Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Melbourne Food Review: Yum Cha at Imperial Kingdom, Glen Waverley

This place comes strongly recommended by a friend who lives locally. Who am I to say no to good dim sum! The last time I had some really good dim sum, I was at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore.

We rocked up at 11.30am after having made a booking on a Saturday morning. Wasn’t really necessary at the time because the place was huge! It was very clean and there was actual linen on the table. According to my friends, real linen means real service. And they were definitely right. The service at Imperial Kingdom was spotless on the day.

Note: I took care to write down the pricing but with quite few dishes I can’t guarantee I didn’t make a mistake.

(pork and prawn dumpling – $4.80)

We were starving and picked out the first thing that came along Pork and Prawn dumplings. They were really good. Perfect balance between the filling and the pastry. It didn’t look interesting but it definitely was good. Recommended.

(Century egg and pork congee – $3.80)

Century egg and pork congee is my favourite dim sum dish. Unfortunately this one was pretty average. Too watery and the taste wasn’t too interesting. I wouldn’t have it again. I would rather concentrate on other yummy things they have.

(a close up of the congee)

A congee is basically a rice gruel dish made with boiling rice in stock until it becomes thick and soup-like. Century eggs are Chinese-preserved eggs. I think they are coated in lime, the egg white becomes jelly-like rich amber colour and the yolk turns grey. It’s good. Some people think it’s disgusting, Josh included. But I’m definitely a fan.

(steamed prawn rolls – $5.50)

Another family favourite – prawns wrapped thick rice noodle sheets topped with seasoned soy sauce. My mum always orders this when we go for dim sum together. The rice noodle skin was thick but this time, I actually liked it. Recommended.

(vegetarian dumplings – $3.80)

Vegetarian dumplings – I think they were quite average. Josh rather liked them.

(the inside of a vegetarian dumpling)

The filling had ‘typical’ Chinese vegetarian things like shittake mushrooms, woodear, firm beancurd and bamboo shoots. You might be surprised to know that in vegetarian does not mean fresh vegetables in some Chinese restaurants. I once ordered the vegetarian combination on at the Shanghai Noodle House thinking it would be mixed veggies but I was sadly wrong. It was a plate of stir-fried dehydrated mushrooms, canned bamboo shoots, wood ear, etc. Not a single piece of fresh vegetable in sight!

(scallop dumplings – $4.80)

The scallop dumplings were very good. Nice juicy filling with perfect dumpling skin. Definitely recommended.

(the inside of a scallop dumpling)

I think the filling also had some minced prawns in it but I honestly can’t remember. This post is about two weeks behind the actual event.

(Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce – $6.80)

Another family favourite: Chinese broccoli (kai lan) in oyster sauce. This is not something I have successfully replicated. I have been assured by a couple of Hong Kong friends that all I have to do is blanch the vegetables in boiling water (that contains some oil and a bit of sugar) and pour bottled oyster sauce on top. And that there is absolutely no trick to it whatsoever. Still failed. Many times! This was well done. Josh really liked it.

(sugarcane prawns –  $4.80)

This was the only fried dim sum we had. We aren’t really a big fan of fried dim sum at all. This one was lovely. It was minced prawn mixture shaped around a tiny sugarcane stick (which we chewed on) and lightly crumbed and fried.

(the fried dim sum trolley)

I took a very rushed picture of the fried dim sum trolley because the size of the oysters just amazed me. And I felt bad asking the waiter to pause. They were quite nice and a couple of them actually smiled! Seriously! Do you even know how rare this is at a Chinese restaurant in Australia?!?!

(steamed pork spare ribs – $4.80)

This was another one of my favourite dim sum dishes. Can’t say I was that impressed with it here though. I found it a tad too oily and I’m used to the slight spicy edge that usually accompanies this dish but it wasn’t. I think I might pass on it next time.

By this time, we were absolutely full. Even Josh had decided that he didn’t want any mango pudding (his favourite) but I think it was due to him seeing this young guy at the next table eating chicken feet. Josh was a bit put off after that. Until of course…

The dessert cart showed up! I mean, have a look! How could you say no?

Carp jelly! How cool is that!

And then we spotted the mango pudding.

(mango pudding – $3.80)

The mango pudding was served topped with evaporated milk. I’m personnally not a fan of evaporated milk on mango pudding and would have done without but this was Josh’s. The pudding was very nice and mango-ey. With realy mango pieces and not one of those icky fake mango flavour. Definitely recommended.

(bean curd with minced prawns – $4.80)

I figured if he could have dessert, so could I. But I preferred another savoury. This was pretty good. I loved the silky egg tofu texture with the flavourful prawn topping. Amazingly steaming hot I almost scalded myself a few times eating it.

(Jasmine tea – $1.50)

Me: What do you think my tea leaves say?
Josh: That you married a handsome man and will live happily ever after!

We were definitely impressed with the place and would definitely go back there. Food was awesome and the service was good. They do charge you for tea but not before asking if you actually want tea. I really hate it when they plonk tea (or peanuts, or whatever) in front of you without asking whether you want it and then charge you for it.

It’s a bit out of our way but it’s definitely no worse than going into the city. And parking is an absolute breeze. Will try not to order so much next time though. Bad idea to go without breakfast!

(Josh: Get the neon sign! Get the neon sign!)

Imperial Kingdom, 546 – 554 Waverley Rd. (cnr Blackburn Rd.), Glen Waverley
Entries from Waverley Rd. and Blackburn Rd.
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