Delightful Dim Sum

Delightful Dim Sum

Nothing can be as delightful as these bite-sized pleasures.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Had been passing through Jalan Besar and found ourselves noticing this particularly unfamiliar sight along the street in the area opposite Hoa Nam Building — the bright yellow signboard indicating the location of Pan • Dim Sum 半·点心 being rather a new sight to us. Turns out, Pan • Dim Sum is indeed a relatively new addition in the neighbourhood; while Jalan Besar itself is pretty notable for being an area that is filled with Dim Sum establishments along the street such as that of Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, Sum Dim Sum and Dim Sum Haus just to name a few, Pan • Dim Sum finds itself located on the opposite end of the road where all the other Dim Sum establishments are located at — Pan • Dim Sum being situated closer to Kam Leng Hotel, the outlet of Abundance at Jalan Besar, and the outlet of Punggol Nasi Lemak at Jalan Besar. While not mentioned on the signboard of Pan • Dim Sum, it does seem that Pan • Dim Sum can also be referred to as Q Cafe based on the lighted signboard fitted near the counter. For its interior, Pan • Dim Sum maintains a simple look for the interior of its space — the use of wooden, cushioned seating and wooden tables alongside white walls and styled ceiling lamp suggests that a more functional approach is applied in the design of the space. Being an establishment that focuses much on its dim sum offerings, Pan • Dim Sum’s menu is split into categories such as Steamed, Pan/Fried, Baked, Rice Roll, Vegetables, Rice/Noodle/Dumpling, Seafood and Bites (Sweet). Beverages offered at Pan • Dim Sum include items like Sour Plum Juice, Winter Melon, and Pear Juice; these would be alongside a line-up of teas as well as canned drinks amongst others.

While hard copies of the menu are available, diners at Pan • Dim Sum would also be required to place their orders via a an ordering sheet which is presented to the table by the staff together with the hard copy menu. That being said, we would probably recommend to refer to the ordering sheet rather than the hard copy menu when making the order — we do note that there are some discrepancies between the ordering sheet and the hard copy menu whereby the hard copy menu is missing of the illustration and listing of the items that have been included in the ordering sheet. We did manage to try several dishes that Pan • Dim Sum has to offer, though one dish that stood out particularly for us was the Taro in Sugar Flake. For one, the Taro in Sugar Flake is by itself a dish that is difficult to find across the island; an item that is more likely to be found in an actual Chinese restaurant rather than that of a Dim Sum establishment, it is noted that the preparation process of the dish is laborious and tedious — therefore making it an item that most establishments would not be willing to serve up.

One serving of the Taro in Sugar Flake consists of 8 pieces; the yam having sliced into rectangular-sized pieces that has been sprinkled with some sugary crust all over it. Taking a bite into one piece of the yam, the yam comes with a firm bite; something similar to what some establishments serving up Putian / Heng Hwa cuisine will do with the Stir-Fried Yam dish. Rather obvious would be the earthiness of the yam which meets the sweet notes and slightly crusty texture of the sugar flakes that makes it kinda addictive — a dish that one should not miss out whilst here. Truth to be told, we did have our reservations on Pan • Dim Sum before making our visit there — the entire outlook of the space was one that we had no idea on what to expect about it. That being said, there are dishes like the Brown Sugar Rice Cake and the White Taro Ball that really impressed; the former being a deep-fried rice cake that carried a mochi-like texture with molten brown sugar that added sweetness like how one would expect it to be in Boba Tea, while the latter is a deep-fried mochi ball comprising of yam and pumpkin(?) filling. We also quite liked the texture of the rice roll as per the Beef Rice Roll that we ordered; a little sticky but one of the more QQ ones that we had come across. The Egg Tart, which is freshly baked upon order, comes with a light and flaky pastry skin that is buttery but not greasy; the egg curd also being sufficiently eggy but not too sweet at the same time. Overall, Pan • Dim Sum does have some really interesting items with a wow-factor; that being said, some patience is required for the serving of the dishes since most of them are prepared only upon order. The people whom run the place do seem earnest, and the dim sum and other dishes do feel like they are prepared from the heart — a spot worth supporting, and also one that we would look forward to seeing them introducing new items as they smoothen out their operations!

