Chinese cultural influences in Thailand are strong, and that extends to the food. Can the dim sum served at a Bangkok tea house impress a diner from Hong Kong?
Sui Sian is a Chinese restaurant serving Cantonese cuisine at The Landmark Bangkok, one of the hotel’s 9 food and beverage outlets.
I live in Hong Kong, where Cantonese dim sum is almost as popular as McDonald’s hamburgers. So for me, having Cantonese dim sum at a tea house in Bangkok was the culinary equivalent of taking coals to New Castle – in reverse.
I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when I had lunch with one of my oldest friends (who lives in Bangkok) at Sui Sian, one 9 food and beverages outlets at The Landmark Bangkok, one of the most highly regarded Chinese restaurants in the Big Mango.
My friend grew up in Taiwan, and we met in Hong Kong, where we studied Mandarin at the same language school for one year.
By some bizarre coincidence, we ended up at the same graduate school – San Francisco State University, where she majored in Chinese and I majored in English, while taking a several classes in Chinese literature.
Neither one of us is a newcomer to Chinese food. We know what we like.
Having enjoyed dim sum together countless times in both Hong Kong and San Francisco, the 2 of us were highly impressed with the fare at Sui Sian.
We lunched in one of the eatery’s 8 private dining rooms as guests of The Langham Bangkok, which hosted me for 2 nights.
The ingredients were fresh, and – in keeping with the Cantonese culinary tradition – the natural flavours were enhanced rather than masked.
Yim Man Wai, Executive Chef at the eatery, has had more than 30 years’ culinary experience at kitchens in both Hong Kong and Thailand.
When I mentioned to him that I thought the dim sum served at Sui Sian compared favourably with the best I had had in Hong Kong, he was not surprised.
Almost everything in Hong Kong needed to be imported – even if that just meant from Guangdong Province, which in North of Hong Kong, he said.
“In Thailand there are Chinese farms not far from Bangkok,” he continued.
“So the produce is fresher. It is also of a higher quality. If you use better quality produce and you follow the same recipes, the food will naturally taste better.”
Ala Carte Menu
The restaurant serves more than 40 varieties of dim sum, which can be ordered ala carte or as set menus. There is also a dim sum buffet, which includes all you can eat Peking duck on Sundays. It can be ordered ala carte on the other days of the week.
The ala carte menu includes 12 kinds of mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres, 7 kinds of politically incorrect shark’s fin soup, 3 kinds of bird’s nest soup (tastes better than it sounds), and abalone prepared 7 different ways.
The sliced abalone spicy salad is especially popular with Thai diners, who tend to have a preference for fiery flavours.
Live seafood can be ordered at market prices and prepared in various ways: steamed, braised, fried, or pan-fried with a choice sauces and ingredients.
I particularly liked the baked chicken with soy sauce in casserole, the sautéed beef with leeks in chili sauce, the braised pork spare ribs in brown sauce, the fried fresh prawns with mayonnaise sauce, the steamed bean curd stuffed with minced shrimps, and the fried rice with abalone in casserole.
There were 12 desserts to choose from. We were so stuffed that we settled for a seasonable fruit platter.
Sui Sian Chinese Restaurant, The Landmark Bangkok, 10th Floor, 138 Sukhimvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand. Telephone: +66 (0) 2254-0404. For More: The Landmark Bangkok The hotel is within a short walk of the Nana BTS or Skytrain station.