One of the best things about living in Singapore is how we have delicious and easily-accessible food – even in the wee hours of the morning. I know dim sum is traditionally eaten as breakfast or high-tea, but with Swee Choon Tim-Sum Restaurant around, it is no wonder why people are starting to love their dim sum dinners and late-night suppers.
For those of you following me on Instagram, you might have realized how frequently I’ve been visiting Swee Choon the past year. They are a no-frills eatery serving fast, cheap and pretty decent Hong Kong and Shanghainese dim sum – all of which reasons why they are becoming hugely popular, especially among the younger crowd. When I first visited the place about two to three years ago, I didn’t recall them to be as crowded. Only recently did they expand their shop space to the adjacent corner unit, so now Swee Choon dominates 5 ENTIRE SHOP SPACES under a single stretch of shophouses, including a takeout area as well as an outdoor dining area behind their shop. Seriously, they seem to have just become the hippest place to go for a quick, affordable dim sum fix.
One thing I have to commend this place about is its efficient service. It’s like instant food – you place your order and within five minutes or less, the food comes streaming in dish by dish, all piping-hot. Not hard to understand why when they have an entire army of chefs in the kitchen preparing the food!
Most of the pictures here are taken from my Instagram, before I recently bought my Canon EOS 650D. Sometimes I do feel like a madwoman, with curious looks thrown my way as I snap pictures of my food with the overly-conspicuous camera…
Now, let us have the pictures do the talking!
First up, the Layer Pancake w/ Egg and Meat Floss(S$4.30). This was so good! There was a perfect harmony of tastes and textures in this dish – with the soft, chewy rice flour pancake layer, the sweet omelette, crunchy fresh cucumber slivers and the light airy meat floss.
The Char Siew Pau(S$1.60) served here are definitely one of the better ones I’ve had so far. The pau was soft and fluffy and the char siew hidden inside had a good proportion of fat – so that the filling remained nice and juicy. Mmmm.
Other than fried, baked and steamed dim sum dishes, Swee Choon also offers a small array of tze char-style dishes, such as the classic Sweet and Sour Pork(S$6), Pan-fried ‘Fu Rong’ Egg w/ Shrimp(S$6), Sambal Kang Kong(S$6) and Deep-fried Shrimp Paste Chicken Wings(S$7).
We decided to order the Crispy Pork Ribs w/ Salt and Pepper(S$8). They were LEGIT!! Neither greasy nor heavy, they were perfectly fried so that it was crispy outside yet suuuuper juicy inside. This ish was friggin tasty. MUST TRY.
Now, on to the Shanghainese dim sum:
The Shanghai Xiao Long Bao(S$4 for 4) here didn’t work for me, though I know of people who swear by these to be one of the best they’ve had. The filling’s okay and the skin, of moderate thickness. Let’s just say I’ve had better.
The Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings(S$4 for 4) here are consistently good with their juicy fillings that threaten to SQUIRT out on the first bite. No kidding. The dumpling skin however is a lil’ on the thick side.
These Sichuan Chilli Oil Wontons(S$4 for 4) are best eaten piping hot. The ones here are too large (for the plate)! Favorite rendition of this dish has got to be from Din Tai Fung, where these are served in bowls that allow the dumplings to be completely drowned and coated with the spicy chilli oil and black vinegar. S H I O K.
Love love LOVE the Red Bean Paste Pancake(S$4.80)! I personally am a huge fan of red bean, and it is no wonder why I am a sucker for this sweet treat. The pancake is fried to a crisp, golden-brown perfection and filled with creamy red bean paste. MUST try, but you might want to leave this for dessert!
The Fried Golden Tofu(S$3.50) is one of Swee Choon’s signature items, and definitely one of my favorites. The tofu topped with pork floss is fried crisp on the outside, yet hidden beneath its skin lies the smooth, silken tofu. Takes skill to pick up a piece of this delicate golden tofu with a pair of chopsticks without having it break apart!
Drunken Tofu in Shaoxing Wine(S$5.50) is one of my must-haves when it comes to Shanghai dim sum. I adore the deep, intense flavor that the shaoxing wine lends to the chilled white chicken. What can I say? I’m a sucker for heavy tastes! No complaints about this dish!
