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Monday, 23 November 2015

Tim Mei Dessert House @ Ampang

I was first introduced to this place by my sister-in-law (who resides in the neighbourhood) though my initial experience didn't quite leave a mark (but that was because I realised later that I didn't order the 'right' dishes). 

The place has grown on me since and I've been here numerous times for breakfast (especially so when I've grown tired of my own neighbourhood's breakfast joints).  The place I'm talking about is Tim Mei Dessert House @ Ampang with their array of Penang style food.

I'd say the d├ęcor is a notch up from your regular-styled non air-conditioned coffee shops but with a cleaner and more soothing environment.

The family-owned coffee shop is run by an elderly couple with his two sons.  That's the cute cardboard cut out life-sized picture of the elderly uncle/owner (who has a very friendly demeanour by the way).  He's a Hokkien and hails from Penang but has relocated to KL for a long while now.  He told me that they used to run a supermarket business before venturing into the food business.

I think what attracted me to this place was the fact that they offer a mini-sized version of all their noodles.  This is great for those who have small appetites or those who want variety over quantity although they do offer normal sized versions as well for those who need them.

First up, I tried the Penang Prawn Mee @ RM3.70 (for mini, RM5.80 for regular) that came with (smallish) prawns, slices of lean pork, fish cake, hard-boiled egg and bean sprouts, topped with fried shallots and sambal.  It was an acceptable bowl of prawn mee though the flavour of the prawn and pork bone stock was rather light.  Could do with more sambal for a spicier kick!

The Penang Assam Laksa @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) fared much better with minced "ikan kembong" (Indian mackerel) flesh, slivers of cucumber, pineapple and onions, finely shredded fragrant "bunga kantan" (torch ginger) and finished with some shredded red chillies, mint leaves and a drizzle of "har ko" (prawn paste).  Wouldn't have minded a bit more of the sour and spicy nuances.

Next was the Penang Curry Mee @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) which featured slices of cuttlefish, fish cake, "tau fu pok" (bean curd puffs), long beans and "see hum (blood cockles) topped with a dollop of sambal and fried shallots (minus the coagulated cubes of pig blood).  The curry broth had a fair dose of "santan" (coconut milk) flavour and a pleasantly savoury note. 

The Penang Kuey Teow Th'ng @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) was a bowl of extremely light tasting broth with fish ball, shredded chicken, fish cake slices, lettuce and seaweed and finished with a sprinkling of fried chopped garlic.  The kuey teow was nice and smooth, just not as transparent or slippery like those Ipoh hor fun types.  Great for those looking for something light (almost bland) on their palate.

Porridge @ RM2.60 (for mini, RM3.70 for regular) is also available and this version really resembles one that you'd cook at home.  It's a rustic version with the grains not fully smooth filled with lean meat, shredded chicken and ingredients that you won't normally see in restaurant-style porridge like tofu cubes and some kind of dried Chinese vegetable with a sprinkle of spring onions and fried garlic on top.  Those who like a bland and home-cooked version would enjoy this one.

Finally, the Thai Laksa @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) was yet another winner.  This basically had rather similar ingredients to assam laksa except for the addition of santan in the broth.  This still had a tinge of tangy flavours to it but not as sour as the clear assam broth.  This was my top pick of the five with assam laksa coming a close second (and the curry mee a distant third).

Both the Assam Laksa and Thai Laksa came with fresh laksa noodles...yummy, my favourite, (if you don't specify the noodles of your choice).

For even more variety, they have further breakfast options of all kinds of fried noodles, fried rice and nasi lemak (though I would stay away from the nasi lemak as the sambal was a miss) with some side dishes like fried fish cake, luncheon meat, "lor bak" (marinated meat rolls) and chicken nugget (that will please any children, I'm sure).

From the name of the establishment, it's pretty obvious that they offer desserts to satisfy one's sweet tooth.  What they offer is "tong sui" (in Cantonese) or "bubur" (in Malay) or what is generally referred to as sweet soup desserts.  Some are available daily while others on certain days of the week only.  They include barley & beancurd ("fu chuk yee mai" in Cantonese), red bean longan, snow fungus longan, ginseng hashima (snow jelly or "suet kap" in Cantonese), lotus seed, black glutinous rice (pulut hitam or "hak lor mai"), pumpkin & sweet corn, green bean, sweet wheat porridge (bubur gandum or "mak chuk" in Cantonese) and bubur cha cha.

