Have you ever tasted a siew mai or har gow that is so good that it just blows all the others out of the steaming basket?
In my experience, there is good siew mai and there is bad siew mai. There is good and very good siew mai, but I have never, ever had one that is super duper, sun-stoppingly good. If you know of a place that sells this type of dim sum, please let me know!
I had a bad dim sum experience recently which prompted me to re-visit my survey of dim sum places in Singapore. That got me thinking about how to standardize the review process.
To make sure that the reviews are a little more objective, I think that every each review should focus on five basic dim sum items, viz, har gow, siew mai, char siew bao, cheong fun and pan fried carrot cake. If the standard of the dim sum is “good” then we proceed to highlight some of the signature items that differentiate one restaurant from the other. If it is bad, then I would have wasted some calories and you won’t ever hear about it.
Dim Sum Haus passed admirably on the basic five. Their har gow was nice and plump, the skin resilient and the prawn filling was flavourful and had a good bouncy texture. 4.25/5 Siew mai was also good and the pork filling was fragrant without any off-flavour. 4/25/5 Char siew bao skin was nice and fluffy and the filling was tasty though it lacked the charcoal flavour. 4/5 Pan fried carrot had a nice crust and the texture was tender on the inside and they were quite generous with the lup cheong. 4/5
They make their chee cheong fun to order so the texture is very good overall. Their sauce was a little on the sweet side, but it was still quite tasty. I usually order zha leong (crispy cruller) as I like the contrast between the crispy dough and silky smooth cheong fun. Although they didn’t have zha leong, their crispy rice roll with shrimp cheong fun more than made up for it and the prawns added another interesting layer of texture and flavour. 4.25/5
The highlight of the whole meal was, undoubtedly, their liu sar bao. This oozy confectionery has always been instagram worthy but they brought it up another level by adding a crunchy cookie dough on top! So it’s like the offspring of papa polo bao and mama liu sar bao! They still insist on using real salted egg yolks for the filling, so its not just eye candy but has a good depth of flavour! 4.5/5
I was quite ambivalent about the charcoal dumpling. The black colour skin, made from charcoal, doesn’t add anything to the flavour though the tobiko that is added as the topping does give it a nice popping crunch. However, the tobiko added to the filling is a bit of a waste. It does give it a more seafoody flavour but the texture (which is what tobiko is all about) is lost when it is steamed. 4/5
I am a firm believer that Xiao Long Bao has to be made on the spot and steamed on the spot. I have never tasted one that is good when it has been pre-made. Somehow the dry air of the fridge affects the skin, making it all wrinkly. The Xiao Long Bao here is ok. The skin doesn’t break when you pick it up and it is soupy enough. Good for the kids if they are hankering for it, but I wouldn’t recommend it for Xiao Long Bao aficionados. 3.5/5
Their mushroom buns are pretty to look at but the chicken and mushroom filling is nothing to rave about. Better off ordering another plate of liu sar bao! 3.5/5
This is one of the few dim sum places I know of which is family run. The owners are a young couple, both accountants, who left their jobs to pursue their passion. When I first visited them last year when they had just opened but felt they needed some time to find their footing. I am glad that the young couple have been persistent and the food has improved. Most of their dim sum is priced below $5 and the quality is very good. The air-conditioned environment is family friendly and casual, although it does lacks the buzz of a large dim sum restaurant.
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