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New to the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood, 51 Tras is a new cafe at 51 Tras Street, which is located just a couple of units away from Baristart Coffee and Nesuto. Being a creative space, the space is beautifully decked in a minimalistic style that is especially serene and tranquil with natural lighting that beats down into the dining area through the skylight in the roof above. The interior features metallic, wooden and stone elements — a very tastefully designed space; one can also find a tree located towards the back of the space that provides for some form of “life” against the otherwise “cold” environment. The menu available at 51 Tras is somewhat of a curation of items from various F&B set-ups; for pastries, 51 Tras offers a couple of items including a Laksa Quiche and a Heibi Hiam Brioche Feuillete sourced from Tigerlily Patisserie at Joo Chiat, whilst also serving up cakes by Francis Wong; previously the chef owner of now-defunct Non Entree Dessert Cafe. For savoury food, there is the Aburi Chee Cheong Fun from local celebrity Ben Yeo’s SG Chee Cheong Fun, while the list of beverages include specialty coffee, lemonade, and a list of cocktails as well.

Dropped by 51 Tras during a weekday lunch service and we found ourselves going for the Aburi Chee Cheong Fun since we were looking for something filling to have. Having sourced their Chee Cheong Fun from SG Chee Cheong Fun, the Aburi Chee Cheong Fun features elements such as Onsen Egg, Specialty Sauces and Shallots — the addition of the chili is an option here; something which we decided to go for. Having blowtorched the rice rolls, we did feel that the Aburi Chee Cheong Fun does come with a bouncy texture almost akin to the usual; perhaps maybe just with a little bit more bite than the usual — the Chee Cheong Fun coming in rolls similar to that of what is usually served at spots serving the local rendition of the dish, and an aesthetic that sees just a really light char and hence not as smoky as what some may have expected. That being said, the mix of sauces here includes the usual suspects of the trio-sauce Chee Cheong Fun that is typically served at Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun establishments — think a peanut sauce along with a soy mix that provides for a hint of sweetness similar to that of local sweet-sauce; a familiar-tasting item that sees somewhat of a fusion between the local and Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun. The Onsen Egg is particularly well-executed here; runny egg yolk and egg whites, with the former being all flowy with a poke using the fork and gives everything here a silkier texture that binds everything together. The crispy shallots provides a sort of roasty, garlicky note, while the accompanying chili does give that iconic savoury and smoky flavour that pairs up with the Aburi Chee Cheong Fun pretty well.

Having tried other items on the menu such as the Moon Walker — a cake listed on the menu to be by Francis Wong of the now-defunct Non Entree Dessert Cafe that features elements such as Black Sesame Mousse, Salted Caramel and Green Tea Crunch as well as the White, 51 Tras did surpass our expectations given how it is a spot that mostly features curated items sourced from different spots all over Singapore. It is indeed refreshing to see the menu where it features items from other established names in the F&B scene in Singapore, and even gives them due credit — the items also being well taken care of by the folks behind the concept here; it is rather commonplace for such places to put less emphasis in terms of plating or storage, where the latter especially does affect the food quality. All that coupled with a decor that is rather unique to its identity, 51 Tras is certainly a destination for cafe-hoppers to check out for something a little different; not somewhere where we would recommend for a substantial lunch — though somewhere that is definitely fitting for those looking for a light munch or sweet treat over a cuppa.

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Came across the social media page of Hennessy Hong Kong Food Hall fairly recently — the establishment being a food hall located around the ground floor of Kallang Leisure Park that comprises of several concepts by located under one roof; a type of concept that isn’t particularly strange in Singapore that is also similar to that of the now-defunct Picnic Food Garden at Wisma Atria where patrons make their order and pay at the individual stalls that they intend to order from. Hennessy Hong Kong Food Hall houses five different concepts within its premises here; this includes the following:

- Wing Hing Cafe (i.e. the drinks stall);
- Cheong Shun Hongkong Dim Sum;
- San Yuen Congee;
- Manfook Hong Kong Roast Meat (also one of the stalls we tried at Food Republic Wisma Atria previously); and
- Man Ho Cantonese Soup

