Where to get sum when you want dimsum

We love dimsum and so does Singapore. While restaurants here don't always offer the authentic Hong Kong style experience, complete with traditional carts loaded up with the delicious "Asian tapas" that you can flag down as they pass you by, Singapore does have a good enough variety of restaurants for your dimsum fix. From casual dining places like 126 to ubiquitous dimsum buffets at upscale hotel restaurants, there really is something for everyone.

126 Dim Sum

It gets no prizes for atmosphere, but late-night revelers swear by this Hong Kong-style dimsum restaurant for its delish midnight munchies like pork belly buns, locally-inspired mantou with chilli crab sauce. No frills-fare at a value-for-money price point is what 126 is. Located in Geylang, land of late-night eateries, among glaring neon lights and plastic chairs, it's a solid option. 126 Sims Ave., 6746-4757.

Cherry Garden

Easily one of the best and most popular classic Chinese restaurants in town, this elegant fine dining establishment serves Cantonese cuisine with an artistic touch. Noteworthy dishes from their dimsum brunch include the Steamed Kurobuta char siew bao and Wok-fried radish cake with XO sauce. 5/F Marina Square Mandarin Oriental Singapore 5 Raffles Ave., 6885-3550.

Clifford Pier

Within a chic colonial setting, Clifford Pier at The Fullerton Bay Hotel offers its Heritage Dim Sum Brunch. Setting the atmosphere and backdrop are live hawker stalls and traditional metal push trolleys, a nod to the robust Asian street food heritage. Go crazy on classic favorites like steamed siew mai with tobiko roe, steamed pork ribs in fermented black bean sauce, and steamed custard buns served piping hot to your table. The cherry on top is the views of the glamorous Marina Bay waterfront. 80 Collyer Quay, 6333-8388.

East Ocean

One distinguished stalwart of dimsum is East Ocean that has been in operation since 1992. Fully embracing the traditional Teochew-style Cantonese cuisine, they consistently serve up honest-to-goodness dimsum. At East Ocean, it is salted egg yolk buns, char siew sou, roasted polo char siew buns and dainty egg tarts galore. Oh, also try their signature claypot crab glass noodles, that is slightly umami and packed with flavor. 391 Orchard Rd, 6235-9088.


Located in the iconic Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress is a sharp, casual restaurant; a great option for when you want to dine out but also keep it casual. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out into Boat Quay and moulded ceilings with tasteful dark wooden panels micmic a colonial charm. You can choose to dine at the alfresco by the Singapore River and Empress’s dedicated menu also includes ample vegetarian and vegan options available at both dinner and lunch, including fried chee cheong fun, sweet and sour vegetarian “char siew”, alongside indulgent classics like steamed X.O. chicken feet, black bean sauce spare ribs, and everyone’s favorite steamed molten custard bun. You also get to drink your fill if you opt for the free-flow champagne dimsum brunch. 1 Empress Pl, 6776-0777.

Hai Tien Lo

It’s an all-you-can-eat affair at Hai Tien Lo’s dimsum buffet on both weekdays and weekends, so stuff your face with their perfectly handcrafted pieces of heaven. We’re sure you’ll more than enjoy the Steamed Prawn and Asparagus Dumplings, Steamed Charcoal Barbecue Pork Bun with Black Truffles, and Pan-fried Beancurd Sheet Stuffed with Prawn Paste. But you can always choose to dine ala carte if buffets are not your thing. 3/F Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd., 6826-8240. 

Hua Ting

If you’ve heard of Hua Ting you would have heard of its legendary Baked Mango Chicken Tartlet that manages to be both buttery and light while oozing with zesty goodness. This is another stalwart of Cantonese dining which has won multiple awards for its food. After a revamp last year, the restaurant now caters to intimate gatherings with its semi-private dining areas where diners can feast on the deep fried scallop pastry and the steamed salted egg custard bun. Sip on a curated selection of premium teas including the 2007 Imperial Pu-Erh. 442 Orchard Rd, 6739-6666.


For the past decade, Jade restaurant at Fullerton has consistently offered a solid menu of Singaporean Cantonese-style dimsum alongside a sophisticated ambience with its signature modern Chinoiserie interiors. Post-revamp(s), dimsum set lunches have become their thing, where they offer dishes like the Pork Siew Mai with Stewed Abalone and Blue Pea Wild Mushrooms Dumplings. 80 Collyer Quay, 6333-8388.

