Singapore - Top Yum Cha Spot in Town
The top spot for "yum cha" in Singapore had always been changing - from Happy Valley & Tropicana in the 70s, to Tsui Hang Village then Tung Lok (in Liang Court) & Lei Garden in the 80s, then Crystal Jade in much of the 90s & 2000s.
Lately, "dim sum" aficionados had been turning their attention to the Imperial Treasure Group - set up by Alfred Leung who, together with his brothers Vincent & Jimmy, used to manage Tsui Hang Village in the Asia Hotel before setting up the first Crystal Jade restaurant in Cairnhill Hotel. Alfred parted ways with the Crystal Jade Group (currently headed by his brother-in-law) to set up the rival Imperial Treasure Group of restaurants.
It does seem that the quality of dim sum at Imperial Treasure now surpasses those at Crystal Jade.
New Year's Day lunch for us today was at Imperial Treasure's flagship restaurant in Great World City. Dim sum items we ordered included:
- Har-gau (shrimp dumplings)
- Siu-mai (pork-shrimp dumplings)
- Steamed cha-siu bao
- Baked cha-siu sou
- Steamed taro cake
- Stewed pig's trotters in black vinegar & ginger
- Century egg and pork porridge
- Stir-fried carrot cake with XO sauce
- Seafood hor-fun (flat rice noodles)
- Siu yoke (Roast pork) and cha-siu (BBQ caramelised pork)
- Century egg & pickled ginger
- Sweet waterchestnut jelly pudding
Fabulous dim sum of the highest quality! Need to book ahead though - the crowd to get in can be quite intimidating.
Imperial Treasure Restaurant
1 Kim Seng Promenade
#02-06 Great World City
Tel: +65 6732 2232
Oh, yes. How our preference for top dim-sum place changes through the years. I remember when Tropicana was a favourite for a time. I also liked Tung Lok for a very long time because they have the best, most buttery BBQ puffs or char-siew-so.
Lei Garden at the old Boulevard Hotel on Orchard Boulevard was also regarded as the top dim-sum place for much of 1990-2000.
I also liked Jiang-Nan Chun at Four Seasons Hotel during the time Jeremy Leung was the executive chef before he went to Shanghai and set up Whampoa Club.
Crystal Jade Palace was very good, and my husband and I used to drive to their only restaurant at the time in Cairnhill Hotel every weekend. But I think the standard has dropped in the past few years when they expanded too fast with too many branches, and many of their old staff also moved away, mainly to join Imperial Treasure group.
Nowadays, my top dim-sum places in Singapore are:
(1) Imperial Treasure at Great World City
(2) Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck restaurant at Paragon
(3) Crystal Jade Palace in Ngee Ann City
(4) Lei Garden at Chijmes
(5) Golden Peony at Conrad Hotel
Jiang Nan-Chun at Four Seasons, Wan Hao at Marriot, Man Fu Yuan at Intercontinental Hotel, Shang Palace at Shangri-la, Li Bai at Sheraton and Summer Pavilion at the Rotz-Carlton deserve some special mention but are inconsistent, over-priced and don't have the "star power' pull of Imperial Treasure or Crystal Jade.
Older restaurants offering dim-sum like Red Star, Spring Court, etc are simply not in the same league.
Never been a big fan of Imperial Treasure or Crystal Jade. IT at Great World City fare better but the branches at Paragon and Marina Bay Sands are just bad. Crystal Jade has gone downhill since the days of CairnHill Hotel. On your list, I actually prefer Li Bai and Lei Garden to the rest.
One hardly mentioned in Chowhound that deserves to be praised is Jade Palace at Forum. Price is reasonable too.
re: Charles Yu
Quantity is actually dictated by the 'size' of the morsels. Like Won-ton or Nigiri sushi for that matter, there's a standard 'optimal' size. For a bite size morsel that incorporates about 11-13 folds ( can only accomplished by master dim-sum makers ), a standard size bamboo steamer can accommodate 4 'uncooked' morsels and allowing room for expansion when the raw morsels are cooked. '3 per steamer' version usually have bigger morsels, making it 'non-traditional', since it no longer is bite size.
Better example of this 'size mutation' can be found in won-ton noodles being offered by Jim Chai Kee ( golf ball size ) and Mak's ( traditional bite size ) both on Wellington street!
re: Charles Yu
there are more and more dim sum places in singapore where you can ask the waiter to add x number of pieces to each basket of dim sum so that everyone gets one piece. cherry garden for one allows that. i remember doing so for peach garden as well. they will pro-rate corresponding when it comes to billing
re: Charles Yu