Viva

Today, we decided to have dim sum breakfast at the newly-opened Viva (东城) in Tanjung Tokong. This place is located along the main road leading to Tanjung Bungah, in front of Naza Talyya Hotel. It is serves as a hawker food court in the evening, but only dim sum is served in the morning.
Unlike most places in Klang Valley, Penangites start flocking for dim sum breakfast rather early in the morning. For popular dim sum places around Penang, it is advisable to arrive before 8:00am on weekends, otherwise the place can be rather packed.

Not quite so for Viva, but probably because it is newly opened and has not established itself within the dining community. However, I wouldn't count on it in the next few weeks when more people learn of this place.

Long gone were the days where hardworking servers push carts of dim sum dishes between the dining tables, saving us the trouble of standing up. Like most dim sum restaurants today, Viva gives customers the "privilege" of walking to the serving area next to the kitchen. When there are many customers, this can get really messy. I certainly dislike mess, which explains why I always try to beat the crowd.

I heard that the chefs were formerly employed by a Chinese hotel restaurant. Therefore right off the bat, I have a higher-than-normal expectation for this place.

We started off with the Shanghainese Meat Dumpling (上海小笼包, RM4.80), which comes in a bamboo steamer of three pieces. It's a pity the restaurant overlooked ginger when starting up. Anyway, the soup from the dumplings is acceptable, but I must admit that I have tasted better elsewhere.
The Viva Superior Prawn Dumplings (东城虾饺皇, RM3.80) is worth mentioning. The dumplings are filled with fresh prawns, giving a sweet taste when consumed with the starchy dumpling skin.
Next, the Steamed Dumpling With Fish Roe (鱼子蒸烧卖, RM3.80) is quite a treat. I like the delicious minced pork inside. However, I am not too sure whether the fish roe is the right choice here. It probably serves more as a garnish than an ingredient.
One of our favorites is the Stir Fried Radish Cake With Egg (炒萝卜糕, RM4.80). This dish needs to be ordered from the kitchen because it is not available at the serving table. Viva's chefs have mastered the art of quick, fiery stir-frying which this dish is very reliant upon. However, the portion seems a slightly expensive for its price.
Up next is the Crispy Yam Puff (蜂巢炸芋角, RM2.80), which is made of yam paste with pork and mushroom filling inside. Deep-frying gives the dish a nice layer of crisp. Be careful when eating because while the crispy layer has cooled down, the interior can still be scalding hot. I learnt this fact through the hard way.
Moving on to the Steamed Bun With Supreme Barbecued Pork (蜜汁叉烧包, RM3.80), the barbecued pork tastes quite alright. No complains here but nothing really special commend either.
Another favorite dish is the Steamed Pork Ribs With Yam (香芋蒸排骨, RM3.80). The pork ribs and its residual broth is very savory. I like the proportion of lean meat to fatty meat. Getting this wrong can be disastrous, but Viva makes it look too easy.
Finally, we wrapped up with a serving of Traditional Steamed Glutinous Rice (古法糯米鸡, RM3.80). This dish is served with a piece of chicken and some diced mushroom. The aroma and taste are reasonably good.
Overall, Viva did not fail to impress us with its dim sum, at least in most cases. It is worth a revisit in the near future!

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