Every now and then, a craving for Chinese (Cantonese) dim sum hits me out of the blue. What is dim sum? Similar to Spanish tapas, dim sum is a style of Cantonese food served with tea (instead of sherry or wine) in snack-sized portions. They are usually steamed, baked, or fried and presented in bamboo containers. They are to be enjoyed together with your friends and/or family. The more the merrier, they say, so don’t be surprised to see large tables at dim sum places. It’s a weekly ritual family meal to some Chinese families.

This time I’m going for dim sum at Lei Garden Restaurant in Gajah Mada. 
Before going there, check out a few online discount websites first. A discount voucher can save you almost 50%. You need to call them up and make a reservation before your visit. It’s worth it. In my experience, the reservation process sucked as the employees were not trained properly and didn’t understand the process, but finally it was okay after some heated arguments over the phone.

All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum – IDR 70K (regular price)
The place is quite big and you can see it is mainly used for weddings. When I came in almost past lunch, most of the food had been gone. It turned out the regular dim sum items were still available. Only for some items like porridge and fried rice, you have to line up. There was a long line of people waiting. It’d be tough to get food, I thought. Thank God our waitress was very helpful. She was taking our orders very well, getting us our food fast and even provided recommendations on the good items. Her service definitely exceeded my expectations.

Custard-filled (?) Bun Toast
For the love of God, I can’t seem to remember the exact filling for this one. It didn’t taste good, either.

Shrimp Dumplings
Don’t know what this was exactly other than it tasted amazing.

Shu mai
Open-topped shrimp dumplings. Tasty.

Fried Cahkwe (‘Chak-way’) with Mayonnaise
This thing is also known as the Chinese donut, and originally it means “fried ghost” if I remember correctly. Very tasty and made us quite happy. Just remember to hit the gym later during the day.

Fried Tofu

Chinese Pastries

Sweet Buns
Not my thing. Too sweet without any memorable flavor.

Cheong fan
Steamed rolled rice noodles with chicken fillings and drizzled with soy sauce.

Left – Crab Rangoons; Right – Sesame Balls

Cha siu bao
Steamed bun with chicken filling instead of pork.

Shrimp Wrapped in Bean Curd

Har gau
Steamed shrimp dumplings. One of my favorites here.

Chinese Fried Rice

Dan Ta
Egg custard tart. Apparently one of their specialties. Grab some and you won’t regret it. After one bite, wow!! It was so fresh and came with the right sweetness and texture. What a nice way to end a meal.

Food: Great food in general. Some items needed tweaking for a better taste. 
Atmosphere: Casual, family-style.
Service: Superb. One of the best in-house services in my experience. Reservation process needs to be explained to employees.
Price*: $$$ (regular), $$ (with a discount voucher). Great value with voucher.
Parking: Plenty.
Attire: Casual.

Lei Garden Restaurant
Green Central Apartment Main Lobby
Jl. Gajah Mada No. 188
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tel +62 21 6385 4256 and +62 21 2937 9191

* Including a drink, tax & service charges, per person on average:
$: < IDR 30K (cheap)

$$: 30K+ (okay)
$$$: 60K+ (pricey)
$$$$: 90K+ (borju)