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Friday, March 15, 2013

Hara Tim Sum Kitchen

So it's another walk down memory lane in this post...

When we were kids, my Dad used to buy these paus from Haig Road.
It used to come from this one stall at a coffeeshop where the current Banquet now stands and it was just this one guy selling Halal tim sum and nothing else.

It was always the same thing for us - BBQ Chicken Paus and Siew Mai.
And it was so delicious to use that we could finish up like a dozen of each with no problems.
Dad would buy a lot especially during Ramadhan where we'd eat some for buka and the rest for sahur.

But sadly, that stall closed and we couldn't seem to find it anywhere.
The only way we could find the paus were at some coffeeshops or petrol kiosks which carried the Hara Hong Kong Tim Sum product in the steamers. And there were not many around.

More common names were Nury Pau or KG Foods but... Hara Hong Kong was still top of the list for us.

Lo and behold, one day I happened to spot a sign from afar which bore the Hara name.
Could it really be the return of our favourite tim sum???

So my brother and I make our way one afternoon to check it out.

We spoke to a lady there who seemed to run the show and explained that Hara had been bought over and was now a major manufaturer of tim sum products. However, most of it was for export and for distribution which meant that Hara seldom sold its products for immediate makan on their own.

In fact, their current outlet was their one and only and they had only been there for about 2 years.

She was also quick to point out that Hara had adopted a 'Healthir Choice' attitude and incorporated a special wheat flour into their paus which gave them the appearance as above while giving you a healthier option when it comes to tim sum.

So on with the food!

Big Chicken Pau ($2.00)
Dad's favourite was always the Big Chicken Pau.
I think it was the egg that he liked.

Well it's definitely got more vegetables in it than I remember but it is a generous mouthful nonetheless.
Undoubtedly, the price has gone up as well but it's a pretty decent chicken pau.

BBQ Chicken Pau ($2.50 for 3)
Aha our favourite of all time.
In fact I still order a BBQ Chicken Pau at any place that sells Halal tim sum nowdays.

Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem the same as before.
It used to be a lot more tasty to be honest and the filling now is pretty dry.
I mean, it's still tasty but I guess times have changed...

Siew Mai ($3.00 for 4)

My brother is the supreme eater of Siew Mai.
If there is Siew Mai, he will eat it and it started because of Hara's siew mai.

And yes, it tastes as good as it looks in the picture.
Juicy and meaty and just simply delicious.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that these were from the traditional bamboo steamers they had there.
The paus on the other hand were from the modern electric steamer you'll find at the petrol stations.
I mean, when you think of tim sum, the traditional way is the bamboo steamers am I right??

Chicken Feet ($3.00)

Here's something I picked up from my Dad and my brother only recently caught on.
There's just something so comforting about a chicken's foot that has been seasoned, spiced and cooked till it's going to slide off the bones when you put it in your mouth. Sluurrrppppp.

But here's a fair warning - that's one spicy serving of chicken's feet.
It's probably the spiciest version I've ever tried anywhere. But still delicious.

Bamboo Steamers 2-1 Modern Steamers

And this next part coming up actually needs some explanation.
But I MUST point out from the start that this was probably a one-off incident. I mean, this could have happened to anyone at any makan place. So I'm just going to let you know what happened but it is not, in any way, intended to reflect a bad light on this fine eating establishment.

My brother and I enjoy the rice dishes when it comes to tim sum.
I'm talking about the all-time classics - Fan Choy & Lor Mai Kai.

Fan Choy ($2.20)

Lo Mai Kai ($2.20)

So it's basically rice (glutinous or otherwise) with some chicken or char siew chicken.
And we love it.

But this time, we had an unfortunate incident....

My brother started whacking the Fan Choy before my Lo Mai Kai had even arrived so it was half gone by the time I was ready to have mine. But something wasn't right... At first I was so insistent that it was just the glutinous rice and that maybe theirs was a special type which made it extra sticky. I even ate a mouthful to make sure.

But then my brother had a very strong case and was very confident that his Fan Choy and my Lo Mai Kai had gone bad. Bad meaning spoilt aka basi.

"No way lah!" I said. I mean, we're at the manufacturer's stall! This is like as close to the source as you can get! There's no way that this food has gone bad right?


That is not glutinous rice sticky...
That is unfortunately glutinous rice SLIMY...

A quick check with the server confirmed our suspicions.
In fact, a faulty steamer was to blame and all the Fan Choy and Lo Mai Kai from the steamer had gone south for the winter and had to be thrown out.

This was the modern steamer. The same modern steamer where our paus had come from.

Well they didn't charge us for the spoilt food (rightfully) and it's obviously impossible for me to give a rating for those 2 items.

And to be honest, the food wasn't all bad. Some of it was pretty delicious.
I guess it was just bad luck that 2 items had spoiled I guess. And I know it does not reflect on the taste of their food or quality of their ingredients but I'm afraid it does reflect on their quality control and management of their food products.

Maybe that's why it was empty during lunch time.

Adam's Verdict:
Big Chicken Pau 2.5/5 -- BBQ Chicken Pau 2.5/5 -- Chicken Feet 4/5 -- Siew Mai 5/5

Azlan's Verdict:
Big Chicken Pau 2/5 -- BBQ Chicken Pau 3/5 -- Chicken Feet 4/5 -- Siew Mai 5/5

Oh and one more thing.
The chilli sauce used to be the bomb but the new version is slightly on the sour side.
Which is actually really disappointing.

Hopefully next time we have better luck with the Fan Choy and Lo Mai Kai.
Or maybe we'll just stick with the Siew Mai.

Hara Kitchen

742 North Bridge Road (Opposite Nasi Pariaman)
Tel: 9068 0258

Operating Hours:10am til 10pm Daily

Update! (1st September 2013)

One of our readers, Sri Yusnita, informed us that it looked like Hara Dim Sum had packed it up.

Well, Hara Kitchen has down-scaled their operations but is still operating out of the same place.
Most of the shop is now operated by Nasi Pariaman who operates mainly just across the street but you can still get your dim sum fix at North Bridge Road!

Thanks to our anonymous reader for the tip-off! Keep them coming in! :)

PS you will see mainly the Nasi Pariaman sign when you go but if you look closely on the left, you will still see the Hara sign too...

See it there? :)

1 comment:

  1. wa lan eh the fan choy and lo mai kai.... under the bo pian act lor...