Giving the concepts that we have yet to try out a go, we went for a bulk of items from the menu of Cheong Shun Hongkong Dim Sum. Amongst the items that we have had, we found the Steamed Honey BBQ Pork Pau being one of the better items alongside the Siew Mai with Crab Roe — while the downside of the Steamed Honey BBQ Pork Pau is the temperature of which it was served at (i.e. room temperature), we did find the item pretty impressive otherwise. Tearing the Pau apart (refer to second pic in the carousel post), the bun to filling ratio felt pretty on point; the bun also being soft and fluffy even despite the temperature it was being served in. We really liked how there was sufficient sauce here in the filling — the sauce was actually pretty thick and savoury; not overly sweetened at the same time and the meat did not carry any undesirable porky stench. Thought they would really have nailed it if they could serve it warmer — the sauce was certainly a detail that they have nailed down really well here. Interestingly, the Steamed Honey BBQ Pork Pau is also sold in a single portion here; something which we personally prefer since it allows us to try a larger variety of items that they have to offer.

Having tried a few items from some of the stalls at Hennessy Hong Kong Food Hall, we do feel that the meal was a bunch of hits and misses. That being said, apart from the Steamed Honey BBQ Pork Pau, other highlights include the Red Grouper Fish Fillet Congee which was incredibly smooth and comes with a lingering hint of ginger that was pretty refreshing; pretty meaty red grouper slices included as well. We also reckon that the Honey-Glazed Char Siew Pork from Manfook Hong Kong Roast Meat would be a show-stopper as well if it remains as consistent as it was from when we had made our visit to their Food Republic Wisma Atria location. Overall, Hennessy Hong Kong Food Hall does seem to be the more budget-friendly option for Hong Kong/Cantonese cuisine within Kallang Leisure Park; no doubt the dishes (especially the dim sum) are a little bit of a hit and miss, but they do certainly come across as an attractive option to dine at within Kallang Leisure Park without breaking the wallet.

Thought that it would be nice to bring the folks somewhere since it was the long weekend and decided to make a reservation at Forbidden Duck at Marina Bay Financial Centre for some dim sum, which is a concept by Chef Alvin Leung of Hong Kong who is also affiliated with other concepts such as 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel also in Singapore, and Bo Innovation at Wan Chai, Hong Kong. While I do know of the existence of Forbidden Duck within the building, I had never really knew where it was located — both Forbidden Duck and Qi - House of Sichuan are located within Tower 3 of Marina Bay Financial Centre, though they are located away from the main retail area at Level 2 of the building; both restaurants are accessible via lift access through a small entrance near where Bushido Tapas Bar is. Forbidden Duck is actually a little smaller than what we have thought — with a view overlooks the Promenade neighbourhood, the interior is decked in a plush setting; carpeted floors and dining tables lined with linen, all with blue cushioned seats and furniture and fittings featuring wooden accents. Aside from dim sum, the menu at Forbidden Duck also features other dishes split into several sections such as appetisers, barbecue (i.e. the roast meats), soups, dried seafood, scallop and clam, prawns and crab, fish, meat, vegetables, rice and noodle, and dessert.

One of the most iconic dish being served at Forbidden Duck that is raved by most patrons would be their Giant Egg Tart — these are baked to order, and the staff would actually ask if you would like to make an order for these if one makes a reservation to dine here. Was actually informed by the service staff over the phone whilst confirming my reservation here that while the Giant Egg Tart is listed as an item served in a portion of two pieces per order on the menu, one can make an order for an additional piece for orders above the minimum order of two pieces as well — a pretty flexible arrangement. These Giant Egg Tarts definitely comes with a height taller than the usual, though the circumference do come at a rather reasonable size as with most other egg tarts. Slicing through the egg tart, one would notice how thin the crust is; despite being so, the crust actually holds up the weight of the filling well despite being served hot, and I liked how it wasn’t particularly dense so it did not feel particularly carb heavy in any sort of way. There wasn’t a particularly stark textural difference between the pastry and the egg curd; the egg curd being easy to slice through — wasn’t too sweet either, and perhaps intentionally so since the Giant Egg Tart also comes with a surprise layer of yuzu jam right at the bottom. Those sweet and zingy notes are reminiscent to the honey yuzu marmalade that can be had as a beverage often found in Korean supermarkets, and provides an interesting flavour contrast that further takes away the sweetness of the egg tart.

