Delightful Dim Sum Dining

Delightful Dim Sum Dining

Who doesn’t like dim sum? I sure do, which is why here’s a dedicated list of dim sum dining areas for you to explore! Remember these three golden rules when picking your spots: Quality of ingredients, quality of make, and size-affordability ratio — and you’re good to go!
Mystickal / Melly W
Mystickal / Melly W

[ Food Week — Heritage Restaurants ] Some of you may already be familiar with Red Star — either from their extensive history as one of Singapore oldest and more premiere heritage restaurants, or during the recent news coverage of heritage restaurants struggling during this pandemic.

I'm quite a newcomer to the heritage restaurant scene. Prior to that, I'd no problems subsisting only on fine dining Chinese establishments — because the spread, food, and service were good, we never saw a need to eat elsewhere.

Ngl, when I was first made aware of this stratum of F&B restaurants, I was quite confused. Looking like a movie set straight out of 1970-80s HK, and boasting staff that are equally at home in the environment (finished with pushcarts and lippy service), I was confounded RS could still thrive amidst aggressive modernisation.

But once the food arrived and we settled in, everything fell into place.

The charm of RS lies in both its traditional-styled Hong Kong dishes — especially their dim sum, which you can still procure from pushcarts touted by seasoned wait stuff — and its ability to transport you to a time before your own; to a space where the pace of life was a tad slower, and the colours of one’s historical heritage was that much more brilliant.

Some may call it a gimmick — the entire experience isn’t the cheapest, with the average cost of our plates hovering around $4.50 — but during my visit, I found a raw authenticity in the unfettered adherence to tradition that transcends even today. Despite its founders being less involved due to age — RS is founded by 2 of the 4 Heavenly Kings of Canto Cuisines in SG, and used to be THE spot for HK film stars! — you can still taste the hallmarks of their influence (see the unabashed pizzazz, usually in the form of an abundance of shrimp in every dish; no complaints here!).

And there’s a wistful nostalgia when I see the staff go about their routine in effortless synchronicity, honed by decades of practice.

I still believe there is a place for food like RS’ in today’s SG: We just need to be reminded of their presence, and perhaps not be as dismissive of the less glamourous aspects of our food culture.

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[ Food Review — This time, zichar dishes! (You can find my older review of their dim sum items on my insta!) ] Think we are completely sold on the idea of having dim sum at night! And what’s better is even if we wanted s o m e versus an entire dinner’s worth of dim sum, we can do that at Mongkok Dim Sum too!

So that’s precisely what we did tonight!

To start, we ordered the Spinach Dumplings (our fav item from our last visit), Siew Mai (gotta love decently priced, good-sized siew mai…with shrimp!), and Fried Mantou with Chilli Crab Dip. (Dim sum make for great starters because they’re bound to arrive before your main dishes anyway, and they help whet your appetite too!)

The mantou was pretty good — sweet and light + crisp without being oily! While the chilli crab dip tasted very much like a premix (it’s a lil starchy and had a 1-D sweetness), there was a lot more crab slivers in there than we’d expected! So much so that if we didn’t specifically spoon them up onto our buns, we’d have had a bunch leftover. Pretty nice surprise!

For a place that does so much dim sum, we were surprised at the quality of their zichar! Sure, it isn’t going to be comparable to top-tier zichar spots, but given the amount of ingredients and size of each dish, I’m down for eating here in sweet air-conditioned comfort with dim sum sides than at other mid-range zichar spots.

Our hotplate tofu actually looks like hotplate tofu! (We had a terrible hotplate tofu in the area prior, so this was a huge relief.) The sauce was fine — not amazing, not terrible — but what I really enjoyed was how many tofu we got + how even yet thin the egg layer was! Add on the shrooms, shrimp and chicken, and this is a solid well-rounded dish perf for pairing with rice!

The spinach with trio of eggs was great too! The broth was flavourful with an obvious enough profile of eggs (you’d think this is the baseline, but nope, I’ve been unfortunate enough to have eaten many that taste just like…water). The spinach was fresh and well-cooked, just some tail ends of the stalks that weren’t plucked/snipped, which wasn’t too big a prob.

Even the pork was yummy — I’m just not the biggest fan of the dish to rave about it, but it wasn’t too sweet, nor was it fatty! Kudos!

[@meltingflavours on Insta] I ramble about food. A lot. 📝Long posts | ❌🧀🍷🥛 ⛔️Do not repost⛔️

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