food

Best Dim Sums In Singapore History: The Ultimate Guide

Last Updated: July 1, 2017

Written by Seth Lui

best dim sum in singapore history

Drawings by Ellen Wishart, Arrangement by Seth Lui

Dim Sum has always been a traditional comfort food in Singapore, owing to many early migrants bringing this wonderful cuisine to our little island from Hong Kong. Through the decades, Singapore has also evolved the Dim Sum culture to include different styles like Shanghainese and Sze Chuan dishes, as well as our own local touch.

Singaporeans love dim sum and I felt a need to research, taste and develop a comprehensive guide to the best dim sums in Singapore ever seen, due to the massive number of people looking for good dim sum. It was also the perfect excuse to stuff myself senseless with Liu Sha Bao (流沙包).

Many restaurants only serve dim sum in the morning till mid afternoon, then switch to a different dinner menu. Look out for the dim sum hours available so you don’t miss it!

Bests of Value-for-Money Dim Sum

Highlighting the best value for money dim sum, these are the dim sum restaurants I feel were extremely worth the money I paid. This category doesn’t mean these restaurants are cheap, but that they give maximum tummy happiness for every dollar spent.

Hua Ting Restaurant 華廳

best dim sum singapore Hua ting

Helmed by Masterchef Lap Fai who was crowned Asian Cuisine Chef of the Year 2012 at the World Gourmet Series Awards, Hua Ting is an excellent choice for mid-high range dim sum. Among all my tastings, I would have to say Hua Ting has the best overall dim sum– every single dish I tried here was delectably impressive. Typically packed, you have to make reservations at the restaurant 2 days beforehand.

The baked mango with chicken tart ($4.50) and double boiled Cantonese Soups are delicious favorites. The liu sha bao (salted yolk lava buns, $4.20) is thick, creamy with a hint of salty graininess and with smooth skin. Even the special-of-the-day vegetarian dim sum (made with mushrooms and Chinese wine $4.20) was good, given that I don’t usually order vegetarian dishes (personal preference). Ask for their homemade chunky XO chilli sauce to go with your dim sum as well, you won’t regret it.

Dim Sum Price: $35/pax

Address: 442 Orchard Rd, Level 2 Orchard Hotel, Singapore 238879 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Mon – Fri: 11.30 – 14.30 | Sat- Sun: 11.00 – 14.30

Tim Ho Wan Singapore 添好运

best dim sum singapore tim ho wan

The latest Hong Kong dim sum craze to hit Singapore, Tim Ho Wan is the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant you will find on this planet. And they serve top grade dim sum at very reasonable prices with a limited menu. There are currently 5 branches as of this writing.

When Tim Ho Wan just started in Singapore, the queue was insane. Now with their rapid expansion of stalls, it’s not as bad as before. New branches include one at Westgate Mall, Bedok mall and a 24 hour outlet at Aperia Kallang.

Dim Sum Price: $20/pax

Address: 450 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #02-02, ERA Centre, Singapore 319394 | Website

Dim Sum hours: Mon – Fri: 10:00 – 22:00 | Sat, Sun & PH: 09:00 – 22:00

Peach Garden 桃苑

dim sum Peach Garden Fried liu sha bao

The very first Peach Garden opened in Novena Garden in 2002 as a place for connoisseurs of Cantonese cuisine to gather. Since then, their success has led to multiple outlets opening around Singapore.

Peach Garden is modern chic and uses a mix of Asian cuisines including Thai style. A very apt place for business and family dinners, Peach Garden is clean and appealing for the masses. The fried Liu Sha Bao, roasted pork belly and XO chilli carrot cake are things to try.

There’s also a very affordable high-tea dim sum buffet at $20.80++ on weekends, 3pm-5pm, which is extremely value for money. Service here is attentive and very conscientious.