To be fair, the dim sum items at Forbidden Duck were a little hit-and-miss for its price tag — we have had more impressive dim sum even in recent times from our visit to more commercial establishments such as Kai Duck, as well as hotel-run establishments like Song Garden. Whilst we did enjoy some of the more conventional items that they have such as the Steamed King Prawn Dumpling and the Steamed Rice Rolls with Shrimps and Green Dragon (think of it as a Chee Cheong Fun rolled with usual spring roll fillings that features a beancurd roll skin instead), items like the Steamed Crab Meat and Pumpkin Dumpling felt a bit confused. Perhaps Forbidden Duck’s forte is probably in their duck dishes and their communal dishes. Still, Forbidden Duck is a spot that is a notch above the usual the run-off-the-mill commercial dim sum joints around — good enough a spot to mark an occasion at given its location, and the creativity in some of dishes that they put out.

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Song Garden was a spot that I had never heard of until a former co-worker suggested the restaurant for a farewell meal for another former colleague — was pretty satisfied and impressed with whatever we had during the visit and it has been a place that I really wanted to make a visit with my folks another time. Being a Chinese restaurant, Song Garden serves up set meals and ala-carte dishes for both lunch and dinner service, but having tried their dim sum which is exclusively available for lunch service the last time, it was exactly that which we made our recent visit to Song Garden for.

Tim Ho Wan may have had popularised the oven-baked barbecue pork bun that we now commonly see at many other dim sum establishments, but Song Garden’s rendition is one that we were truly impressed with. Whilst most places would have named this a baked BBQ pork bun, we really liked how they have creatively named it snow skin in English and also 雪山 (which translates into English as “snow mountain) in Chinese probably in reference to its white appearance. For one, the exterior of the buns were already very well-executed; the crusty layer provides for a crisp bite as one sinks their teeth in — all that without ending up in a crumbly mess. Inside, the Char Siew fillings of the bun are sized just nicely — not overly chunky, but sufficient to carry a bite without too much of a chew. Whilst the char siew sauce of most places usually veer to either ends of sweetness or savouriness, the char siew sauce is a nice balance of both; and the entire package is made even more alluring with the evident hint of buttery fragrance from the crust of the bun — not so much to the point that it would hit being jelak, yet lingers around at the back of the tongue. A sheer pleasure to have.

Song Garden is very much a place that I loved ever since the first visit. There is something charming about their dim sum especially; other favourites here include the Shrimp Mousse on Silver Thread Vermicelli Roll (a must have for me), Crispy Pork Belly and the Mini Egg Tarts — all that in a comfortable environment overlooking Middle Road whilst hidden on the second floor of Mercure Singapore Bugis. The execution of their dim sum can be said as stellar; had never been disappointed despite making two visits thus far, and it being a rather low-profile establishment against Chinese restaurants located in other hotels make it somewhat of a gem of its own. Needless to say, I am already looking forward to the next visit to Song Garden; already seeing myself crave for several items from the menu here whilst writing the caption for this post!

Taking over the former premises of Bao Today at Marina Square is Hong Kong Zhai Dim Sum 香港仔點心之家 — the brand was established in 1988, and they have been operating as a dim sum manufacturer for quite a while with an online presence where one can actually make orders for dim sum via their website. The shop space at Marina Square is conceptualised to be that of a Hong Kong Char Chaan Teng, offering patrons with the variety of dim sum which they have to offer, as well as serving up other hot food including Wanton Noodle, congee, as well as bakes and pastries including the Bolo Bun and the Baked Egg Tart — both of which were unavailable during our visit on a weekend afternoon.

Of all the dishes that we ordered, the Beancurd Roll was the item that seemingly left a deeper impression than the rest. We enjoyed how the beancurd roll is light and sufficiently crisp, whilst not being overly greasy — the shrimp within the roll were chunky and fresh, and provided much of a juicy bite. The other items which we ordered, including the Creamy Custard Bun and the Shrimp Dumplings were most decent, though nothing much to shout about.

