in Penang, we tend to stick close to the tried-and-tested Forum at Island Plaza. And on occasions where we dare venture to new places, we pay dearly, often finding that when it comes to the ultimate har gao, Forum, nothing compares 2U! This outing to Zhong Hua, the Chinese restaurant at Cititel Penang reinforces exactly that.
Cititel Penang also houses the legendary Kirishima, so we were expecting similar standards at its Chinese counterpart. Sadly, as they say, expectations beget disappointment. Now, it wasn't AWFUL but it just wasn't good either.
Century egg & pork porridge (pei tan chuk) - my dim sum litmus test. This came lukewarm, and half- hearted. It appeared as if the chef started out with the best of intentions, to turn this into a silky smooth concoction but gave up halfway and decided, "screw it, let them eat my half-congee, and to prove that I really don't care, I'll serve it cold!!"
Fried radish cake - this was presentable, but entirely due to the amount of oil that overwhelmed the yawn-inducing radish cake. Grease, like greed, is good.
Teowchew dumpling (chiu chao fan gor) - no effort here whatsoever to emulate the traditional recipe of its namesake. The filling was essentially a doughy pork meatball with some token greens, not the loose mixture of peanuts, minced meat and chives that it's supposed to be. Fail!
Prawn dumpling (har gao). All skin, shrimpy and skint filling.
Pork dumpling (Siu Mai). This picture says it all, don't you think?
Fried prawn dumpling. Again, skin as thick as my sole. All the pretty paper doiles and framed photographs of MCA eminence dining here in a thousand shades of batik can't conceal the fact that this is only as good as the next economy kopitiam dim sum's.
Chee Cheong Fun (steamed rice rolls with prawns). Probably the worst of the lot. It was over-steamed to the point that the rice roll disintegrated as soon as it made contact with chopsticks. Ideal for the tooth-deprived, or those recovering from a nasty dental surgery.
In case this post has somehow tempted you to pay a visit... maybe the chef just had a bad day.