Last Updated: July 9, 2018
For the rare few who have never tried them, dim sum are small plates of beloved Cantonese snacks. There’s a vast array of these bite-sized delights to choose from — some savoury and steamed, others sweet and fried — making dim sum a real crowd-pleaser.
The only trouble with dim sum lies in their small portions. Each serving of dim sum commonly comes in a steamer basket of three to four pieces, meaning you might only get to eat one miserable piece of your favourite dim sum if you’re dining with a group. That’s a real travesty to me, as I alone can easily wipe off 15 dumplings in a sitting.
Thankfully, many dim sum restaurants have long recognized this problem and come up with an ingenious solution: dim sum buffets. For all the big-eaters, dim sum devotees and buffet-lovers out there, I’ve compiled a list of 14 best dim sum buffets in Singapore, because who doesn’t love a dumpling or two? … Or 50?
Do take note that this list only includes the buffets’ adult prices, and it usually costs less to bring your child.
Stepping into Ban Heng Pavilion Restaurant feels like you’re attending a Chinese wedding banquet, because of the size and grandeur of the dining hall. For just $22.80 on weekdays ($25.80++ on weekends and $27.80 on public holidays), you’ll have access to their All You Can Eat Dian Xin Lunch menu with more than 37 items to choose from.
I personally find their dim sum items alright, but Ban Heng’s allure lies in their affordable price and extensive spread. Definitely a quantity more than quality situation here. They do impose a four-person minimum requirement in order to have buffet, so make dim sum a whole-family affair and get a table.
Ban Heng Pavilion Restaurant: 1 Maritime Square, HarbourFront Centre, #04-01, Singapore 099253 |Tel: 6278 0288 / 6278 1354 | Buffet Timings: 11.30am – 2.30pm (Daily) | Other Outlets | Facebook | Website
At Hai Tien Lo, Master Chef Lai Tong Ping presents a Weekday Dim Sum Buffet priced at $58.80 per person. Nestled within Pan Pacific Singapore, you can expect a sophisticated dining experience with expertly hand-crafted dim sum items and a complimentary serving of Chilled Homemade Beancurd with Bird’s Nest to boot.
Do note, however, that Hai Tien Lo imposes restrictions (i.e. three choices per table/one serving of any two items per person) on three out of four categories in their buffet menu. Pragmatically, I understand these limitations. Still, I can’t help but feel slightly irritated.
Good ol’ Swatow Restaurant at Toa Payoh is a reliable place for dim sum. Located within walking distance to our office, I’ve been there on a few occasions to grab a bite and they didn’t disappoint. Their Dim Sum Hi-Tea Buffet ($19.80 on weekdays, $22.80 on weekends) is pretty good, and even includes one serving of Shark’s Fin Soup with Crab Meat per person.
Served on traditional pushcarts instead of via an order sheet, you gotta be quick to snap up your desired dishes before other diners do.
Situated in the enrichment-centre-riddled Thomson Plaza, Peach Garden is a popular family dining spot that serves quite a popular Weekend Hi-Tea Dim Sum Buffet ($23.80). They don’t have a particularly expansive selection of dim sum items, but there are are some interesting items to try. The flavourful Vinegar Pork Trotter is worth some stomach space, in my opinion.
If you fancy yourself an epicurean, then plain old dim sum won’t cut it for you. Yan Ting has the most extravagant Weekend Dim Sum Brunch buffet on this list, coming in at a cool $118++ ($188++ with complimentary flow of champagne, beer, wines and other beverages).
$118 is rather steep, but rest assured you’re paying for quality. This dim sum brunch boasts ultra luxe ingredients like Abalone, Black Truffle, Black Garlic and Boston Lobster, all of which contribute to the hefty price tag but taste so, so fine.