Bao Today’s exit from Marina Square does mark a sad end to affordable, fuss-free dim sum for the masses as a dining option there. That being said, Hong Kong Zhai Dim Sum 香港仔點心之家 does work as a great successor for the same; affordable, fuss-free dim sum served at a decent quality that is accessible to the masses. A dining choice worth considering if in the area.

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Ah Yat Kitchen was a spot that I was really looking forward to revisiting ever since our first visit there — it was the dim sum that really deserved a mention during the previous visit. Also surprising how this low-profile eatery hidden within the upper levels of Far East Plaza is actually under the Ah Yat Group of Restaurants, better known for their Ah Yat Seafood restaurants; there isn’t much of an indication except from its name, since the menu here focuses on Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng offerings being served in a casual dining setting.

The Steamed BBQ Pork Bun is something which we did not order the previous time — and boy, we were indeed missing out. These buns are probably one of the most well-executed buns I have had from an establishment of its type. Really liked how the bun was fluffy and soft, yet holds up the fillings within really well without being undesirably soggy; not too thick, but the BBQ Pork Bun really took the show for this one — the Honey BBQ sauce is sufficiently rich and a good balance of sweet and savoury, while the chunks of meat are that of the leaner sort. Despite so, the chunks of meat were not too dry nor too thin or thick; right-sized for a good chew and provides that pleasant contrast of textures from the bun to the meat. Pretty delicious, and could match up well against that of more formal dim sum restaurants even.

Was a bit bummed that they had changed the aesthetics of the Steamed Egg Yolk Custard Bun to something that is more subdued (it used to be stylised with a cute face as it was illustrated, rather than the simple bright yellow bun it is now), but otherwise the other items are as good as I remembered them to be — includes the Crispy Cheong Fun with Shrimp which I had previously which I utterly loved. A rather hidden and quiet spot for some satisfying dimsum slightly away from main areas of the Orchard shopping belt that I would make the trip for!

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Felt a little peckish after having some bar bites and the cakes from Patisserie Platine so dropped by Mott 32 for a second round — probably just an excuse because we had been really wanting to try Mott 32’s dim sum offerings.

There aren’t many items to choose from off the evening dim sum menu at Mott 32 — that being said, the Dim Sum Platter is the one to go for if trying *almost* everything they have to offer in their steamed dim sum selection is what one is looking for, which includes the following:

- Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai, - Wild Mushrooms, Water Chestnut Dumplings
- South Australian Scallop, Prawn, Hot & Sour Shanghainese Soup Dumpling

Between the three, my favourite was the Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai — this pretty much throws out any expectations that one may have on how Siew Mai should turn out to be. While the Siew Mai does come juicy and tender without carrying a porky stench (I mean, they use Kurobuta Pork here) and does come with a whiff of truffle from the dollop of truffle paste atop, it is the surprise of the soft quail egg stuffed within the Siew Mai that left me exceptionally impressed as the creamy yolk explodes from within as one chews through the Siew Mai. Certainly one that was a refreshing take that I wouldn’t mind having any day.

In retrospect, the Wild Mushrooms, Water Chestnut Dumplings was something more conventional and also closer to the Soon Kueh that we know. Still, I liked how Mott 32 seemingly has included truffle in this; the aroma is pretty light but evident, though I really liked how the skin here of the dumpling here comes translucent and so chewy that it is mochi-like; goes well with the textures which goes on inside such as the bouncy mushrooms in the filling.

Taking inspiration from the hot and sour soups from Chinese cuisine, the South Australian Scallop, Prawn, Hot & Sour Shanghainese Soup Dumpling is a twist to the classic Xiao Long Bao. Coming in a bright red aesthetic, the looks of the dumpling is already hinting of its spicy broth filled within; do sip the broth slowly from the opening over the top — the broth being tangy yet spicy; should do well for those who can take moderate level of spiciness. That being said, it was difficult to detect the natural sweetness of the seafood used considering the strong flavours of the broth, though the skin of the dumplings were of reasonably thickness that was rather easy to chew through.

