Yum Cha at Tasixi in JB

My brother and his family wants dim sum for breakfast and he told me last night so we arranged to meet bright and early at Tasixi Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant in Taman Perling.

Steamed siew mai is a must when we yum cha at Tasixi
A dim sum meal or to yum cha, is best enjoyed at leisure.  And to have the pleasure of a fuss-free meal, we try to get there early or must join a queue to wait for a table.

Tasixi is our regular restaurant for old-school Hong Kong dim sum where traditional dim sum is served in a boisterous and bustling ambience, typical of all good dim sum places.

Opened in 1994, Tasixi is one of the oldest modern dim sum restaurants in Johor Baru that continues to serve a wide range of Cantonese dim sum reminiscent of Hong Kong yum cha restaurants but without the pushcarts.

Facade of the restaurant, Tasixi Hong Hong Dim Sum
Here, a variety of sweet and savoury dim sum are served on big trays by staff who walk around to let diners pick their preferred portions.

With an experienced team skilled in creating a wide range of handmade dim sum, customers are kept satisfied with the taste, quality and portions of freshly-made and efficiently served dim sum.

As I approach the restaurant, I spot a queue but breathe a sigh of relieve when I see my brother and his wife standing at the front of the queue.  This means our group is next in line for a table.

Chong Chee Peng [Standing] with our family at Tasixi
When Tasixi moved to its present premises, regulars like us, followed them to the new shop which has dining spaces both indoors and outdoors with an upstairs banquet hall for private groups.

On busy mornings, we often spot co-owner and executive chef, Chong Chee Peng, helping to seat customers or having a friendly chat with regulars.  While the business expanded with a branch at Taman Johor Jaya, Chong is mostly at this flagship outlet which is also its central kitchen.

Chong leads us to a table and makes sure there is an order list on the table for serving staff to mark order quantities so that the total may be tallied up for payment at the end of our meal.

Freshly steamed servings of Xiao Loong Pau
My brother decides on an order of Chinese tea from popular brands like Pu Erh (black tea) and Tieguanyin (amber tea) to complement our dim sum meal while we help ourselves to the sauce plates and pour out bottled garlic chillie sauce as a spicy dip to savour our dim sum.

There are really no rules to enjoying dim sum but I like to begin with choices of savoury items – steamed and deep-fried – before ending with the sweet dumplings and desserts.

The staff are walking about serving separate trays of savoury and sweet items and I wave them over to pick small plates of my favourite stuffed brinjals (RM4.40) topped with a delicious black-bean sauce and steamed siew mai garnished with ikura fish roe (RM4.90).

A serving of Yam Cake
From the tray of fried items, I select slices of yam cake (RM4.90) and a mini yam ring (RM8) with chopped sweet & sour pork stuffed into its hollow centre.

Chong suggests we try a new item on their menu, enoki mushrooms rolled in ham (RM8) which to me, at a glance looks deceptively like giant cuttlefish! 

He gets a staff to come to our table with a pair of scissors and requests him to snip the two pieces of brinjals into halves and the enoki ham rolls into bite size.

While most of the dim sum are ready-to-eat items, we have to place orders for freshly made items like bowls of congee (RM3.50), chee cheong fun or rice rolls (RM5.50) and steamed Xiao Loong Pau (RM9.50) or (Cantonese) siew loong pau.

Desserts of fruit tartlets and Gui Ling Gao
Xiao Loong Pau are delicate dumplings filled with minced meat and soup which got its name from the small bamboo steaming baskets they are steamed in.  There is not only an art to creating these dumplings but also an art to eating them without scalding your mouth!

Served with six dumplings in each steaming basket, we agree that Tasixi has got the pastry just right to keep the soup from bursting through when the plump dumpling is gently held with a pair of chopsticks.

The Cantonese way of preparing rice porridge is boiling it into a smooth congee and this favourite comfort food is served in small bowls flavoured with chopped century eggs.

Each serving of Hong Kong style chee cheong fun comes in three rolls on an oval plate with a side of spicy sambal dip.  The soft and smooth rice rolls are filled with chopped char siew, prawns or chicken.

More egg yolk than custard in the Lau Sar Pau!
While the staff keep proffering their trays to us, the best part of a leisurely dim sum meal is to eat as much or as little as you wish.

By this time, I’m ready for dessert.  I beckon a staff bearing tray of sweet items and pick Gui Ling Gao (RM4.40) for my sister-in-law while the fruit tartlets (RM8) just look irresistible.  Gui Ling Gao is an acquired taste because it’s an herb jelly with a slight bitter aftertaste. 

Steamed Lau Sar Pau (RM5.50) or salted egg yolk custard bun, is another firm favourite which are served warm in a set of three.  It’s a satisfying sweet ending to our dim sum meal and the best part of this dessert is there’s more egg yolk than custard in the filling of the Lau Sar Pau!

WHERE
Tasixi Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant (Non Halal)
11, Jalan Camar 1/3
Taman Perling
81200 Johor Baru, Johor
Tel: 6016 – 778 9933

OPENING HOURS
Daily 6.30am to 5pm

GETTING THERE
Taman Perling is highly accessible from Johor Baru city via the Skudai Highway and Iskandar Coastal Highway or from Singapore via the Second Link

WHAT’S COOKING
Authentic Hong Kong dim sum

MUST TRY
A range of steamed and fried dim sum, Xiao Loong Pau, Hong Kong style filled rice flour rolls (chee cheong fun), stir-fried radish cake, congee and desserts like Gui Ling Gao, Liu Sar Pau and fruit tartlets

YOU’LL PAY
RM3.50 to RM9.50 per portion of dim sum inclusive of GST

ATMOSPHERE
Casual Chinese restaurant

FACILITIES
Disabled-friendly
High chair
No Smoking and Smoking sections
No Pets
Credit card facilities

THE LOO
Modern shophouse toilet

SERVICE
Friendly and efficient

OVERALL VERDICT
Go give it a try

A version of this was published in The New Straits Times, Life & Times on 2 December 2016