Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Kum Den

At the recommendation of a friend, we decided to head to New Kum Den for yum cha. I'd been to this Chinese restaurant before, usually for dinner with a large group of friends (and the service is nothing but friendly and efficient every time), but I had no idea that they served yum cha. To make things even better, they serve traditional style dishes, so to preserve authenticity, I'm going to the leave the names of the dishes as they appear on the menu for the captions.
For those who don't know what yum cha is, it's morning/afternoon tea which involves drinking tea, usually for the entire course of the meal, and eating a wide range of small dishes. Definitely my style of eating!

One of my friends was running slightly late, so the waiter quickly settled us at a table while we waited for her. When we arrived shortly after, the waiter warmly welcomed her - turns our she's a regular with her family. With that piece of knowledge, we quickly decided that she'd be responsible for ordering.

First up, a  Cantonese style sticky rice & chicken, prawn, sausage in lotus leaf.

Sticky Rice & Chicken Prawn Sausage in Lotus Leaf
I know these delicious sticky parcels as zong zhi and these were some of the best savoury ones that I've tasted. I haven't seen these served in many yum cha restaurants, but it certainly made a nice change from the usual fare of fried rice. Order these.

From here it was dish after dish of great food. We ended up with two baskets of steamed dumplings that tasted quite similar; chives dumplings and snow pea and seafood dumplings.

Chives Dumpling
Snow Peas Leaves Dumpling (Seafood & Snow Peas Leaves)
Thankfully, both these dishes were tasty enough that we didn't care. The skins were light and delicate and the they were fully stuffed with generous fillings. The pieces of seafood were sizeable enough to impart hits of flavour but small enough not to require incessant amounts of chewing, which no-one wants for yum cha (mind you, this only really happens when the skins are tough) . 

The steamed vegetarian dumplings that we also ordered were strangely coloured however.

Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling
See? Green! I'm guessing they used the juices squeezed from the vegetables to colour the skins (or at least I hope they did to keep it all natural). It's what inside that counts though, and the inside was good. Satisfying even though it doesn't contain the tiniest amount of meat. Definitely one of the best vegetarian dumplings I've had. 

The vegetarian spring rolls we ordered were crunchy and not too oily, but otherwise there's not much to comment on.
Vegetarian Spring Roll (Vegetable and Mushroom)
 One dish that I couldn't go past ordering were the BBQ pork buns.

BBQ Pork Bun
The combination of rich, sticky pork in a soft and fluffy sweet flour pastry never fails to make my tastebuds and my tummy happy.

BBQ Pork Bun
Look at the juicy pork. Perfect. Some traditional pork dim sum rounded out our savoury order.

Steamed Pork Dim Sum
I loved how much flavour the wrappers had  being made of egg rather than delicate rice. These reminded me of the copious serves of dim sum that I had last time in Hong Kong, and I could have easily downed a few more. 

You can see the custard tarts in the background of the picture, so you can tell we'd started on dessert by this point. Somehow I didn't end up with a picture of the custard tarts, but they were more than passable. My friend makes amazing Portuguese Tarts, so I was craving those instead, but still, these were a sufficient substitution for the time being.

To round out our trifecta of desserts, we had the much healthier fruit salad and coconut pudding. Nothing much worth commenting about either of these, but they marked the end of a delicious meal.

Fruit Salad
Coconut Pudding
I had a great time at New Kum Den and can see why my friend is such a frequent patron. The food is great quality, the service is fast and friendly and the cost was a lot less than I expected. Now that I've been introduced to their yum cha service, I'm looking forward to returning here soon.

New Kum Den
15 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne
Mon-Sun 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm
Yum Cha Sat-Sun 11am-3pm

New Kum Den on Urbanspoon


  1. Looking forward to visiting :)

  2. I had no idea that this place served yum cha! Here's another one to add to the list :)

    1. I love that it does, and isn't crazy busy. You can actually take the time to enjoy your food!

  3. Have not been to Yum Cha...

    ... in months!!!!

    It looks good, but yeah seriously didn't know they served Yum Cha at all. Thought it was the usual HK style dinners/lunches haha

  4. Could sure go for some Har Gow, Siu Mai, Shark Fin Dumplings and even Jellyfish with Chinese "Ham" right now though.

    1. I went to sleep with dreams of Siu Mai...mmm. Unfortunately, the only place that serves yum cha near my work on weekdays is Oriental Teahouse, and I'm not really a fan of them anymore :(

  5. I've always walked past this place when I'm in Chinatown. Good to know that it's decent - added to list!