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It's dim sum in Cardiff – but not as we know it!

It's dim sum in Cardiff – but not as we know it!

Before the Wales vs England rugby match, I went to a birthday dinner at the newly-opened Ba Orient, a “sophisticated oriental cocktail and dim dum bar” down t’Bay. (Website not yet built or proof-read – maybe I should ask Creo Interactive for a job)

People who delight in dim sum will remember steamy kitchens, bright lighting, loud crowded restaurants full of bickering boisterous families shouting over who gets the last tasty morsel of siu mai (shrimp and pork dumplings) or har gau (prawn dumplings), while waiters push metal trolleys containing more delicious dumplings in bamboo baskets hawking their wares. You just point and choose at the one you want, and the bill gets toted up at the end.

Ba Orient was very very different. Subdued lighting, posh waiters wearing purple silk shirts but who don’t understand what dish you’re ordering, brown tables, and water trickling down one wall for that oh-so-important faux-Chinese feng shui effect. It was also eerily quiet – although I imagine that’s because everyone else in Cardiff was watching the match. Full-on Western-style menu service – you choose from a very limited selection, and the food is brought to your table eventually, of course presented in Habitat-stylee plush plates.

So everyone else tentatively picked from dumpling dishes that sounded nice, while I went all out and ordered my favourite dumplings. Things that I wouldn’t have thought would trouble a newbie dimsum audience – like cheung fun. However, when it arrived, I was surprised to find the audience around me were very suspicious of this white rolly-thingummy that looked a tad oily and thin. They didn’t like it either – which really surprised me, because it’s one of the easiest and most delicious things to eat. Strangely, chickens’ feet wasn’t on the menu, otherwise I could have really shocked them. Although even i don’t like to eat it.

The place is obviously aimed at dim sum newbies, but if cheung fun is having to struggle past a consumer “eh? What’s that?” dislike for the unlike, I’m not too sure how long it’ll survive. Then again, if the pineapple fried rice costs £10 and comes inside its very own pineapple, it’s more for fun than anything else.

Definitely a place to be seen in, rather than to enjoy the cuisine. But that’s Cardiff Bay generally.

oh, gung hei fat choi. See, that Cantonese class is useful for something


  • 新年快乐! 恭喜发财!

    Mmm, I love siew mai too, but like you I can’t stand chicken feet 🙁

  • I loves me the cherng-gun!!!

  • 恭喜發財

  • Cross that one off my lunch time eateries then!

  • Gung Hei Fat Choi to you! My girlfriend in OC said this to a co-worker yesterday and he got all pissy 'cuz it wasn't in Mandarin or some shit! Please explain Cantonese vs. Mandarin snobbery 🙂

    After reading "…the cartilage breaks down into svelte silky denatured collagen…and the soft mess you've got at the end", I think I'll pass. Although I suppose if you eat some of the chicken, you should eat ALL of the chicken. That's it, I'm going veg again, thanks!

  • *Gasp* you don't like chicken's feet???? Next you'll be saying that you don't care for cow's stomach….

  • badly dubbed boy

    Cantonese vs Mandarin? It's rural/urban, north/south, majority/minority snobbery. Kinda like Californian/new York versus Arkansas in terms of accent. Think yourself lucky – someone wished me Happy New Year in my native Chinese tongue (Hakka, which everyone looks down on) and I had no idea what he was saying!

  • Is it the place that's opposite Via Rossa? if it is it looks quite a nice place

  • jonny

    Nice bar, quality food, good DJ on friday nights..

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