Yan Ting: 29 Tanglin Rd, St. Regis Hotel, Level 1U, Singapore 247911 | Tel: +65 6506 6887 | Buffet Timings: 11.30am – 2.30pm (Mon – Fri), 11.30am – 3pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays) | Website
For a fine-dining Chinese restaurant, I was surprised to find that Si Chuan Dou Hua serves a quality dim sum buffet at a relatively reasonable price. Si Chuan Dou Hua does justice to classics like the fragrant, savoury Pan-fried Carrot Cake and soft, sweet Char Siew Buns, but their newer items like Fragrant Yam Cake with Waxed Meat are also equally delicious.
I hear Si Chuan Dou Hua is currently running a nostalgic dim sum buffet promotion; you can now savour their buffet at just $118 for four people. There’s a compulsory charge of $5 per person for tea and pickles though, so do take note.
Cherry Garden, I will say, is a cut above their Peach counterpart in terms of the quality of their food. This is made quite evident by the plethora of premium offerings in their Weekend Dim Sum Brunch ($68++)spread such as double-boiled Cantonese soups, Honey Glazed Kurobuta Pork Char Siew and Wafer-Wrapped Cod Fillet with Black Pepper and of course, as well as the disparity in prices.
Cherry Garden is also rather unique because its dim sum buffet comes with one-of-a-kind desserts. Have you seen Cherries in Wine Cocktail Jelly with Refreshing Lychee Sorbet on the menu anywhere else?
Located quite deep in Keppel Club, Peony Jade offers a lesser known gem of a Weekday & Weekend Dim Sum Buffet Lunch ($38++). The buffet is real value-for-money with freshly made items like Deep-Fried Prawn in Creamy Yolk, Fried Banana Fritters and even Roasted Duck. Do note you need a minimum of four pax for the buffet.
I’d recommend their dim sum buffet to people living or working near the Telok Blangah area and are looking for a good quality dim sum meal, but you should definitely drive there because the walk in was no fun at all.
The dignified Goodwood Park Hotel’s Coffee Lounge is the ideal location for an elegant dim sum meal. They serves a variety of exquisite dim sum, which they have recently combined with their afternoon tea menu to produce the Local High Tea ($39++)on Fridays and weekends. Expect classic dim sum fare like the Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gau) and Chicken Siew Mai, as well as mainstays like DIY Kueh Pie Tee and Chicken Curry.
This is better news for hungry folk, who can now have an even greater spread of items to choose from, all for the price of $39++, which is what other restaurants charge for just dim sum alone.
Alright, don’t let the ‘Seafood’ in Tung Lok Seafood throw you off the dim sum scent here. Tung Lok may specialise in cooking seafood, but that hasn’t stopped them from crafting excellent dumplings and delicate pastries.
I find it all the better that the restaurant has plenty of fresh seafood around, because it goes into creating quality dim sum items like the Royal Shrimp Dumpling, Fresh Salmon Sashimi and Fish Maw Broth with Four Treasures. At $26.80++ per person, this Ala Carte Dim Sum Lunch Buffet seems reasonably priced to me, although, like some other establishments, they require a four-person minimum attendance.
Tung Lok Seafood: 511 Upper Jurong Road, The Arena Country Club, Singapore 638366 (Opposite SAFTI Military Institute) | Tel: +65 6262 69961 | Buffet Timings: 11am – 3pm (Mon – Fri) | Facebook | Website
Overlooking Marina Bay, The Clifford Pier boasts not only a beautiful view, but also a location rich with historical significance, being the landing point of Singapore’s first immigrants. In line with preserving the hawker culture once bustling along the pier, The Clifford Pier presents local flavours that represent Singapore’s diverse cultures, and it just so happens that dim sum is one of its highlights, and a good one at that.
The Heritage Dim Sum Brunch ($49++)is a nostalgic dining experience, with authentic dishes and elaborate furnishings to recreate the bygone era. I’d recommend The Clifford Pier if you’d like a memorable dim sum meal. The menu is neither expansive or life-changing so you’d essentially be paying slightly more for the overall atmosphere and experience but it is, admittedly, quite lovely.