Honestly speaking, I cannot name ONE best place to have dim sum, because each place has its own strengths. There is no restaurant which surpasses all others in every single item. So for this post, I shall list various types of dim sum and the best place to have them!
Chee Cheong Fun
Wen Dao Shi
I used to dislike chee cheong fun because it is simply kuay teow to me (yes I do not eat kuay teow or other white noodles) but this one totally changed my perception. The gravy was thick and vicious rather than the runny soya sauce type. If I were to dine here I would probably just order 3 plates of this for myself! I will scrape away the fried shallots as I do not like them.
The one with dough fritter filling ($8.80++) is worth a mention. Somehow the combination was unforgettable.
This one wins hands down! Their custard and their bun both excels. Other places I’ve tried excels in just 1 area. The bun here doesn’t stick to the paper, and the texture is soft and fluffy, rather than dry and tough. ($4.50++/3)
This one’s a clear winner. I have no tasted better egg tarts in Singapore. The custard and the pastry are both perfect. It’s hard to make such good pastries. To be fair, I kind of liked the pastry from Crystal Jade at Holland Village too, but their custard was terrible. Do note that not all imperial treasure restaurants have the same standard for egg tarts. The ones at ION are awful because their pastries had sick oily taste and was tough, and I tried it on 2 occasions probably a year apart. ($3.00++/3)
They serve good egg tarts too. One is simply not enough. However, I have Imperial Treasure’s more often than this so I can’t really compare side by side which is better. ($4.80++/3)
Do try to come early during meal hours rather than 2pm or 8pm because the pork would have gone cold and roast pork should not be reheated. The one from Imperial Treasure is really the best I have ever tried. The skin was crackling to perfection and the proportion of meat to skin is just right. It is different from those coffee shop ones, for those who have never tried restaurant standard roast pork before. I highly recommend it. I have yet to try another restaurant’s roast pork which comes close. ($9.00++)
This is an unfair rating, since I did not try this elsewhere, but this is one of the better tofu dishes I’ve had, coming from someone who dislikes tofu. It is fried to perfection without sick oily taste, and the centre is smooth and soft. ($3.50+ /6)
I had this once and it was unforgettable since. In fact, I’ve been wanting to return to have this, rather than for the xiao long bao! This goes at 3 for $3.00++.
Not being able to have Paradise Dynasty’s, I settled for Swee Choon’s and it was not bad at all! It’s 2 for $1.80+.
Xiao Long Bao
These are the best in Singapore. The skin, broth and filling are all perfect! If you are into novelty, you can try their various flavours. For the adventurous, you can try a basket of assorted flavours for $13.80++.
These are very good too, except that it is somehow wrinkly and ugly looking, which is why I rank it below Paradise Dynasty’s. This cost $4.00++ and they have it at other Imperial Outlets as well, similar standards, at varying prices.
Char Siew Soh
I wasn’t a fan of such item but since I’ve heard raves about this one I decided to try – and I got hooked! Everything is perfection. Just give it a try with an open mind, even if you were not a fan. ($4.00++/3)
This version is almost as good, but somehow the one at Royal China was better. To be honest, the infamous Crystal Jade makes good Char Siew Soh pastry too, but their filling was kind of inferior. ($3.90++/3)
Fried Beancurd Skin
Wen Dao Shi
For this dim sum I like to have more skin to filling, as it’s all about the skin here. This one does it right!
If you don’t mind paying a premium for this simple dish you can try it at Royal China. It is better than Wen Dao Shi’s, but not MUCH better. ($4.80++/3)
Baked Char Siew Bao
Only one man does it perfect – Chef Mak, whose eatery in Hong Kong has been Michellin starred. I got to try this at Feng Shui Inn when he was in Singapore as a Guest Chef last year. I instantly fell in love with this! I’ve tried it at other restaurants but they simply cannot make it.
Prawn and Mango Roll
Again, you won’t really get to try this in Singapore but since I did have it in Singapore, I shall still list this. It looks like popiah but it’s not! This was one of its kind! The pastry was so light and crispy and not thick and hard like most fried popiah you get. At the same time, it wasn’t too oily (no.1 thing on my checklist as I hate sick oily chinese food taste). The mango oozed out upon the first bite, and it was of perfect ripeness. The prawns were chewy and present in a generous amount. I tried ordering this at other local restaurants but they simply cannot make it too!
Siew Mai and Ha Kau
This is hard for me to judge because they somewhat tastes the same at any competent restaurant. However, after being used to good dim sum from Taste Paradise and Imperial Treasure, I kind of forgot what lousy ones were supposed to taste like until I had one – and I am really convinced that there’s such thing as much better siew mai and ha kau. Generally, they are better at the higher end restaurants, and not so good at low end eateries like Wen Dao Shi and Swee Choon. So do try any of the above I mentioned. If I had to pick just ONE best, for Ha Kau it would be Chef Mak’s, but you would have to go to Hong Kong to get it.