Dim Sum Price: $27/pax

Address: #01-88, 301 Upper Thomson Road, Thompson Plaza, Singapore 574408 | Website

Dim Sum Hours:  Sat, Sun, PH: 11:00 – 14:30 | High tea buffet: Sat, Sun, PH: 15:00 – 17:00

Bests of No Frills Hawker Dim Sum

Even though I said no frills, some of these roadside hawker places have started charging for small items like appetizers and napkins so do take note. However, the average price per person will definitely still be less than $20.

Swee Choon 瑞春

Swee Choon Mee Suah kueh

One of Singapore’s oldest and most successful road side dim sum place, although Swee Choon has raised prices, the dim sum is still very affordable. The beautiful thing about Swee Choon is that they only open at night, which makes it a popular spot for young, midnight supper goers.

Most of the dim sum is above average, while the fried Swee Choon Mee Suah Kueh is quite interesting. Take note of the appetizer and napkin charges. And the old hookers that occasionally appear near Jalan Besar.

Dim Sum Price: $14/pax

Address: 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882 | Website

Dim Sum hours: Wed – Mon: 18:00 – 06:00 | Closed on Tuesdays

126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi  搵到食

126 dim sum wen dao shi pork bun

Wen Dao Shi (or 126 Wan Dou Sek in Cantonese) is a place I’ve visited for years. The dishes are all really affordable, with one of the largest range of fried dim sum I’ve seen. This places is open 24 hrs like a boss.

The setting here is like a 1980s Hong Kong stall. Although not a Dim Sum, the Thai-style Crab Bee Hoon they serve here is just amazing and flavourful at only $15! Best value for money crab bee hoon in Singapore.

Dim Sum Price: $14/pax

Address: 26 Sims Avenue, Singapore 387407 | Phone: 67464757

Dim sum hours: They never close, ever. Opens 24 hours.

Victor’s Kitchen

best dim sum singapore victor's kitchen

The most expensive out of the hawker dim sums, Victor’s Kitchen used to be in the category of ‘value-for-money’ but has since raised prices after getting popular. They compensate for this by giving larger sized dim sum, as well as adding a bit of twist like the wet XO sauce carrot cake. Lunch and dinner times get really packed like sardines, so either make a booking or come during off-peak hours.

Dim Sum Price: $17/pax

Address: 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza, #01-21, Singapore 189652 | Phone 9838 2851

Dim Sum Hours: Tue – Sun: 10:30 – 20:00 | Closed: Mon

Tak Po 德宝 

dim sum singapore tak po

Tak Po is a casual and unpretentious dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, which can also translate to: don’t expect good service here. It’s one of few dim sum establishments that will allow you to order dim sum as individual pieces instead of the usual basket of threes of fours. Good for bigger and smaller groups.

Although not amazing, the dim sum is convenient and pretty affordable. Try the soya drenched chicken feet ($2.80), lightly fried crispy yam dumpling ($0.90 for one) and char siew bao ($0.90 for one).

Dim Sum Price: $15/pax

Address: 42 Smith Street, Singapore 058954 | Phone 62250302

Dim Sum Hours: Daily 7:00 – 22.30

Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum 一点心

yi-dian-xin-dim-sum-singapore

Yi Dian Xin is no doubt, the epitome of no frills, fuss-free and cheap hawker dim sum. Located along the popular midnight supper spot of Upper Serangoon, it is easy to miss this little corner shop with massive crowds for teo chew mui Porridge right beside them. Still, things get a bit messy on a Sunday afternoon as its reputation starts to spread.

Chef Foong hails from  Tung Lok restaurant originally but has decided to start his own little stall in Upper Serangoon. Try the signature salted egg custard bun ($3) and Yi Dian Xin prawn dumpling ($3) which are extremely worth their price for this standard of quality.

Dim Sum Price: $11/pax

Address: 1012 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534752 | Phone 91685587

Dim Sum Hours: Daily 7:00 – 18:00 | Closed: Alt. Tues

Related Guide: Affordable Romantic Restaurants in Singapore

Bests of Premium Tai Tai Dim Sum

The atas (up-scale) expensive stuff. These hotel restaurants require deep pockets or are usually for that special occasion. Good food with excellent ambience and service, you get what you pay for.

