In Singapore's culinary realm lies a tradition adored by locals and visitors alike – dim sum. With roots in the vibrant Cantonese culture, these small plates of dumplings and snack dishes are integral to the multicultural essence of Singapore. Beyond mere sustenance, they represent an immersive experience, a celebration of flavours and a cherished communal tradition.
This gastronomic treasure extends beyond everyday meals and holds significance on festive occasions.
Dim sum – a Cantonese term meaning “touch the heart” – is a cherished heritage cultivated with passion. It made its way to Singapore via Chinese immigrants, carrying a legacy that bridges diverse cultures and nations.
The distinctive quality of this meal is its versatility: beyond its traditional morning role, it is an all-day delight. Whether a hearty breakfast, leisurely brunch, or afternoon snack, dim sum restaurants cater to every craving no matter the time of day.
Traditional Dim Sum Delights – A Symphony of Flavours & Textures
Dim sum in Singapore is a delectable dining affair. The bamboo steamers present a trove of treasures that represent the rich traditions of the region. These delicious creations are the masterpieces of expertly trained chefs and a testament to the cultural and historical significance of these dishes.
Xiao Long Bao
Xiao Long Bao – broth-filled steamed pork dumplings – hail from the Jiangnan region. Enjoy them by first dipping it in your saucer of vinegar and sliced ginger, then nibble a corner off the bottom of the dumpling, slurping up some of the warm broth within as you go.
Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) with its intricate pleats like radiant pearls enveloping fresh shrimp with a hint of ginger — a work of art that looks as good as it tastes.
Siu Mai (pork dumplings), a harmonious blend of ground pork and shiitake mushrooms, delivers a tasty explosion with every bite.
Char Siu Bao
Char Siu Bao (steamed pork barbecue buns) balances sweet and savoury flavours with succulent barbecue pork cradled in a pillowy bun.
More than mere meals, these delicacies celebrate an age-old culinary artistry. Every morsel invites a deeper dive into the history of flavours that dim sum has offered for ages.
Culinary Sophistication: Top Dim Sum Restaurants in Singapore
BLOSSOM: Exquisite Dishes With A Vegetarian Twist
BLOSSOM is an elegant Chinese restaurant in Singapore that marries the traditional and modern styles of Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine, including a variety of thoughtfully curated vegetarian options. At BLOSSOM, every dim sum dish perfectly blends traditional recipes and modern cooking methods and ingredients. The restaurant’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence is evident in every dish.
The Wagyu Pan Fried Buns are a fusion of rich textures and tastes – the marbled Wagyu beef melts in your mouth as you chow down on its crisp exterior. The Crispy Taro Puffs showcase the earthy, starchy sweetness of taro, elegantly wrapped in a light, flaky pastry that crumbles with each bite. A dim sum staple, the Crispy Egg Tarts are a classic delicacy. Each tart boasts a glossy custard centre that is both creamy and fragrant, nestled within a beautifully layered and crispy pastry shell. Experience it for yourself at this fine dining restaurant.
Canton Paradise: A Journey into Authentic Cantonese Flavours
At Canton Paradise, diners indulge in all-day dim sum alongside tender roast meats, nostalgic Hong Kong-style congee, and fragrant wok-fried Cantonese specialities.
One unmissable delight is their Signature Steamed Prawn Dumpling topped with Whole Abalone. The crown jewel is the perfectly cooked whole abalone – perched atop the dumpling like a luxurious badge of honour – complemented by the springy texture of the prawn.
At this chic, casual restaurant offering vegetarian food options, vegetarians can also enjoy a thoughtful selection of meat-free options brimming with the same authentic flavours, such as Hong Kong Street Style Steamed Rice Rolls with Sweet and Peanut Sauce. These velvety sheets of rice flour rolls draped in a lush mix of sweet and nutty goodness create a delicate dance of textures and tastes in every mouthful.
Ideal for couples and families, reserve a table to secure the best seats for a beautiful waterfront view, making the your meal at this top dim sum restaurant in Singapore even more memorable.
Din Tai Fung: Steaming Excellence Of Xiao Long Bao
Din Tai Fung is a gastronomic gem lauded as one of the world’s Top Ten Restaurants by the New York Times. They are famed for their exceptional dim sum offerings that have captured the hearts of foodies worldwide.
The Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings) stands as a testament to their chefs' mastery. As you pierce into its steamed translucent skin, the subtly seasoned broth gently flows out, oozing aromatic warmth. Each morsel is packed with a surge of deep, meaty richness infused with subtle notes of herbs and spices.