MASA by Black Society 

To enjoy artisanal dimsum that taste as delicious as they look, head to MASA by Black Society. If you’re unsure of what to order, the Dimsum Tasting Platter should give you a good overview of the menu, which includes the Black Har Gau, Queen and Mala Shumai, and Little Green Apple. Fancy some Western mains to accompany those bite-sized goodness? Try the Corned Beef Spaghetti. And if after all that you’ve still got room for more, order the Rosie Red Bean Baozi, made to resemble a purple rose. Now you’ll have a chance to update your ‘Gram. #01-12/13/14 Orchard Gateway, 277 Orchard Rd., 6243-7988. 

Min Jiang

Serving a repertoire of popular Szechuan and Cantonese dishes as well as a fancy dim sum selection served on trolleys for lunch daily, you can bet Min Jiang promises a fine Chinese dining experience. And with dimsum being a signature of the restaurant, the outlet at Goodwood Park Hotel even offers some in their set lunch menus. 22 Scotts Rd, 6730-1704.


In place of the traditional red-cushioned chairs with gold trimmings, dine in a casual lounge-like setting at Mitzo—but you’ll be in good hands of Chef Nicky, who was the cornerstone of Michelin-starred Hakkasan in New York City. Using only quality ingredients, Mitzo has truly reinvented the Chinese dining experience. Chef Nicky’s gourmet menu features dainty, exquisite dimsum that seem more like art pieces, so be sure to check out the royal shrimp dumpling, wild mushroom crystal dumpling, escargot cheese puff and so much more. 270 Orchard Rd, 6603-8855.

Sum Yi Tai

A visit to Sum Yi Tai (Cantonese for third wife) with its neon signage and red hues is a journey back in time. Sum Yi Tai offers its own take on nostalgia, housed in a precious conservation shophouse with three different concepts spanning over three storeys decked out in chandeliers and silk wallpapers. There’s the indispensable rooftop bar, a lounge, as well as a tapas bar where all your dimsum favourites are served. Tuck into crystal dumplings, fried wanton, and their signature XO carrot cake on the ground floor, before heading up for drinks and some rooftop revelry. 25 Boon Tat St, 6221-3665.

Swee Choon

The inexpensive, cheerful (and rather spacious) joint carries both Hong Kong- and Shanghai-style dimsum, with an extensive menu of siew mai, har kow and the famous Swee Choon big pau. On the Shanghainese front, there’s chive pork dumplings and xiao long bao. It’s always mobbed, but their surprisingly organized queuing system makes it all quite manageable. We love getting a table in the concrete backyard. 191 Jalan Besar, 6225-7788.

Tim Ho Wan

Housed in a relaxed 100-seat space is the first overseas outpost of this famed eatery, care of chef Mak Kwai Pui. Highlights not to be missed include pan-fried carrot cake, vermicelli roll with pig’s liver and Mak’s signature baked buns with BBQ pork—a delicious crispy-topped boluo (pineapple) bun stuffed with char siew. For those with a sweet tooth, the fluffy steamed egg cake and tonic medlar and osmanthus jelly should do the trick. #01-29A Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd., 6251-2000.

Treasures Yi Dian Xin

Keeping it simple yet tasty is Treasures Yi Dian Xin, a Chinese Cantonese concept of the Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group that specialises in dimsum. With three outlets dotting Singapore, tuck into roast meats, thick congees and other deep-fried delights. The Deep Fried Porcupine Bun with Red Bean Paste is a signature, and so is the Baked Snow Crust BBQ Pork Bun. #B1-08 Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd., 6262-3662

Yan Ting

It's no wonder that the dining hall at Yan Ting, replete with stained glass panels, impeccably attentive staff, draping chandeliers and plush booths (perfect for canoodling), is as luxurious it gets. The same note of decadence is carried through in its menu which features double-boiled fish maw soup, boston lobster wok-based with XO sauce, shrimp and pork dumplings with black truffles. The weekend dimsum brunch is where it’s at though, as it showcases the restaurant’s award-winning signature dishes. 1/F The St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Rd., 6506-6887.