Yan Ting Restaurant 宴庭

best dim sum singapore buffet yan ting

Yan Ting has probably in my opinion, the best Dim Sum brunch in Singapore if you ignore the last act of taking money out of your wallet. The interior is also amazingly modern yet retaining a distinctive Chinese fine-dining style. However, to have dim sum at this prestigious restaurant comes with a hefty price tag of $98++ for the non-alcoholic weekend a la carte brunch buffet, which has dim sum as well as other Cantonese dishes.

Definitely not something you have everyday, and 3 times more expensive than other dim sum restaurants. Yan Ting is the place to go if you happen to be in the money printing business. Or your husband happens to be Li Ka Shing. Opt for the morning seating, as its less crowded and dishes won’t run out as fast.

Dim Sum Brunch Price: $114/pax after tax

Address: 29 Tanglin Rd, St.Regis Hotel (Level 1U), Singapore 247911 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Sat – Sun: 10:30 – 12:30 | 13:00 – 15:00 (Split shift)

Man Fu Yuan 满福苑

man fu yuan dumpling

The 2nd most expensive dim sum buffet, Man Fu Yuan’s dim sum brunch is available daily at $88++ per person. Decorated with butterfly lamps and peony flowers all around, this restaurant exudes a nostalgic yet classy atmosphere.

Serving handcrafted premium dim sum, having brunch here is a surefire way to feel chi-chi and atas. Mango prawn roll with wasabi ($5 for 3) has wonderfully fried skin with that wasabi punch, while the juicy Dumpling with foie gras ($5 for 3) combines Eastern and Western ingredients to birth this magnificent dim sum.

Dim Sum Brunch Price: $102.90/pax after tax

Address: 80 Middle Rd, Intercontinental Hotel (2nd floor), Singapore 188966 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Mon – Sun: 11.45 – 2.30pm

Cherry Garden 櫻桃

Best dim sum singapore buffet cherry garden

Cherry Garden brings the realism of an ancient Chinese courtyard to the next level by having an actual antique wooden doorway you have to step through. Designed with Feng Shui in mind, this restaurant is truly a journey to the orient.

The dim sum selection here is mostly traditional, but has a few new touches like the Escargot puff pastry ($5.80). But what Cherry Garden excels in is using fresh and premium ingredients to make the standard dim sum even more outstanding. The Glazed Kurobuta Pork Char Siew Pau ($5.80) is probably the best char siew pau I’ve had. The weekend dim sum buffet will set you back $68++ per person.

Dim Sum brunch price: $79.50/pax after tax

Address: 6 Raffles Blvd, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Level 5), Singapore 039797 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: 11.00–13:00, 13.30 – 15.30 (Weekend dim sum brunch)

Hai Tien Lo 海天楼

hai tien lo berkshire pork bun

The Hai Tien Lo Weekend Dim Sum brunch buffet ($68++) comes with one premium buddha jumps over the wall soup as well as one braised abalone per person. The widespread menu also sees many Teo Chew influenced dishes in the dim sum brunch, like the steamed promfret with blended chilli paste. The quick-fried Hokkaido scallops are freshly sweet, while the double boiled chicken soup is just full of flavor yet light in nature.

The Weekday Dim Sum Lunch buffet ($48++)  has a smaller spread but costs less while still allowing you to enjoy Hai Tien Lo’s grand and lavish dining hall with many elements of the traditional wavy motif you’ll find at the Emperor’s palace.

Dim Sum brunch price: $79.50/pax after tax

Address: 7 Raffles Boulevard, Pan Pacific Hotel (Level 3), Singapore 039595 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Sat & Sun: 11.30 – 14.00 (Weekend dim sum brunch)

Related Guide: Best Steaks You can Find in Singapore

Bests of Casual Restaurant Dim Sum

The more casual dining places where you can enjoy good dim sum and not have to breath in smoke, prices are higher than your hawker dim sums but with much higher service standards and consistency. Recommend making reservations in advance for all these restaurants to avoid dimsumppointment.

