Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dim Sum and the Hatyai Folks

Pick your Own
It was on one of my work stints that I discovered the habits of local Hatyai folks down south. They love to eat Dim Sum in the morning for breakfast. Traditionally, Dim Sums are of only bite size proportions, meant to be gulped down in one mouth. The breakfast eateries there kept the practice well, aka, most if the portions are very very small. We selected what we wanted from a cold line of displayed dumplings, braised meats, noodles and all other Cantonese yum-cha stuffs. They were then heated up in steamers and served on our table. We picked them with chopsticks, ate from metal plates, doused them in a variety of sauces and had hot tea to accompany.

Cold Pickings
Since our group was made up of four famished men who just woken up, we easily filled the entire table with a mountain of metal bowls and bamboo containers. Table too small, food too many and we still hungry. So we ordered the infamous Bak-Kut-Teh, which was herbal pork ribs soup, Northern Malaysia style. It was too herby for me, I prefer the southern version that's peppery and the tastes of sweet pork essences more permeating.

The quality? I can only say, I ate because I was hungry, not I ate so much because it was good. Those dishes going for less than 20 Baht each tasted like it was made out from a low quality production line, something like a siew-mai is made of 85% flour, 10% spices and 5% of meat. The ironic thing is, those Dim Sum places, so many dotted all over Hatyai, are almost always filled to the brim in the mornings and remains very popular especially with the Malaysian travelers that overrun Hatyai on the weekends. In my opinion, in Thailand, best places for a good Dim Sum prepared by skilled chiefs are still to be found in Chinese restaurants within up-market hotels. But nevertheless, if in Hatyai, I will still eat because I hungry in morning and its cheap.

So Small.... so very Small Portion
Bak Kut Teh

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