Another timeless classic is Oriental Wantons with Black Vinegar & Chilli Oil. Each wanton is skilfully wrapped in a layer of smooth, silky dough that hides a sumptuous, mild-flavoured filling. The real magic, however, lies in the sauce. The sharp tang of black vinegar melds with the fiery kick of chilli oil for an addictive fusion of flavours that will leave you wanting more.
Mott 32 Singapore: Elevating Traditional Cantonese Cuisine To New Heights Of Luxury
Mott 32, a beacon of culinary sophistication, elevates dim sum to a lavish affair. With its focus on the finest ingredients and meticulous craftsmanship, the restaurant offers modern Cantonese cuisine that is both delicious and visually appealing.
The dim sum menu boasts inventive takes on classics, such as the Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai. This delicate dish features a soft-boiled quail egg with a perfectly runny yolk. The meat is subtly accentuated by the truffle essence, resulting in an exceptional burst of flavours in every bite.
Another tantalising option is the Signature Crispy Sugar Coated Peking Duck Bun, a delightful twist on the traditional crispy char siu bun which infuses roasted Peking duck for a savoury surprise. Reserve a table at one of the top dim sum restaurants in Singapore.
Tim Ho Wan, one of Singapore’s Michelin-starred jewels, offers a laid-back and unassuming atmosphere that is reminiscent of its original Hong Kong location. Its prestigious recognition is well-deserved, with their simplest dim sum dish sure to surpass expectations. As each small plate unfolds its unique story, one can't help but appreciate the artistry and tradition deeply rooted in every bite.
A crowd favourite is the Baked BBQ Pork Buns, which has received countless rave reviews. As you sink your teeth into one, you will be treated to a buttery, crispy golden-brown crust that perfectly contrasts with the soft, pillowy interior. Then comes the true revelation: a generous filling of barbecued pork that's perfectly seasoned — sweet, savoury, and just a touch smoky.
Another crowd-pleaser is Har Gow. Delicate in form and preparation, this extraordinary dish contains plump shrimp bits bursting with natural sweetness complemented by the tender dumpling skin. Let your taste buds embark on a dim sum adventure in Singapore.
Dim Sum Decorum – A Blend Of Tradition And Respect
Dim sum is a social affair with dishes made for sharing. As you dine with others, it’s important to keep in mind some of the dining etiquette that accompanies dim sum.
Tea is an integral part of the dim sum dining experience. When the teapot is passed to you, pour tea for the people sitting closest to you first, starting with the eldest person, before moving on to yourself. When you are finished, leave the lid of the teapot ajar to signal to the server that you would like more tea.
Do not leave chopsticks standing up, as this is a symbol of death and mourning. Instead, lay them flat on the edge of your plate when not in use. When taking food or serving others, it is a common practice to use the serving chopsticks instead of your own to ensure hygiene.
Communal Dining Practices
Dim sum is typically eaten communally, so it is important to be mindful of your fellow diners. Always move an item from the communal dish to your own plate before eating. Do not take more food than you can eat, and do not leave food on your plate. It is considered common courtesy to offer the last piece of any dish to your fellow diners before taking it.
Elevate Your Dim Sum Experience in Singapore
High Tea Indulgence
Dim sum and high tea, both celebrated dining traditions, revolve around the enjoyment of bite-sized delights. Central to both traditions is enjoying the company of others and savouring the ritual of tea drinking.
After relishing your share of dim sum for breakfast or brunch, continue the festivities with at top high tea spots in Singapore. The delicate balance of savoury and sweet snacks mingles perfectly with the refined ambience of high tea settings.
As the fragrant memories of dim sum dishes linger, walk off the satisfying meal by exploring a shopper's paradise at The Shoppes. Home to countless flagship stores and over 170 luxury brands, The Shoppes offers an array of designer boutiques and sophisticated labels to explore and browse. The allure of fashion and lifestyle seamlessly intertwines with your refined dining experience, creating an endless day of indulgence.
Let’s Set Out On Your Culinary Journey
Exploring the world of dim sum can be a delicious adventure. Whether you're a seasoned food aficionado or a curious first-timer, Singapore's vibrant dining scene, complete with renowned restaurants, beckons with a promise of flavours waiting to be discovered.
After dining at one of the best dim sum restaurants in Singapore, consider exploring the world's leading integrated resort.