Royal China at Raffles 皇朝

dim sum royal china singapore pork belly

Royal China has always been reputed to serve excellent dim sum in an up-scale hotel setting, yet is quite reasonably priced. They however seem to suffer from inconsistent standards from time to time, and each seating tends to be quite short- 1hr 15 mins to order.

Superb thick and flowy Liu Sha Bao sweetened with some mango in the custard. XO Chilli here is recommended too. Make advanced booking as this place is popular and gets booked up. Other Chinese dishes are good too, like the Aromatic Crispy Duck, but are going to cost a lot more than the dim sum.

Dim Sum Price: $28/pax

Address: 1 Beach Rd, #03-09, Raffles Hotel Arcade, Singapore 189673 | Phone 6338 3363

Dim Sum hours: Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 15:00, Sun & PH: 11:00 – 15:00

Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine

best dim sum imperial treasure

Concentrating mainly on authenticity, Imperial Treasure serves wonderfully crafted dim sum prepared by their Hong Kong chefs. The quality is also very consistent no matter how many times you come.

The many branches of Imperial Treasure have good dim sum too, like Nan Bei or Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao, but I feel for the best selection of dim sum it’s still at Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine. The dim sum dishes with fresh prawn are crunchy and delicious, like the prawn rice roll ($5.50) and siew mai ($4.80), while the banana roll with bean paste ($3.60) is something you don’t see that often.

Dim Sum Price: $35/pax

Address: 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #02-05A/6, Great World City, Singapore 237994 (Another branch at Changi Airport, Crowne Plaza) | Website

 Dim Sum hours: Mon – Sun: 10.30 – 15.00pm

East Ocean Teo Chew Restaurant 东海潮洲酒家

best dim sum singapore east ocean duck

A restaurant serving innovative Hong Kong Style Teochew cuisine, East Ocean has become much more accessible since moving to Ngee Ann City in 2012.

Hands down, the best crispy roasted pork belly ($15) I’ve had in Singapore was at East Ocean Teochew restaurant. The Liu Sha Bao was also amazing- thick flowiness and not overly eggy in taste. They also serve intricate animal-shaped dim sum dishes that are almost too cute to eat.

The honey char siew ($10.50) is also not overly sweetly marinated and still retains a meaty pork flavor.

Dim Sum Price: $30/pax

Address: 391 Orchard Road, #05-08/09, Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Mon – Fri: 11.00 – 15.00 | Sat, Sun, PH: 10.00 – 15.00

Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant 华乐酒楼

best dim sum singapore wah lok dim sum

With a long history of awards, Wah Lok has always been reputed to be one of Singapore’s best dim sum restaurants. Serving traditional Cantonese dim sum, this is one of the few places you can find Hong Kong style steamed carrot cake ($4).

You can order the dim sum portions here according to how many people there are, and not one fixed basket size. Prices are slightly more steep at Wah Lok than regular casual Cantonese restaurants, but the quality is worth it. Try the steamed crab and egg white dumpling ($6) and baked custard buns ($4.40) for something familiar, yet done differently in style.

Dim Sum Price: $35/pax

Address: 76 Bras Basah Rd, Carlton Hotel (Level 2), Singapore 189558 | Website

Dim Sum hours: Mon – Sat: 11:30 – 14.30pm | Sunday: 11.00 – 14.30

Mouth Restaurant 地茂馆

mouth restaurant 6 color prawn dumpling har gao

After a menu revamp, Mouth restaurant now has many creative dishes like the 6 coloured har gao and squid ink Char Siew Bao. Get the famous baked crust Custard bun, which is like Tim Ho Wan’s pork bun, but with salted egg custard filling. Very nice combination.

A lot of reinterpretations of classic dim sum items that looks quite daunting to try, Mouth restaurant is affordable and has visually pleasing dim sum, although it looks better than it tastes. Certain dim sum items like the Squid Ink Char Siew Bao are not sold during dinner.