Now, on to the Hong Kong Dim Sum. Woo hoo!
The Swee Choon Mee-Sua Kueh(S$2 for 2) is possibly the most iconic item here at Swee Choon. The only place I’ve heard that offers this interesting dish, they do it pretty well. The kueh is deep-fried to a crisp on the outside, yet what lies within is actually mee sua(rice noodles) packed into a cake-like form. Was a bit bland for me as I’m drawn to heavier flavors, but this is worth a try for novelty’s sake.
Now for those of you wondering, this offensive looking thing is actually the Chicken Claw(S$2.30). It may be ugly, but it is absolutely delicious. I would be most willing to have a plate of this all to myself, thank you very much!
The Portuguese Egg Tarts(S$3 for 2) here are not too shabby. The pastry is flaky and houses a sweet and very moist egg custard. Yummy as these were, for me, nothing will ever compare to the golden standard of Tong Heng Egg Tarts!
The Carrot Cake(S$1.80 for 2) here is phenomenal! I can hardly describe it such that I do it justice, but it is crispy, tasty, chunky and a must-have every single time we’re here. The only downside is that it’s a little on the greasy side.
My top favorite item here at Swee Choon is definitely the Beancurd Prawn Roll(S$2.80 for 2). The pork and prawn filling is housed in a light and crispy beancurd skin. One of the simplest items, yet done so well! LOVEEE.
Here are some of the other dim sum items, just not sure if they’re catergorized under HK or Shanghainese.
The BBQ Pork Rice(S$2.20) or fan choy wasn’t exceptionally fantastic and quite forgettable for the most part.
One of my favorite things to order when having dim sum is definitely char siew sou. Their rendition of this Baked BBQ Pork Pastry(S$2 for 2) was pretty okay with its buttery, flaky crust. I would love it if the char siew was more juicy and moist though.
The Prawn and Banana Fritter(S$2.80 for 2) isn’t something I went crazy over. It fell flat for me, which is sad because it sounded like such a promising combination! Maybe I’ll give it a second chance…
The Plain Chee Cheong Fun(S$1.80) served with chilli and sweet sauce is the definition of pure goodness. So simple yet satisfying! I love having it plain with the sesame oil and light sauce, but Dad prefers it with sweet sauce and chilli. Love that they separate the sauces so everyone is happy! 🙂
Let me just rave about the Fried Wontons(S$2.40 for 3) here – they taste FAR from ordinary. Bold statement, but these deep-fried golden dumplings are possibly the most delicious wontons I’ve had. They are SO goddamn juicy inside!
Yam Fritters(S$2 for 2) are another of my favorite fried treats, so obviously I would have higher expectations of them. The ones here weren’t fantastic in my opinion. They were too dense and greasy, though the filling was not bad. My idea of the perfect yam fritter? A delicate, crispy melt-in-your-mouth outer nest encasing a moist, steaming-hot pork filling. FWAH.
Alright, if you’re craving for a cold, sweet dessert, you will probably want to head somewhere else rather than order this Mango with Pomelo and Sago(S$3.30). Watery and almost stale-tasting, you’re way better off skipping this.
Now, the best for last…
The thing that hypes me up the most about dining at Swee Choon are these unsuspecting Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns(S$3.30 for 3). They sit in steamer baskets waiting to be uncovered, then EXPLODE with golden custard when you bite into these treasures. ORGASMICCCC.
Will you just LOOK at the sinfully dripping custard. LICK ME, IT SAYS!!!!!!!!
To sum this lengthy post up, I would say that Swee Choon definitely has its hits and misses. While it may not serve top class dim sum, it remains top on my list of places to go whenever I’m looking for an affordable dim sum fix, or just feeling peckish in the middle of the night.
SWEE CHOON TIM-SUM RESTAURANT
183/185/187/189/191 Jalan Besar
Monday – Sunday: 6am to 6pm
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Cuisine: Chinese Dim Sum
Average price per pax: S$10 to S$15
Recommendations: Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun, Carrot Cake, Mee Sua Kueh, Crispy Pork Ribs w/ Salt and Pepper, Fried Wonton, Red Bean Pancake and Beancurd Prawn Roll