Dim sum may have its roots in Hong Kong, but it has been so embraced by the Singapore culinary scene that it's now part of our culture — you don't even need to go to an authentic Cantonese restaurant to find favourites such as siew mai or har gao.
Unfortunately, the rise of dim sum in local dining means that a number of terrible imitators have also opened their doors. We can't count the number of times we had dim sum so bad it'd be polite to describe it as atrocious.
Thankfully, the often poorly imitated siew mais and har gaos have found legitimate homes in these five outstanding Singapore dim sum restaurants. These venues have made it their business to save dim sum aficionados from the soggy buns and cold dumplings that have plagued us for too long.
Old Hong Kong Legend is the restaurant chain's fourth outlet, and is also their poshest to date. A departure from its sister locales in more than decor, the restaurant offers far better dim sum here than its sister branches can come up with.
At Old Hong Kong Legend, the authenticity of cuisine is preserved due to director and Hong Kong-native Victoria Li's insistence on only employing head chefs from Hong Kong, and many of the dishes take inspiration from her own recipes.
The dim sum here isn't as spectacular as the other restaurants on this list, but what you get here is consistently good, fuss-free comfort food that's perfect for weekly dim sum brunches.
How do you give a contemporary twist to a perennial favourite without losing its essence and, subsequently, the affections of traditionalist foodies? While some dim sum restaurants fall victim to chefs' over-enthusiasm, Paradise Pavilion does it with finesse. Here, the modern touches on favourites are refreshing, but never distracting, and the food remains firmly anchored in tradition.
The siew mai skewer, for example, comes generously stuffed with the usual pork and fresh prawn meat, but the highlight lies in its pan-seared preparation, lightly glazed with foie gras, making it a particularly memorable dish.
Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck
If Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck didn't actually serve really good Peking Duck, the name would be absurd. Thankfully for them (and us), it lives up to its name, and then some.
Its array of dim sum is extensive and well done, but the true specialty is obviously its Peking duck. Although not an actual dim sum dish, duck this good is a welcome accompaniment.
The dish is done in traditional Beijing-style, with the scented of lychee sticking to it from the lychee wood in the oven. The result is a perfectly roasted bird with tender meat beneath a crackling, light skin.
Word of advice: order the Peking duck only if you have more than two people in your party (or are particularly ravenous), as the whole duck is served regardless of the number of customers.
Check out the full list of dim sum in Singapore at LifestyleAsia.com.