Dim Sum Price: $28/pax

Address: #01-61, China Square Central , 22 Cross Street, Singapore 048421 | Website

Dim Sum hours: Mon – Fri: 11:30 – 15:00 | Sat, Sun & PH: 10:00 – 15:30 | Daily: 18:00 – 22:00

Related Guide: 15 Dim Sum Buffets in Singapore For You To Eat Until You’re Bao

Bests of A la carte buffet Dim Sum

Who doesn’t like to stuff their faces with streams dim sum? I know I do. Here’s where you can have dim sum buffets in Singapore with good variety and quality.

Jade 玉楼

best dim sum singapore jade fullerton

At $38++ per person, Jade’s dim sum buffet is a mid range brunch pricing, but worth every dollar. One time order items include the sumptuous, savoury Superior Bird’s Nest Soup with Truffle, a Shark’s Fin soup replacement, that has generous amounts of crab meat with that truffle after-taste.

The fried/baked items at Jade are really good, like the Char Siew Sou and Fried Carrot Cake which have crispy yet non-greasy crusts. Extremely well-trained and attentive staff, this is one of the best balanced dim sum buffet.

Dim Sum Price: $44/pax after tax

Address: 1 Fullerton Square, Fullerton Hotel (Ground floor), Singapore 049178 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Sat – Sun: 11:00-12:45 | 13:15 – 15:00 (Split shift)

Yum Cha Restaurant

yum cha - roasts

This Chinatown stalwart serves a $21.80++ weekday dim sum high tea buffet from 3pm – 6pm. Yes, it’s that specific. Probably aimed at getting people in during this lull time, Yum Cha gets quite crowded over the weekends during breakfast and lunch hours.

There are over 60 items of a la carte items to choose from like the shark’s fin dumpling ($4) and  pumpkin yam golden cake ($4.20), we also recommend the garlic soft shell crab ($8.80) which is crispy and well infused with garlic notes.

This is a casual, unpretentious place with good old fashion dim sum carts, marble tables and wooden chairs. However, service gets a bit slow when there’s too many people, and dishes tend to take a while to be served.

Buffet Price: $25.70/pax after tax

Address: 20 Trengganu Street, #02-01, Singapore 058479 | Website

Dim sum hours: Mon – Fri: 15.00 – 18.00 (weekday dim sum high tea)

Peony Jade Restaurant  (Keppel)

best dim sum singapore peony jade

A Sze-chuan and Cantonese cuisine restaurant, Peony Jade features high ceilings, quaint red lanterns and decent dim sum. At $26.80++, Peony Jade Keppel’s dim sum pushcart buffet is quite worth it. Peony Jade’s mini pandan liu sha bao as well as the banana mango fritter are worth trying. The buffet also comes with 1 off Shark’s Fin soup and Salmon Sashimi as appetizers.

If you have a car and want some good value dim sum buffet, Peony Jade is a good candidate to consider. Do note that the Clark Quay branch does not serve Dim Sum buffet, and it is only available at the Keppel branch.

Buffet Price: $31/pax after tax

Address: 10 Bukit Chermin Road, Keppel Club, Singapore 109918 | Website

Dim sum hours: Weekdays: 11.00 – 14:30 (weekend lunch serves a la carte dim sum)

Related Guide: Longest Queue Restaurants in Singapore

Bests of Classic Old School Dim Sum

Each restaurant listed here has at least 30 years of history with many of their dim sum recipes remaining the same for decades. The ambience and feeling are all very nostalgic especially if you are a Gen X-er, you will definitely appreciate this. For me I can still remember going to weddings at these restaurants when I was a boy. Youngsters should check it out to have a feel of tradition.

