Happy 48th National Day Singapore! For all Singaporeans, let us all reaffirm our own individual meanings of what it is to be Singaporean. For those who are overseas, remember that his is home truly, where I know I must be. And for all of us here in Singapore, let’s take some time to reflect what we have did for ourselves, our families, our community and our nation all these years. My island home, there is no place I would rather be.
Mention midnight dim sum, and patrons who know will probably mention Swee Choon. Swee Choon’s late operating hours has always been a draw for supper crowds. As the restaurant opens from 6pm to 6am from Wednesday to Monday, this is probably one of the best places to visit for that late night dim sum craving. Founded almost 50 years ago, Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant is located at Jalan Besar, just a short distance from the heart of Little India. It features a variety of Hong Kong and Shanghai dim sum selections, and is well known for its innovative dishes as well as freshly prepared La Main. The biggest draw for me after my visit? Definitely the mouthwatering explosive Liu Sha Bao. There’s something about a sweet salty fragrance in runny custard that is particularly attractive when enjoyed piping hot.
Dim Sum at Swee Choon is moderately priced from a $1.60 onwards. The classic selection of popular favourites such as Siew Mai, Har Gao, Guo Tie, Feng Jiao, Pai Gu and Xiao Long Bao is available but there are notable takes such as the Swee Choon Mee Suah Kueh and even the Egg White Puff with Red Bean and Banana. On a whole, I would say that dining at Swee Choon was a heartwarming experience with a decent selection of dim sum, and a few classics that really shine.
I have to admit this is one of the best Liu Sha Baos to date. The Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun ($3 for 3) is the highlight of the table where the custard, in all its runny glory, oozes out easily. There is good harmony between the sweet and salty textures, with a bun skin that is not too thick. It reminded me of the Liu Sha Baos from Peach Garden in my visit a few years back. The caveat about enjoying Liu Sha Baos is that they must be enjoyed hot for maximum pleasure. I once had take away salted egg yolk custard buns, and they were definitely not the same.
The dim sum restaurant recommended signatures include the Xiao Long Bao, Char Siew Bao and Portugese egg tarts. The Shanghai Xiao Long Bao ($3.80 for 4) was a miss for me. The skin was slightly too thick for my liking, while the broth was a little thin. It depends on your personal preference but I would say that these were ok, just not fantastic. My ideal xiao long bao (and I really mean ideal) comes from an extremely thin skin, hot piping broth and savoury stuffing all in a single package.
The Swee Choon Mee Suah Kueh ($2 for 2) is probably the first time I’ve seen or heard dim sum in this fashion. While this dish is not new in family circles, I admit that this was a refreshing dim sum item for me. The deep fried vermicelli kueh is a thorough play on textural contrast, crispy on the outside, yet soft within. The light refreshing yet heart flavours that slowly develop in sweetness in the mouth is a delight not to be missed.
The fried Carrot Cake ($1.80 for 2) was pretty decent with a strong flavour that spark thoughts of sweet shrimp and savoury meats. The crisp skin is a delight and the portion generous, quickly filling you up.
The Portuguese Egg Tarts ($2.60 for 2) were pretty decent with its flaky skin and egg custard centre.
Most unique for me had to be the Egg White Puff with Red Bean and Banana. Egg White Skin with stuffing of sweet red bean and slightly caramelized banana make this an interesting dessert of sweetness combined in a single sitting. I would almost say that this is an acquired taste.
Aloysius, me, Timothy, Kin Mun
Michelle, Jessica, Bee Hui
Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant is the place to be at if you have that midnight hunger pangs for dim sum, or if you are just planning a night cycling route with food stops along the way. There are hits and misses, with certain regular items standing out more than the outlet’s specialties. That said, the flavour and experience of food is a subjective journey. Contextualise the setting with friends for a night’s out, and this might just be the place to be for a good spread of dishes at reasonable prices for all to enjoy.
|Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant
187/189/191 Jalan Besar
Tel: 6225 7788
Wednesday to Monday 6pm to 6am