Given how the Premium Dim Sum Platter is priced at $12, this is pretty much a great introductory item towards what Mott 32 has to offer — something that I would also consider having if I am feeling peckish and just wanting to have a light bite at Marina Bay Sands. I am actually very intrigued by the Signature Crispy Sugar Coated Peking Duck Bun which was already sold out by the time we made our visit on a weekend night — something I am likely to order, as well as the Premium Barbecue Platter the next time I am here if the opportunity prevails.

Being one of the more recognised names in the seafood restaurant scene, it is pretty surprising to find one of Ah Yat Group of Restaurants’ latest concepts hidden in a rather odd spot at Far East Plaza; Ah Yat Kitchen is the group’s newest venture, and has taken over the former premises of now-defunct Sakura Asian Cuisine in the mall. Unlike the other Ah Yat Group of Restaurant’s establishment which has a focus on more formal and communal Chinese dining with an emphasis on seafood, Ah Yat Kitchen’s menu does seem to be more casual — think items such as BBQ Pork Wanton Noodles, HK-style roasted meats, and Dim Sum on their menu; something more conceptually similar to a Hong Kong Char Chaan Teng overall.

Being one of those who must have the Chee Cheong Fun dish in any establishment that serves dim sum, we had to get the Crispy Cheong Fun with Shrimp for how this variant sees the Chee Cheong Fun encasing deep-fried prawns — the variant here seemingly also comes rather aesthetically pleasing with the addition of Ebiko and coriander to add more colour to the dish. The light soy sauce that is usually drenched over the dish also comes served on the side here — a move that we actually preferred though it may seem to be a tad odd at the start. For one, the Chee Cheong Fun here is smooth silken; we also appreciated how the rice roll was rather thin for a variant that encloses a deep-fried item within. As one takes a bite, the golden brown batter encasing the shrimp shatters; all light and crisp while the shrimp inside carries a good bite being pretty chunky and rather fresh. While some would have preferred the light soy sauce to be poured into the plate directly, serving it up on the side alleviates the problem where some parts of the Cheong Fun may not get the sauce if it was drenched over the top — here, one can easily scoop up an ample amount of soy sauce using a spoon and pick up a portion of that Cheong Fun using the chopsticks; put them together so that there is just sufficient light soy sauce to give it a savoury note that further elevates those flavours even more. Needless to say, this was one of our favourite dishes during our meal here.

It is interesting to see how Ah Yat Group of Restaurants have ventured into the casual dining scene — perhaps the way forward for them considering the impacts that COVID-19 had brought to the F&B scene especially towards restaurants that cater to communal dining. Nonetheless, Ah Yat Kitchen is a pretty affordable spot to hit for a decently-priced meal in the Orchard area — majority of the items being priced below $10 with the exception of some HK-style roast meat items that are mostly below $15; a rather competitive price point against the other establishments situated in the same building. Ah Yat Kitchen also offers afternoon tea sets that features light bites and drinks from $5 to $7 as well. This seems to be a spot that is likely to attract the office folks and shoppers alike for a relatively pocket-friendly meal in Orchard — a spot that is worth keeping a look out for.

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Was scrolling through Oddle Eats for some food to bring back home near the office over the weekend, and chanced upon these egg tarts which had been recently introduced on Victor’s Kitchen menu. While the original egg tarts have been available on Victor’s Kitchen menu for quite a while, they have also released new variants like the Egg White, Matcha and D24 Durian — all of which available as an ala-carte item of 2pcs, or in the form of the Egg Tarts Extravaganza that sees all four flavours in one box.

Having them on the same night after self pick-up at their Sunshine Plaza outlet in the evening, the egg tarts seemed to have survived the journey rather well — the egg tarts here come with a cookie-crust that held up the fillings pretty well, though it was on the softer, slightly crumbly side. The top two picks for me would have been easily the Japanese Matcha and D24 Durian; the former being a rather interesting fusion that gives the classic egg tart a modern, Japanese twist that would gel well with hipsters who loves all-things Matcha. For one, I was surprised how the matcha-infused egg curd was nothing too sweet nor eggy; choosing to emphasise on the bitter undertones of the Japanese tea that gave it a different sort of appeal that I appreciated — some pretty quality Matcha that went it there. The D24 Durian featured fibrous durian flesh hidden within the middle of the egg curd — carried the pungency of the king of fruits with creamy and smooth durian flesh hidden amidst the jiggly and aptly sweet egg curd; an additional touch to their standard egg tart. In comparison, the Egg White Tart comes with a lower level of sweetness — have initially expected it to come pretty close to Le Cafe’s Soya Beancurd tarts but this was almost akin to having egg white meringue in egg curd form with a more manageable level of sweetness; preferred this over the standard egg tart that the box also came with.

