Lai Ching Yuen 荔晶园

Interior - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

Found within the winding walkways of the Grand Millennium Hotel sits Lai Ching Yuen (荔晶园), a Cantonese-style Chinese restaurant, famous for its dim sum fare. This little gem offers some of the best dim sum you will find in town, and being in the heart of Kuala Lumpur with the plethora of Chinese restaurants round the corner, this is no simple task. As all traditional dim sum aficionados know, the only way to test the skill of a dim sum chef is to taste one of their basics, their har gow, (蝦餃, prawn dumplings), and siu mai (燒賣, pork dumplings).

Private Room - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

As you enter Lai Ching Yuen you are greeted by its traditional Chinese façade, complete with rosewood and a red hue that is distinctively Chinese. As you walk in, you are greeted by heaps of bamboo steaming trays sit on top of one another, waiting to steam dim sum dishes for orders placed. Being in operations since 2007, guests at Lai Ching Yuen may also opt for a more intimate setting within its classical red and black signature room with its rounded red  ceiling, or if preferred, in the settings of one of the elegant seven private rooms. Savour signature dishes by its acclaimed chefs such as roast suckling piglet, assorted meat, exotic live seafood and abalone. One of the highlights of Lai Ching Yuen is also the daily Dim Sum made live in an open kitchen.

Chef Kong - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Thye Yoon Kong, dim sum chef who has managed to elevate the simple, yet complex art of dim sum making. Chef Kong has been a chef for a number of years specialising in dim sum and Cantonese, specifially Guandong cuisine. He has also previously worked with Merlin Hotel and the Regent Four Seasons. Ever since he has helmed the ship that is Lai Ching Yuen, the restaurant has been elected as the best Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur in 1992, 1993 and 1997. When asked how does his cooking style differentiates from other Cantonese restaurants, he said: –

“My cooking style is different from other restaurants in which I still maintain a very traditional Cantonese approach with a touch of local flavour, and not to mention, produce.” — Thye Yoon Kong, Executive Chef of Lai Ching Yuen

The Dining

The dim sum menu here is like most places you will find, simple elements on a white sheet for you to mark your dishes. The menu is divided into 4 parts, Steamed dim sum, Baked dim sum, Porridge and Dessert. The simple items on the menu are deceiving to the eye as when they are presented, they leave you surprisingly impressed.

Seafood Dumpling with Spinach - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The first dish to be served was the Seafood Dumpling with Spinach (海鮮白菜) a steamed dumpling filled with prawns, napa cabbage and a seafood stock. The skin of the dumpling glistens in a pool of seafood stock, and is warm to the bite. Peppered with pearls of prawn roe, the nice balance of flavour with the sweetness of the napa cabbage comes through.

Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling With Mayonnaise - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The next dish that was served was off the Deep Fried Dim Sum menu, which was the Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling with Mayonnaise (沙律炸), a multi layered crispy dish, much like a mille-feuille, but savoury. This dish is topped with a generous portion of crab and prawn meat, drizzled with a nice dollop of mayonnaise and prawn roe.

Steamed Siew Mai with Fish Roe - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The next dish was definitely the star of the night, the Steamed Siew Mai with with Fish Roe (魚子蒸燒賣), one of the most traditional and iconic of all Cantonese dim sum. The skin of the siu mai is nice and thin, but firm and not easily torn. The meat used is a equal fat to lean meat ratio, ensuring a nice mouth feel when you bite into it. The savoury drops of fish roe on the top adds to a nice contrast of umami savouriness to the siu mai, probably one of the best you will find in Kuala Lumpur.

Bean Curd Roll - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The next dish was the Deep Fried Bean Curd Roll with Shrimp (鮮蝦竹), another highlight of the menu. The bean curd skin is nice and crispy to the touch, perfectly marinated with a sweetened soy sauce to compliment the dish. The prawns are crunchy and fresh to the bite, with a nice burst of flavours.

Custard Bun - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The Steamed Custard Bun with Egg Yolk (回味金筍流沙包), arguably one of the best dishes to order at a dim sum restaurant. This dish is made with a steamed bun filled with sweetened custard and an egg yolk. The key to a good custard bun is to ensure that the yolk is cooked just right, still in a melted state. The burst of piping hot flowing sweet and savoury custard is the desired effect of this dish, and the one at Lai Ching Yuen is definitely a must try, even for veterans.

Durian Pancakes | Lai Ching Yuen | Food For Thought

The Chilled Signature Durian Pancake (榴蓮班戈) is a must try for durian lovers, with an ample serving of bittersweet durian flesh concealed in paper-thin skin. The bur of flavours is just what you was needed for the ending of a meal, and in typical Chinese style, it ended in a fruity delight.

Seafood - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The Steamboat

Lai Ching Yuen is offering a steamboat promotion at the moment with a fresh selection of seafood including fresh scallops, slipper lobsters and their iconic dumplings.

Steamboat Spread - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

They also carry a nice selection of thinly sliced beef rib eye and tenderloin, and if you are a meat fan, the chicken is nicely seasoned and sliced thinly, leaving a very nice bite that is still springy.

