5 January 2014
Initiation day! I chaperoned a large group of Aussies to dim sum on Sunday afternoon. My pro tricks included arriving before my friends, pushing through the crowds to enter the restaurant (trust me, don’t queue aimlessly outside), and targeting the waiter to add my name to the wait list.
We still had to wait about 10mins after everyone arrived, including the stragglers. I took full advantage of the opportunity to coach my dim sum noobies: refuse the watermelon juice, don’t bother with crappy Chinese desserts, and bring the bowl to your mouth rather than dropping food on yourself.
BBQ pork buns
I immediately ordered two sets of char siew bao (BBQ pork buns) from the trolley of steamed goodies. These are like crack for white people and they went down a treat. Fluffy buns and sweet meaty filling, always a strong combo.
To rapidly bring my friends out of their comfort zone, I ordered a set of chicken feet. The method for these is to chew the tasty soft skin from each of the toes, then work your way up the foot. Prepare to spit out a lot of tiny bones and small bits of cartilage. This is certainly not a dish for everyone, but there’s a novelty factor!
Prawn and coriander dumplings
Oddly shaped prawn and coriander dumplings, but they seemed to be a hit. Dunk these in chilli oil for max flavour.
I was disappointed that the xiaolongbao (“little dragon buns”) were not cooked fresh to order. The dumpling skins were quite delicate, but they ripped open because they got stuck together. It breaks my heart to see the delicious soupy insides spill into a bowl or onto the table. Served with Chinese vinegar but no fresh ginger *sigh*.
Black bean pork spare ribs
Pork spare ribs are usually a hit on any table! These slippery, oily, fatty bits of pork were quite meaty and well-seasoned.
Prawn and pork dumplings
Tell-tale signs of frozen-then-steamed dumplings are shu mai (prawn and pork dumplings) covered in pale opaque fish roe. The usually bursty garnish was quite dull, but the dumplings were fat and juicy. Another of my favs to coat liberally in chilli oil.
More dumplings! The plain prawn dumplings have soft rice flour skins and lots of chunky prawn pieces inside. This one is one of my mum’s favs but I prefer the prawn dumplings with other stuff inside because otherwise they feel so plain…
BBQ pork rice flour rolls
Slippery rice flour sheets wrapped around sweet BBQ pork. I always ask for extra sauce with this dish because I love slurping it all from my bowl. Very tasty.
The yam balls were the biggest let-down. Trust your instincts and never order the last item of its kind that appears to have moved around the restaurant multiple times. These must have been on a tray for ages and, despite the waitress’s assurances, were cold and crappy. It’s always disappointing when cripsy fried stuff gets oily and congealed. Here’s a tip for all dim sum restaurants - don’t serve cold food (because it tastes rubbish and there’s no excuse given the high turnover on weekends)!
The sticky rice came with a generous serving of two individually wrapped parcels. I love pulling open the banana leaf and picking bits of stray rice from the wrappers. This was a fairly standard dish with a reasonable filling of minced pork, mushrooms, and salted egg yolk.
Deep fried squid tentacles
We enjoyed the lightly battered, cirspy, salty squid tentacles. Meaty and quite flavoursome, but I feel like they needed more garlic and chilli (less salt and MSG).
Chinese doughnut rice flour roll
The rice flour rolls with Chinese doughnut inside need to be ordered specially from most dim sum restaurants. I enjoy the crunchy savoury doughnut, soft rice flour sheets, and sweet salty sauce. Very filling, but a solid combo.
Custard egg tarts
A sweet note to the end of our meal with Chinese custard egg tarts. The pastry was a nice golden brown, the custard was silky, and it was served piping hot. I try these each time my family or friends order them, but I still don’t have a taste for custard.
Service was generally quite efficient and attentive, without any rudeness. How does Regal on Roe compare to its neighbour, Northbridge Chinese Restaurant? Regal on Roe generally serves similar-quality food (except for the cold yam balls). Prices are similar and very reasonable - our lunch cost only $14 per person, including Chinese tea. The distinguishing feature for me is that Northbridge Chinese Restaurant freshly prepares my favourite xiaolongbao dumplings when they’re ordered.
Likes: tasty and good quality dim sum
Dislikes: cold yam balls, xiaolongbao not freshly made to order
Value for money: awesome, as expected from dim sum
Overall: probs one of the best dim sum spots in Northbridge
20 Roe Street
(08) 9228 2198