Last day in Penang: Dimsum at De Tai Tong Cafe

I just realized that there are still a couple of posts left on our Penang trip in June. Here are pics from our dimsum breakfast on our 4th and final day in Penang.

Thanks to CK Lam’s recommendation, we had a fabulous meal at De Tai Tong Cafe in Cintra Street, which is a short walk from Traders Hotel where we stayed.

Dim sum breakfast

Dimsum breakfast

De Tai Tong looks like an established dimsum place in Penang. There was another joint selling similar dimsum down the road, but that one was rather empty, whereas Tai Tong was packed!

The staff said it’s self-service on Sunday. So after getting a table, I grabbed a tray and went to the kitchen section to pick the dishes. There were so many items to choose from! So, I just grabbed the first few items I saw.

Yummy spread!

Yummy spread!

Rick and I were surprised by how delicious EVERYTHING was! Even though the fried items were pre-cooked, they were warm and crispy. The siew mai was fat and juicy, stuffed full of sweet crunchy prawn and bouncy pork. Every item tasted fresh and naturally flavorsome.

I thought we’d go for seconds. But by the end of the first round, we were already quite full, because the dimsum items here are jumbo sized! They’re double the size of those served in finer dining joints!

Cheong fun (steamed rice flour rolls) with prawn

Cheong fun (steamed rice flour rolls) with prawn

Then, one of the servers came around bearing a tray of congee and freshly steamed cheong fun. We said no thanks, but apparently, this motherly lady wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Are you sure you don’t want? They’re very good, you must try!”

Ok, Auntie, if you insist. 🙂

Pork & century egg congee

Pork & century egg congee

If we ever return to Penang, we must go back to thank this auntie for her persistence. This was one of the best congee we’ve ever had.

It’s been eons since we had old-school dimsum like this. Teahouse, or 茶楼, dimsum is, of course, in a different league from dimsum served in fine dining restaurants. It’s not as dainty in presentation nor as refined in taste, but if done well, teahouse dimsum can be just as satisfying.

Sadly, it’s hard to find quality teahouse dimsum in Singapore now; for decent dimsum, one has to go to finer dining establishments. I really miss this kind of experience – enjoying rustic and hearty dimsum in a casual, unpretentious setting.

Old school dim sum trolleys

Old school dimsum trolley

Don’t you miss the thrill of peering into dimsum trolley shelves to pick out your favorite items? Sure, we were always tempted to order more than we wanted/needed, but that’s what made dimsum so fun. Oh, the nostalgia!

Full house

Full house

Penang was so memorable, not just for its historical sights and amazing food, but also the warm and friendly folks. Can you spot someone making the peace “V” sign?

The front facade

The front facade

I don’t have the price breakdown, and can’t remember the exact bill amount, but I remember this meal cost around S$12. This works out to…S$6 each person.  That’s shockingly cheap by Singapore standards!

Also read:
Penang Day 1 – Supper from street stalls along Lorong Baru (New Lane)
Penang Day 2 – Hotel breakfast, Toh Soon Cafe, and tang yuen for supper
Penang Day 3 – Char koay kak
Penang Day 3 – Lunch at Lorong Selamat
Penang Day 3 – The Great Penang Cendol Face-off!



  1. Erica says


    Being Chinese we always love our dim sums so much. I worked just across the street from two dim sums takeout in San Francisco. Always found a low cost meal there. Before closing time they would have 20% off all leftover dim sums which I pick up for kids.

  2. Joyce says

    Tai Tong! I was brought up in Penang (for 15 yrs before leaving for UK) and me and my family were great fans of Tai Tong. We loved the tze char esp hor fun! Mmmmmm! Really brings back fond memories. My parents knew the boss well so dad would gather round family friends, gave the boss a call, went round to pick up piping hot noodles and rice, which we’d all feast on! 🙂