Dim sum was the typical weekend brunch for many a Malaysian family before Western cuisine swooped in and stole the spotlight. However, food styling is giving Chinese-style 'tapas' a comeback. Feast those eyes and little tummies with this list.
Grand Harbour’s dim sum serves as a good introduction to the uninitiated. The restaurant’s cutesy selection of dim sum is bound to bring a smile to your kids’ faces (and yours). Definitely get the Lotus Seed Piggy Bun (RM8.80) – a pair of piglet-shaped baos with pink ears and a petite snout. Whatever guilt we felt digging in subsided as sweet lotus paste met our palates. Worship the King of Fruits? Durian devotees will fall for the Swan-shaped Durian Puff (RM 11). Munch on crumbly puff pastry before diving into a rich durian filling. Grand Harbour’s other adorable dim sum options are offered depending on availability. Tip: For the best chance of getting a quick table, it’s best to brunch here before 12noon.
Dim sum at Way Modern Chinois feels like a James Bond affair. Get your child to press the button next to the faux elevator doors to gain access to this hideaway eatery. The dim lighting and elegant settings might seem more apt for a date than a family meal, but the playful, contemporary menu suggests otherwise. Come during lunchtime and order the Pac-Man Dumplings (RM22), an endearing throwback to the ’80s arcade game. Many post-millennials might miss the reference, Angry Birds and Candy Crush being more their forte, but gamer dads will love this one. Pac-Man is cut out of pita bread and nestled atop a mound of tempura crumble and chopped avocado, a creamy yet crispy combination that proves both delightful and unexpected. Four shrimp dumplings, or har gao, dyed a glowing red represent Pac-Man’s foes, or the ‘ghosts’.
A far cry from the fancy Chinese banquet hall, New Shanghai operates by a casual ‘seat and serve yourself’ rule. Don’t expect a server to wheel a dim sum cart to you – instead, load your tray with goodies from the hot counter and present it to the cashier, who will whisk your food to the back of house to be reheated and plated. We spotted an adorable panda staring at us from among the rows of baos and also picked up a pink bunny (RM3.80 each). The panda bao is filled with sweet and fragrant red bean paste while the pink bunny bao is full of lotus paste with the thick consistency of peanut butter. Tip: New Shanghai is excellent for takeaways; be environmental-friendly and bring your own tiffin carrier.
The pictorial menu at this franchise makes it easy to order the most appetising dishes. Dim sum is served at all hours of the day, so you can sleep in without fear of missing the brunch time slot. Even the grumpiest of kids are bound to break into a smile at the sight of the Steamed Piggy Buns (RM9.55) with colourful snouts and ears and a whole list of little treats. Ask your server for smaller-sized kids' cutlery sets.
Putting a modern take on the traditional Chinese teahouse is Dolly Dim Sum, a chic eatery that serves a variety of halal dim sum. While the menu features favourites such as siew mai dumplings, roasted barbecue buns and crystal prawn dumplings, we’re sure the kids won’t be able to resist the fluffy egg custard bun that’s filled with a generous amount of rich salted egg yolk custard. Best of all, these tasty morsels are available all day so you don’t have to drag grumpy kids out of bed too early in the morning. Dolly Dim Sum has three outlets all located in the city centre – Nu Sentral, Pavilion KL and Avenue K.
See more child-friendly restaurants in KL
Frazzled parents out for dinner with your kids, this list should give you some peace of mind. Here's what we deem the best when it comes to filling your kids' stomachs (and yours too).