Grab your chopsticks. We’re digging into well-loved dishes like char siew baos, chee cheong fun and egg tarts
Will food ever cease being the most debated topic of conversation in our city? Never, we hope. While Singapore has become a hotbed of culinary innovation and proudly wears its multi-cultural badge with gastronomic aplomb, locals will concur that when it comes to comfort food, nothing quite beats the appeal of dim sum.
Best shared amongst friends and family, dim sum dishes generally feature just three pieces, and are best washed down with a pot of Chinese tea. The question is, in a sea of top spots, which should you pick? We’ve rounded our favourite places that serve both traditional and innovative dishes to please the pickiest diner at your table.
Hai Tien Lo
A favourite among corporates who’re looking to impress international guests, Hai Tien Lo – which translates to Stairway to Heaven – promises a swanky, white tablecloth affair, with the service and refined cuisine to match.
Dim sum is on the menu here seven days a week. There are the mainstays (seven types of dumplings), double-boiled soups, and chef’s specials. Also not to be missed are Wok Fried Rice with Lobster and Ginger Spring Onion, Deep-fried Crispy Sea Cucumber stuffed with Minced Pork and Shrimps and Chilled Lemon Grass Jelly and Lime Sorbet.
Hai Tien Lo
Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: +65 6826 8240
How does one improve the well-loved Dim Sum Treasures experience at Jade? Apart from elevating the dining affair with shades of robin blue and paintings of native birds donning the walls during the revamp in 2017, Jade’s chef Leong Chee Yeng and his team have expanded its offerings.
For the ultimate dim sum fix, we recommend Jade’s Dim Sum Treasures available on the weekend. Diners will get to select up to 15 items from the Yum Cha menu which includes signature dishes such as Wagyu Beef Puffs, Braised Bird’s Nest Soup, Lobster Porridge and Pistachio Muah Chee. The working crowd need not worry, the Dim Sum Set Lunch menu remains as part of its weekday lunch sets.
1 Fullerton Square
Tel: +65 6877 8188
Kam Boat Chinese Cuisine
Quality is certainly the name of the game here, for Kam Boat Chinese Cuisine has the smallest selection of dim sum offered on our list. It’s a Teochew restaurant in name, but don’t skip its Cantonese offerings. One of our colleagues offers a ringing endorsement of the food there, and claims that this is the dim sum restaurant to dine at – mighty claim indeed. Four set lunch menus are available, and each set comes with three dim sum items of your choice and a complimentary dessert. Soup, seafood and vegetable options differ according to the set you choose.
Kam Boat Teochew Restaurant
Orchard Parade Hotel
1 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 6733 6755
This restaurant claims to herald a new era of fine dining in Singapore, and indeed it lives up to (and even exceeds) expectations. Don’t expect a typical Chinese setting, as once you enter, you’ll be welcomed with a full-service bar, perfect for pre- and post-dinner drinks. While the ambience is more reminiscent of a smart-casual French restaurant, the dim sum is homey, all plated perfectly, of course.
Their latest Cocktail Dim Sum brunch includes specials such as the black truffle-infused Wild Mushroom Dumplings and Bean Curd Skin with Parmesan Cheese. For those who can’t do without a main (read: carbs) dish, a variety of noodle and rice dishes await.
The NCO Club
32 Beach Road
Tel: +65 6818 1921
Man Fu Yuan
Voted one of the best Asian restaurants by numerous publications, Man Fu Yuan is where seasoned epicures go to get their dim sum fix. There are also premium tea pairings available with select offerings. Highlights here include the Baby Abalone with Japanese Seaweed, Stir-fried Vermicelli with Honey-glazed Barbecued Pork and the Pumpkin Soup and Morel Mushrooms.
A la carte dim sum is available on weekdays, while the a la carte dim sum buffet is only available in the afternoon on weekends and public holidays. Private dining rooms are also available and can accommodate between five to 40 guests.
Man Fu Yuan
80 Middle Road
Tel: +65 6825 1008
Look forward to harmonious tea pairings ($5) which include Forbidden Dragon Pearl tea from Fuzhou and Fuding Shou Mei from the Fujian province. Chef Leong Kwok Sing also makes it a point to design a new dim sum menu each month to shake things up.
The one Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant even highlights its gluten-free menu items. There’s cod fish, double boiled soup, and wok-fried pork cutlet, beef and prawns — all healthy but no less delicious.
1 Cuscaden Road
Tel: +65 6725 3288
At Summer Pavilion, dim sum gets due recognition from the Michelin Guide. The Cantonese restaurant retained its Michelin star in 2018 (and will probably keep its star this year too), which comes as no surprise. Delectable dim sum plated on stunning Italian-made porcelain dining ware; what’s not to love?
The menu covers all its bases, with a good selection of traditional favourites and a sprinkling of fusion offerings and original creations such as Steamed Coral Clam with Prawn, Egg White, Water Chestnut and Coriander Dumpling. The restaurant’s teas (from $7) are also supplied by Tea Bone Zen Mind, elevating the dining experience.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Tel: +65 6434 5286
Accorded the status for Best Restaurant by various publications since its establishment, Wah Lok has proven its status as a stalwart in the local dim sum scene, and is the go-to for many families in Singapore.
It is also home to Singapore’s best baked barbecue pork bun, a hot favourite with guests. Then there are other dishes not commonly seen in other dim sum menus: Steamed Crab Meat and Egg White Dumplings, Lobster Mee Sua and Deep-fried Century Egg wrapped with Minced Shrimps. Dim sum is only served during lunch, and many dishes are often sold out before lunch service ends, so the early birds are more likely to catch the proverbial worm in this case.
Carlton Hotel Singapore
76 Bras Basah Road
Tel: +65 6311 8188
Indulge on the weekends and public holidays at The St Regis Singapore’s Cantonese restaurant. Yan Ting’s impressive menu looks to satisfy with luxurious offerings like Wok-baked Boston lobster with XO sauce and Crystal Shrimp Dumpling with Black Truffle. Not to be missed are classics such as Pork and Century Egg Congee and Tofu Treasure Pocket filled with Seafood. Also on its menu: salmon sashimi, a variety of seafood rice and noodle dishes. Vegetarians are spoilt for choice too, as the restaurant offers a satisfying array of meat-free dim sum.
If egg tarts aren’t enough to satiate your sweet tooth, take your pick from seven Chinese desserts, including the Steamed Sponge Cake with Custard. Set menus ($80++, $128++ or $178++ per person) and brunches are also available.
The St. Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 6506 6887