If I can only pick one flavour out of the four to have, the Japanese Matcha Tart is the one I will go for again — I liked how they didn’t butcher this one and went for a flavour that focuses on the umami, bitter undertones of the Japanese tea; totally something that hits my taste buds for sure!

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Ended my last day of Phase 3 Heightened Alert with a dim sum brunch with friends, but still craving for dim sum when a return to office is needed — had been thinking of Victor’s Kitchen’s “Bo Loh Yau” Butter Bun having passed by their outlet at Sunshine Plaza quite a number of times recently; a rather new item that seems like a pretty recent addition to the menu.

Turns out, the “Bo Loh Yau” Butter Bun was an item I quite liked; their version isn’t quite the thick-crusted ones that we have had recently at 5-Star Dim Sum, but I still liked how their version is lightly crisp in the crust — aptly buttery, while the bread beneath feels freshly-toasted; sufficiently crusty without being overly dense. Wasn’t quite a fan of the Lurpak Butter that it came with — not sure if these were an arrangement due to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) where takeaways are the norm, but would definitely prefer them to come with slabs of butter just like it was illustrated; true-blue Hong Kong-style. Overall; not too heavy, and less food coma-inducing than I have expected.

My love for fried shrimp roll cheong fun had also led me to the “Spring is in the Air” Cheong Fun — an exceptionally fancy name for a HK rice roll noodle that comes with a crispy, fried prawn roll hidden within. It’s all I ask for in my Chee Cheong Fun; smooth, silken rice noodle that encases a crispy, better prawn roll within — one that is infused with spring onions and with succulent prawn flesh that is naturally sweet and comes with a good bite. The light soy sauce is sufficiently savoury, though I did wish they packed slightly more so that it can go around the rice rolls just a little more for better flavour.

Despite the slightly altered experience given the takeaway nature of the items, I must say I am pretty stoked about what I have had — so much so that a dinner plan is probably underway once dine-in is reinstated; it’s indeed been quite a while since I have ever dined in at Victor’s Kitchen, and it would be interesting to have these items the way that they are intended to be in the eatery itself!

There are many established names in the local F&B scene when one mentions about Chinese restaurants that are situated in hotels, but Song Garden is one that seems to be rarely mentioned — the Chinese restaurant is hidden within the second level of Mercure Singapore Bugis and currently only accessible via a lift that is located outside the premises of the hotel itself.

Serving dim sum only during the lunch hour, we were quite surprised by the spread that they actually have here — apart from the quintessential items such as the Steamed Prawn Dumpling and Steamed Honey BBQ Pork Bun, they also do have other more inventive creations such as the Baked Abalone Tart with Black Truffle and Pan-Seared “Otah” Seafood Dumpling.

Being here for a quick weekday lunch whilst being back in the office, the Shrimp Mousse on Silver Thread Vermicelli Roll is one of the items that left the strongest impressions for me — already being an item that I would most likely to try at another dim sum establishments that serves them. I like how their rice rolls are so silken and smooth; not overly thick, and disintegrates so effortlessly as one sends a piece into the mouth — the golden fried batter of the shrimp being so light and crispy, yet not particularly greasy as it encases bouncy shrimp paste that comes with a good bite within. The shrimp also bursts of a natural sweetness; a testament to the freshness of the shrimp used here — all of that going in harmony with the soy sauce beneath that provides a largely savoury, yet lightly sweet note that compliments the rice roll and the other elements so ever perfectly.

Song Garden is quite a hidden find for those in the know — a spot that is pretty value-for-money considering how big their dim sum portions are. The dishes featuring shrimp/prawns are rather large — not exactly bite-sized but that’s not going to be something to complain about; their Steamed Prawn Dumplings are perhaps the largest I have ever seen. Thankful to be brought here by colleagues on an occasion; would most certainly return to give more items a try with my folks the next time!

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