Being with the legendary Tang Palace of JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya for almost 15 years, Chef Chong Loong Fatt is probably one of the reasons the restaurant earns its reputation. His five-star dim sums have been serving patrons for many years – from regular customers to royals and VVIPs. A bigger-than-life character with media-shy personality, Chef Chong sat down with us and shared about his career and creations.
E: You are most well-known for your dim sum creations. Can you tell us the key to a good dim sum?
A: Originating from China, dim sum was a type of snack that was specially created for the king and the royalty, so it was important to craft dim sum as meticulously as possible, in terms of flavours and shapes. The keys to good dim sum are fresh ingredients, as well as accurate measurement and method of the recipe. These days, dim sum has become a popular dish that can be easily found, but you can see the premium ones are usually shaped like fish, dragon, swan and many more.
E: Dim sum can be found anywhere, from street vendors to fine dining restaurants. How does one distinguish high-quality, well-crafted dim sum from the rest?
A: When you’ve tried dim sum that is well-made with authentic flavours, you can tell the difference. For example, one of the popular dim sums that can be found a lot here is shumai. When you buy shumai from street vendors, yes, it is very cheap, but you can tell that they mostly use flour and seasoning, with not enough chicken. A good shumai should have mostly chicken and prawns, with only enough flour to make the filling stick.
E: What is the most memorable moment you’ve had working with JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya for Tang Palace?
A: I’ve been here for a long time, so I’ve been through a lot of good and bad moments. The bad one might be the difficult time during the pandemic, but still, it is something unforgettable. The good moments revolve around keeping the guests happy. When guests come and tell me they enjoy my cooking, it is the best.
E: What makes Tang Palace stand out from the other Chinese restaurants in the city?
A: The teamwork, service and kitchen. We appreciate and respect each guest who comes in through our doors, so we do our best to prepare dishes with the best quality. I think this is what makes our regular guests come back for more and that is what makes the place popular.
E: You’ve been here for 14 years, is there any guest that has been coming here for that long?
A: Yes. There are guests who first came here when I first joined the restaurant, and they still come to enjoy Tang Palace. They treat me and the team as their family, and it is nice. So, that’s also an important quality to have in running a good restaurant, the human relations between the team and the guests.
E: What dishes would you recommend for diners who visit Tang Palace for the first time?
A: Usually when there’s a guest who visits Tang Palace for the first time, I will ask their likes and dislikes. Once I know what they like, I will make it for them. We can never assume what guests like. Sure, we have our favourites that we think are the best dishes in the restaurant, but that doesn’t mean all guests would like them. As a chef, we need to remember that the customer’s satisfaction comes first, so we need to serve what they want. When they’re happy, they’ll be back.
Exquisite Taste Volume 41
JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya
Jalan Embong Malang
Surabaya 60261, Indonesia
T: (+62) 31548888