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The best dim sum in Singapore

From old-school joints to modern restaurants experimenting with new flavours, here’s where you can find the best dim sum in the city

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By Nicole-Marie Ng |
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Har gow, siew mai, char siu bao – these are just some of the standards that every good dim sum restaurants should be able to perfect. But beyond that, what makes a great dim sum restaurant is its variety of offerings, creativity and service – because this isn't Hong Kong and we don't have to tolerate rude aunties shouting at us in order to get good food. Here's where to go for your next gathering when everyone's hankering for some yum cha.

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Auntie's Wok and Steam

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

When you’re out exploring in the city, you’ll need to recharge with a mighty meal. Make a stop at Auntie’s Wok And Steam on the 25th floor at Andaz Singapore where a weekend dim sum buffet welcomes you. Prices start from $35 and you can tuck into streaming baskets of scallop siew mai, wagyu beef mantou sliders, har gow, xiao long bao and the fried treats like prawn rolls, spring rolls and yam and chicken puffs. For something more wholesome, tuck into soups and congee also available at the buffet. Remember to slow down once in a while to take in the views before going in for seconds.

Bars and pubs

Sum Yi Tai

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

By night it is a buzzy hotspot for intimate meet-ups and sipping cocktails but come by in the day and a dim sum menu opens up for the CBD lunch crowd. Dig in steaming baskets of har gow, otah siew mai, carrot cake and more before heading back to the office with a food coma. Prices for a basket start from $4.80, making it a very affordable lunch option. 

Time Out says
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Restaurants, Chinese

Jade

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

It’s probably the prettiest place in the city for dim sum. Take in picturesque views from Jade’s floor-to-ceiling windows, or be entranced by its recently refurbished interiors featuring pastel jade hues and specially commissioned wallpaper printed with birds native to Singapore. Its dim sum set lunch is priced at $58 but come during the weekend for a more extensive selection of Jade's dim sum treasures. Available as part of a set or à la carte. expect staples such as siew mai with abalone and shrimp dumplings, as well as unique creations like deep fried taro paste wrapped in truffle and mushroom. Don’t miss chef Leong Chee Yeng’s signature osmanthus char siew bao, either – the fluffy steamed buns are meaty and bear a hint of floral fragrance that perfumes each bite. 

Restaurants

VLV

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

Housed in a historic building erected in the 1880s, VLV is the place to wine and dine just as a tai tai from that era would: in style. The restaurant transforms during the weekends for its brunch buffet ($58), with nine live stations serving dishes like Peking duck and pan-fried oysters with egg alongside a selection of dim sum and other made-to-order dishes from the kitchen. 

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Restaurants, Chinese

Swee Choon

icon-location-pin Rochor

Don’t be surprised to find a queue well into the early hours for a seat at Swee Choon Tim Sum. The 50-year-old establishment that's a hit with a younger, post-clubbing and night owl set occupies five ground-floor shophouses to keep up with the demand for their signature mee-suan kueh ($1/two), Portuguese egg tarts ($1.50/two) and custard-rich liu sha bao ($3.60/three).

Restaurants, Chinese

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant

icon-location-pin Orchard

With striking black and gold walls, booth seats that look like giant jewel boxes, and framed pieces of artistic calligraphy at every turn, Wan Hao’s posh interiors make the perfect backdrop for its refined Cantonese dishes and dim sum. Available à la carte during weekday lunch and as a part of its weekend buffet ($68), the dim sum ranges from favourites like steamed shrimp dumpling with black truffle and cordyceps flower to deep fried taro dumplings with abalone and scallop. Chef Brian Wong Shiuh Yean also makes an effort to reduce the amount of sugar, oil and salt used, so you won’t have to worry about overindulging.

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Restaurants, Cantonese

Mitzo

icon-location-pin Orchard

Mitzo serves modern Cantonese dishes with a touch of class, as evidenced by its swanky neon glass panels and jazzy cocktail bar. Pop in for a dim sum set lunch ($28), a three-course meal featuring over ten types of handcrafted dim sum, a double-boiled soup of the day, and dessert. For those who prefer a heartier lunch, the four-course option includes a bowl of braised vermicelli with lobster claw and prawn ball. Alternatively, get the full yum cha experience and all-you-can-drink cocktails, champagne, wines and beer during Mitzo’s weekend brunch ($68 for food, additional $60 for drinks). With over 40 types of dumplings available on top of the other dishes fresh from the wok, you’ll be giddy from this doozy of dumplings and booze. 

Restaurants

Victor’s Kitchen

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Touting to have the best custard buns in Singapore, Victor’s Kitchen is the spot to hit for simple dim sum that won’t break the bank. The barebones interior is reminiscent of a cha chaan teng in Hong Kong, where you’re expected to share a table and rub shoulders with your fellow diners. The dim sum makes the queue and fuss worth it, though – especially when you order Victor’s king prawn dumplings ($5.20) and scallop and sausage carrot cake with XO sauce ($4.80). As for its famed liu sha bao ($4.80), we find them too sweet and oily to be considered the best in Singapore, so you’re better off saving room for something else on the menu. 

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Restaurants

Red Star Restaurant

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Even though it might not dish out the best dumplings in town, Redstar is absolutely worth it. It’s one of the few dim sum spots in town with the authentic pushcart experience and, to match, decor plucked straight out of the ’60s. Aunties flock to your table hawking baskets filled with liu sha bao ($4.70) and xiao long bao ($4.50), then stamping your card to track your orders. And ordering way too much is part of the experience here, so check your self-control at the door. Other reliable favourites include char siew sou ($4.50) and oversized har gao ($4.50) stuffed with whole shrimp.

Restaurants, Chinese

Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine

icon-location-pin Marina Bay

With 14 outlets across the island, Imperial Treasure is a dependable brand you can count on to deliver quality dim sum. Dine at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine and you'll be treated to views of the glittering casino floor and private rooms that look out to the Marina Bay. Try the restaurant's signature chilled bamboo clam in chilli sauce with black fungus ($20), a spicy Northern Chinese appetiser that will reawaken the taste buds alongside its other dim sum options like carrot cake when you come for weekend brunch. Want dim sum all week long? Hit up the group's casual concept, Treasures Yi Dian Xin instead.

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