Red Star Restaurant 红星酒家 | Dragon Phoenix Restaurant 龍鳳大飯店

best dim sum red star

Red Star and Dragon Phoenix are run by remaining chefs of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantonese Cuisine that gained fame and multiple culinary awards in the 70s. They were all disciples of grandmaster Chef Luo Chen at Cathay Restaurant in the 50s, considered to be the most prestigious Chinese restaurant at the time. They are also credited with inventing the famous Singapore dishes we eat so regularly today: Chilli Crab, Yam Ring and Yu Sheng.

These 2 restaurants have similar standards and still employ traditional cart-pushing dim sum ladies like in Hong Kong. The restaurant layout and recipes have remained unchanged for more than 40 years, giving a very deep impression of nostalgia.

Dim Sum Price: $25/pax

Red Star Address: 54 Chin Swee Rd, #07-23, Singapore 160054 | Phone: 65325266

Dim Sum hours: Daily: 7.00 – 15.00 (Earliest opening dim sum restaurant)

Dragon Phoenix Address:  177A River Valley Rd, #06-00, Novotel Clark Quay, Singapore 179031 | Website

Dim sum hours: Mon – Fri: 11.00 – 15.00 | Sat – Sun: 10.00 – 16.00

Summer Palace 夏宫

 best dim sum summer palace singapore

The first restaurant in Regent Hotel, Summer Palace’s 50 seater décor reminiscences nostalgia and is a showcase of traditional Chinese restaurants with wooden fixtures and prosperous red highlights.

An immensely popular pick for traditional Chinese wedding dinners, Summer Palace also makes an excellent business lunch venue if you want to let your client sample Chinese Canton cuisine. Excellent service as to be expected of a hotel restaurant. Expect items like the prawn dumpling with spinach infused skin, bbq pork bun and bird’s nest dumpling as part of the set.

Dim Sum price: $25/pax

Address: 3 Cuscaden Rd, The Regent Hotel, Singapore 249728 |Website

Dim Sum hours: Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 14:30 (lunch only)

Asia Grand Restaurant 亚洲金阁海鲜酒家

dim sum asia grand singapore

Winner of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs medallion, Asia Grand has one of the better service standards out of all the classic restaurants here (other than Summer Palace). They have also updated their decor, and have traditional dim sums as well as simple yet new combinations like their steamed cheong-fun with shredded chicken and preserved eg ($5.80), which we think you will either love or hate; there’s no in between. The braised duck’s web with peanut ($4.80) also reminds me deeply of Hong Kong street food.

The dim sum is popular and constantly quite crowded on the weekends from 9am-2pm. Tip: You must try the peking duck ($38) here, one of the best in Singapore.

Dim Sum Price: $28/pax

Address: #01-02, 331 North Bridge Road, Odeon Towers, Singapore 188720 | Website

Dim Sum Hours: Mon – Sat: 11:30 – 14:30 | Sun & PH: 10:00 – 14:30

Spring Court 詠春園

best dim sum singapore spring court

The oldest surviving Chinese restaurant in Singapore, the Spring Court brand has been around since 1929 before many of us were even born! Strictly speaking, the current restaurant is pretty new having moved several times, but the dim sum is classic. Now onto their 3rd generation of family management, this restaurant is constantly evolving and adapting to modern times, a sign of survival into the future to continue serving us dim sum goodness.

Spring Court is a massive 4 story shop-house with an elevator catering for families and business VIPs alike. The homemade Popiah and Spicy Wanton 红油炒手 are fiery hot, but burns oh so good. The spiciness makes my ears tingle when I eat it, but it’s just delicious and full of flavour.

Dim Sum price: $25/pax

Address: 52-56 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058348 | Website

Dim sum Hours: Daily: 11.00 – 15.00

Related Guide: Famous Local Foods To try in Singapore before you die

———————————————–
*Editor End Notes*

Did I miss any notable Dim sum places? Let me know and I’ll check it out. It took me over 3 months to finish this guide, which will be an ever-changing one to be updated if restaurant standards have dropped, or a new favorite appears.

As with all my guides, the term ‘best’ is subjective and based on my personal opinion after drowning myself in endless baskets of Dim Sum in Singapore. Many of the restaurants have different branches and standards may vary.

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