Last Updated: January 7, 2015
Royal China at Raffles Hotel is one of the most reputed and long-standing brands in Singapore for dim sum. Located on the 3rd floor of Raffles Arcade, you’ll want to make reservations beforehand at this popular dim sum haunt.
High ceilings and clad with a baby blue close to Tiffany blue, the layout is classic Chinese with its imperial-court like pillars and motifs; but painted blue. The color choice lends a certain prestigious feel to an otherwise traditional layout.
Staff are overall pretty friendly, but as expected of a busy restaurant, they sometimes just don’t have the attention to detail for each table- It might take a bit of effort to summon a waiter.
Pork Belly ($12). I love my crispy pork bellies, and Royal China’s version tasted a bit compressed to me. Fatty meat pressed under the crispy skin, there’s good contrast of textures but was a bit thick to the bite.
Crispy Aromatic Duck ($28 for half). One of the signature dishes here, it’s a different spin on Peking duck using fried shredded duck meat wrapped in the rice paper roll. The dish arrives with each part unassembled and comes with their version of Hoisin sauce as well.
You can ask the staff to wrap them up for you, or request to wrap it yourself so you can really jam up the sweet sauce, and adjust the meat proportion. Or leave out the cucumber stick if you’re allergic to cucumbers.
XO chili carrot cake ($8.80). Very fragrant fried egg and carrot cake but chili heat seems to be a bit lacking. There’s more XO chili on the side though, so you can actually mix in more. Good bits of lup cheong and firm radish cakes.
Soup of the day- Watercress soup ($7). A very murky, concentrated broth boiled from fish bones to turn the soup milky. And tasty. Absolutely delicious and you can tell you’re in a good Cantonese restaurant by the soup.
Royal China Special Chee Cheung Fun ($5.60). Filled with char siew, prawns and scallop within, which is perfect for people like me who can’t decide what filling to get for their chee cheung fun. The rice roll layer is delicate yet holds its shape well and definitely delish. Could have used a bit more sauce though.
Egg Yolk Bun ($4.80). Royal China’s liu sha bao custard has mango mixed it as well, giving it some extra sweetness and dimension. Perfect custard consistency, giving that thick mouth feel I like. One of the best Liu sha bao’s I’ve had definitely.
BBQ Pork Bun ($4.80). Very aromatic char siew filling and you can taste the hua diao jiu (chinese cooking wine) used. Hand made skin with a blend of rough and smooth texture that really soaks up the char siew within.
Red Bean Pancake ($10). I didn’t like this rendition as the skin was rather thick and wasn’t crispy. Tastes very flour heavy, although the red bean paste was quite generous.
Pumpkin Puree with coconut Ice Cream ($9). The black paste you see is a dollop of glutinous rice. This is an excellent dessert choice- smooth, sweet, crunchy and slightly salty. Very complex in spite of such basic ingredients.
The restaurant seatings are pretty short and the timing I had was from 1.30pm -3pm, while last order is at 2.30pm. If you’re looking for a slower-paced dim sum venue on a weekend to chit chat with your fellow tai tai, you might want to check out other options.
The dim sum however is pretty good overall and lives up to the Royal China reputation. If you don’t order the crispy aromatic duck, prices are like any other nice dim sum restaurant range.
Related Guide: Best Dim Sums in Singapore History
Expected Damage: $20-$40 per pax