Steamboat - Lai Ching Yuen - Food For Thought

The Lai Ching Yuen Experience

Chef Kong’s years of experience has shaped his cooking techniques, and its is none other clearer than his culinary prowess in making dim sum. When asked what his personal favourite dim sum dishes are, Chef Kong quipped: –

“Char Siew Pau because it is one of four principle dim sum, Char Siew Pau (叉燒包, steamed barbecue pork buns), Siew Mai (燒賣, steamed pork dumplings), Har Gau (蝦餃, steamed prawn dumplings) and Lo Mai Kai (糯米雞, steamed glutenous rice with chicken), which all dim sum Chefs need to master as they are the must have dishes when a guest goes for dim sum breakfast or lunch. To gain mastery in dim sum making techniques, all chef will need to master these four principle dim sum. If a chef can make a great Char Siew Pau then the rest of his dim sum will be great.”

There are not many restaurants in Kuala Lumpur that can produce the level of dim sum that Lai Ching Yuen can, especially when it comes to dim sum, a staple amongst the Chinese community in Malaysia. Lai Ching Yuen is definitely a recommendation if what you are looking for is an elevated authentic Chinese experience.


Lai Ching Yuen (荔晶园)
Grand Millenium Hotel
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2117 4888
Opening Hours:
12.00 pm t0 2.30 pm
6.30 pm to 10.30 pm

| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: LILA BAKAR & LAI CHING YUEN | WEBSITE: LAI CHING YUEN |


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Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Managing Director of Black Wolf Digital, a digital marketing agency.

40 Comments

  1. Wow! The food looks good. Always love a place that is willing put more than just a few drops of roes as decorations or put in more than just a few lines of salad sauces. 2 of the best things I love to add extras on in my dim sums.

    • This was filled to the top! The roe was fresh and really added a nice crunch to the siu mai.

  2. The decoration is high end to me. The food seem nice and tasty to me. May I know the price is reasonable for Dim Sum? I planning to bring my family try different place Dim Sum.

    • Each dish was about 15 ringgit? I think its quite reasonable for the quality of the food. Really one of the best I’ve had.

  3. If only it is halal.
    I love dim sums and all chinese dishes (my great grandparents are Chinese) and your shots make me salivating over the pictures.
    And you had me with the dining area’s picture – all red – looks so majestic like in the old movie.

    • Unfortunately, its non-halal. And yes, it did feel like the film “In the mood for love”. 🙂

  4. delicious food pics, I love to try them. However lets save money first, would be nice to have a price list to see here.

    • Hey Sherry, each dish costs about 12 to 15 ringgit, some up to 20. I don’t normally put the price list down because I want to emphasise on the food, quality and experience. 🙂

  5. Food look good. Look at that Chef with his sweet smiles…can’t resist the food and him too.

  6. there’s alot of seafood material you’ve got here for steamboat! How much does it cost?

    • The steam boat comes up to about 60 on average? Depends on what is ordered. Each dish is about 10 ringgit plus for vegetables and about 20 plus for meats. High quality food and service. 🙂

    • The seafood dumpling was probably my favourite steamboat dish. I guess it was that good because the chef specialises in dim sum.

  7. OMG their Seafood Dumpling with Spinach really looks so yummy with their transparent skin! Wish can bring my family there to try all these nice traditional food 🙂

  8. wow… The foods looks yummy. The presentation of the foods look great. This post make me hungry. T.T

  9. Your pictures look so good! And the pau with salted egg yolk, I’d kill for that 😛

  10. I love the Chinese setting and it totally befits the cuisine they offer. The food looks awesome. Would be great if I have the chance to try this restaurant out one day.

  11. Love the look of all those dumplings but too bad they serve pork.. =( not my rezeki… I love dimsum loads….

    • I know! Not to worry, there are many halal dim sum restaurants which are high quality. 🙂

  12. This is such a grand feast! Dimsums are the BOMB man, but i wish they had a halal version of it.

    • I agree! They are the tapas of the east! And yes, there are many good halal dim sum places too.

  13. wow! the foods so so nice and tempting 🙂 love your photos shared here 🙂 it seems like fine dine dim sum for me to enjoy with my parents 🙂

  14. Been there before with my friends, love their foods, especially the dim sum, so delicious and has a lot of varieties 🙂

  15. I would love to try the custard bun and you are right about the har kaw and siew mai being the determining factor for a good dim sum place, that’s always how i judge too haha.

  16. The food presentation is so elegant and pretty! Definitely worth to go and dine in <3 Thanks for the nice review!

  17. look delicious. wish to try it too. recently bit busy during wedding month . wish can dropby to have some nice food like this.

  18. Never dine here before but the food looks very much tempting! Probably should give it a try!

  19. Food looks totally awesome and it is looking more tempting with the way you have captured the photos.

  20. Oh my the food selections are making me hungry! The venue seems very elegant and classy. I would love to go on a dinner date here one day.

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