Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stars for peanuts - Wing Lei, Wynn Macau

Wing Lei
We got to Macau at around lunchtime, and our first meal was here, at Wing Lei. (The second meal was dinner at Golden Flower, which I posted just before. Please see that post for an intro to why this trip was made). Wing Lei is the romanised pronunciation of Wynn's Cantonese name, and fittingly, it serves Cantonese food. If you're the star-chasing kind, you might also like to note that Wing Lei has 2 Michelin stars in the 2012 guide.

Wing Lei
Let's get the first thing out of the way - service. The chefs didn't know that I was coming, but the floor staff certainly did. I shouldn't complain. In any case, they were friendly and efficient with everyone else, from what I could see, but I couldn't help but notice the extra attention (there was a lot of it, and really, given that their usual service looked perfectly fine, that would have worked too! I'm no diva!).

Pretty chic teapot!
At lunch, there's a dim sum set. For MOP158 (that's the same in HKD) you can choose six dim sums off a list of about 20, which includes desserts. These were normal-sized dim sums, so six of them was easily enough for two or three people to share. That is crazy value. This is place has two Michelin stars! You can hardly get away with paying that in Hong Kong at your local yum cha, let alone fine Cantonese fare at a hotel.

Char Siu Tarts with Pinenuts
The charsiu tarts were delish. Usually the charsiu pastries are in puff pastry pockets ("charsiu so") but the tart shape meant that you'll get a slightly firmer crust, and more filling-to-crust ratio. The filling contained charsiu with a typical salty-sweet sauce, but also had pinenuts. I've been told that Cantonese people are particularly fond of textural contrast (I don't know if that's true, but I definitely like it), so the pinenuts worked really well here. It also added an unexpected, but welcome, flavour to the delicious but same-old charsiu 'gravy'. If I could only tell you one thing about Wing Lei, it'd be these.

We had three charsiu items in total - the formidable tarts above, a cheung fan and a dish of plain charsiu (a la carte). Charsiu isn't really a litmus test, I just like it and get curious when I see other charsiu-filled items on the dimsum menu.

Char siu cheung fun
The cheung fun (wrapper) had great rice flavour. If there was a cheung fun spectrum with stretchy and translucent on one end, and more "brittle" and opaque on the other, this was closer to the stretchy end. It really depends on what you like.

Char siu
And because I'm an incorrigible char siu addict, I ordered a char siu a la carte. People nowadays tend to prefer fattier char siu (at least the hedonists among us) and this was a classic "half-fat-lean" cut. It was soft, warm and juicy, though a little more char would have been nice (am I a suicidal eater?), and more spice (star anise etc.) in the marinade would have helped get rid of the overly "porky" flavour that is sometimes unpleasant.

Shrimp spring rolls
These spring rolls were stellar too. Light and crispy, filled with minced shrimp. Deep-fried things can be tricky because you could easily end up with a greasy mess, but these were nice and dry.

Chicken dumplings with cordycep flowers
I ordered these because I saw cordycep flowers in the name. I can't say they changed the flavour, but these were well-made nonetheless (don't you just love the tortellini-style folding) and it's always nice to have a break from pork.

Shrimp dumplings (har gau)
One of my "standard" litmus test dishes, and this passed with flying colours. It had a bit of veg (asparagus) which was an innovative replacement for the regular bamboo shoots. The flavours were cleaner and added to the juiciness of the shrimps. Some people judge a dumpling (or a dim sum chef) by the number of pleats they can see in a dumpling wrapper, it's a display of their skills - I don't usually notice, but if you saw the crazy number of grooves in these dumplings, you'd be pretty surprised too. (It also means it hold more chilli sauce, which I consider a semi-essential with har gau!)

Chilled mango and sago cream with pomelo (yeung ji gum lo) 
There were a number of desserts on the dim sum menu too, and I went with a childhood fave. This was fine - not too sickly sweet, a good amount of chopped mangoes, not too much sago (some places add more sago to compensate for less fruit, probably because sago is cheaper...). We left (overly) full and very happy.

Wynn's carpets are so crazy! I love them!
If I were to have dim sum in Macau, I would recommend Wing Lei and The Eight at Hotel Lisboa without hesitation. They're definitely on par with the best in Hong Kong, and when you consider the price, Macau wins (especially if you're having a good streak at the tables! Nb. I do not endorse gambling etc.).

Wing Lei
Wynn Macau
Rua Cidade de Sintra
+853 8986 3663

View e_ting in Macau in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. It rather strangely almost inspires me to want to revisit Macau.

    The Moustache guys said that if you go there there is an amazing flea market from which they decorate their shop and house with awesome old antique furniture. Could make a day trip out of it :)