Hak Lor Mai or Pulut Hitam @ RM2.30

The Mak Chuk or Bubur Gandum @ RM2.30 (with bits of sweet corn).  I liked both as the sweetness was just nice and the santan flavour sufficiently enough.

But my all-time favourite tong sui has to be the "Bubur Cha Cha" @ RM3.20, a sweet potato and yam dessert in coconut milk, available only on Sundays.  The coconut soup wasn't too sweet nor too thick (until it's cloying) and the sweet potato and yam, nice and soft.  Two ingredients which is a must (for me) in any bowl of bubur cha cha is the tapioca jelly and sago...and this one had them both (though I don't mind more sago) including black eye peas as well.  It would have been more awesome if the coconut milk was just a tad thicker.

Red Bean Longan @ RM2.30

Besides various Penang-style noodles and breakfast options, I've discovered a hidden gem here in their small but surprisingly good selection of rice dishes for lunch (which I will cover in a separate post as there are just way too many photos for one post).  [#Note: Although the menu board says they open from 8.30am to 10pm, they don't anymore (they now close around five-ish).]

My Personal Opinion

All the noodles here tend to be more mild-tasting on the palate than the usual punchy versions I've had....though it's not necessarily a bad thing coz, on some days, we do wish for something lighter.

Noodles aside, the tong sui deserves even more mention coz they were slurpiliciously mouth-watering!  You won't go wrong with the first three, the red bean....not so much.

They say 'variety is the spice of life'....but here it takes on a different context altogether where one can have a variety of noodles instead...hehe....(one or two, maybe even three) in one sitting since they come in mini-sized versions.  That's a brilliant idea and a great selling point...and probably what endeared me to this place in the first place! ;)

Tim Mei Dessert House
15G Jalan Wawasan 2/8
Bandar Baru Ampang
68000 Ampang
Selangor

15 comments:

  1. From the name, I thought they only served desserts. I think the small portions is a great idea too, for sampling. That way we can cover more varieties in one visit. I am not really into tong sui but I must say that I enjoy bubur cha cha a lot.

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    1. Bubur cha cha seems to be a favourite of many. I guess when a tong sui has santan in it, it's usually a popular choice as evidenced by my 3 choices above....hee...hee! ;D

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  2. That seems very cheap, even if it's for mini-sized servings.

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    1. I thought the price was more than decent too though you'd have to eat at least 2 bowls (maybe even 3) to be full and that would come up to RM6.40. Since the pic doesn't really allow you to judge the actual size, you'd have to eat it to decide if the price is indeed cheap.

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  3. Mini sizes - I like! I think all eateries should offer mini sizes for a lower price like this shop. Mild tasting is also right for me but location wise is a bit out of my usual haunts. When you said you did not order the "right" things initially, which dishes are you referring to as "not the right things"?

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    1. Yes, I know you would like these mini-sizes....I've actually not encountered this elsewhere. I had their pre-packed nasi lemak and prawn mee the first time I was here. The sambal of the nasi lemak I would steer clear of and the prawn mee was the least successful noodle in my opinion and since that was the first noodle I tried, I was more critical of it, I guess.

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  4. I really appreciate places that have options for portion sizes. I don't have a small appetite, but I do like to taste lots of things.

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    1. Yes, I'm with you on that....I prefer small servings as that would allow me to taste more food in one sitting (a food blogger mindset, I suppose). For a medium-sized appetite, you can easily down two bowls of noodles and one tong sui at one go! ;D

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  5. No coagulated pig blood = not Penang curry mee. The Penangites would call the owner a traitor, or even slaughter him!

    And if his food is mild tasting, the Penangites will probably slaughter him too. Penang food are HEAVILY flavored one... >.<

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    1. Nowadays, even some of the good Penang curry mee doesn't come with coagulated pig blood anymore probably due to consumers wanting to eat more healthy. I've always preferred KL-style curry laksa which is more heavily flavoured than the Penang ones.

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  6. ooo the mini-bowls sound like a good and budget-friendly option to me too ... can try three different bowls for just RM10 ... and i do figure that three bowls would be enough for some customers for a light lunch :) btw, the dessert house part of the name is a bit misleading since they have so many savoury goodies :)

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    1. They started out selling tong sui first and hence the name of the shop, I guess....and then went on to offer savoury stuff. Yeah, 3 bowls is about right for a guy since I can down 2 bowls myself.

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  7. offers small size noodles definitely great for a greedy person like me which want to try more varieties when eating, haha!

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    1. I think all of us the same, especially food bloggers, we want to try as many things as possible in one visit :)

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