1. Red Star Restaurant
One of the few places in Singapore where one can have dim sum the traditional way – displayed and “promoted” on push carts – Red Star was opened in 1974 by four local masterchefs who were collectively known as the culinary Heavenly Kings back in the 60s and 70s. Besides a large variety of dim sum, this restaurant also serves up affordable, authentic Cantonese fare and a good dose of nostalgia with its charmingly aged decor and elderly servers.
At Block 54, Chin Swee Road, #07-23, Singapore 160054, tel: 6532 5266. Visit their website for more information.
2. Lei Garden
Founded by chief executive officer Chan Shu Kit, who opened the first restaurant in 1973 in Hong Kong, you can expect the Cantonese food here to be très authentic. The one Michelin-star restaurant at Chijmes is well known for humble fare done very well, such as its Cantonese roast meats (char siew and crispy skin roast pork), as well as more decadent items such as the Double Boiled American Sea Whelk Soup with Common Yam Rhizome and Wolfberries Soup.
What’s also interesting – and heartening – is that Lei Garden has a farm-to-table system in place, which ensures a sufficient supply of quality ingredients at its restaurants. It has at least three eco-farms in China and New Zealand, which rear pigs and chickens, and which cultivate fruits and vegetables with organic fertilisers. Overall, an excellent place to bring the family on the most special occasions.
At #01-24 Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996, tel: 6339 3822. Visit their website for more information.
3. Ka-Soh/Swee Kee
With a rich history dating back to the 1930s, Ka Soh, also known as Swee Kee Fish Head Noodle House, is a family-owned establishment that’s famous for its fragrant Prawn Paste Chicken and Sliced Fish Noodle Soup. The latter is still cooked in the traditional style today in all of Ka Soh’s branches here and overseas (Indonesia and Malaysia).
First, snakehead fish bones are deep fried before being incorporated with other ingredients to form a base for the stock. Cooked for hours until a white milky liquid is formed – no evaporated milk is added – the stock, is enhanced with Chinese wine and paired simply with rice noodles and crunchy vegetables.
At 2 College Road (Alumni Medical Centre), Singapore 169850, tel: 6473 6686 and two other locations. Visit their website for more information.
4. Wah Lok
Don’t be distracted by its elegantly modern but very much Western-styled entrance and interior. When it comes to food, this award-winning Chinese restaurant, established in 1988, is decidedly Cantonese. Its must-tries, which range from the traditional to modern, include the double-boiled whole yellow melon soup with mixed seafood (served in a scooped-out melon), lobster mee sua, baked barbecued pork buns, braised bird’s nest wrapped in egg white in red carrot soup and roasted pork. Authentic dim sum is available during lunch.
At Carlton Hotel Singapore, 76 Bras Basah, Singapore 189558, tel: 6311 8188/8189. Visit their website for more information.
5. Lai Wah
Opened in 1963, it is said that it was at Lai Wah that the Chinese New Year tradition of Yu-Sheng was first started. Interestingly, Lai Wah also lays claim to being the originator of chilli crab as we know it today. Located on the first floor of a HDB block, this unassuming restaurant is still decorated simply, exuding a cosy homestyle vibe.
Expect service that’s uncomplicated and unfussy, paired with simple food that showcases the freshness of the ingredients and the expertise of the wok master. Besides Lai Wah’s calling card dishes, must-tries here include the crispy roasted chicken, stir-fried broccoli and cauliflower, and sweet and sour pork.
At Blk 44, Bendemeer Road, #01-1436, Singapore 330044, tel: 6294 9922/6298 4460. Visit their website for more information.
6. Kok Sen
If you’re craving Cantonese zi char dishes, this eatery – packed during peak hours on weekdays and on weekends – is the place to head to. Families and groups come here for the Big Prawns Hor Fun – it can be seen on almost every table. Packed with wok hei, a super umami broth covers broad rice noodles and large prawns, making for a comforting carb main dish. Complement it with the equally popular prawn paste chicken and claypot yong tau foo. Don’t expect refined service here – just honest, good food at reasonable pieces and clean surroundings.
At 30 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089137, tel: 6223 2005.
READ MORE: 10 Zi Char Dishes You Can Easily Cook At Home For Weeknight Dinners
7. Gim Tim
Located in Ang Mo Kio, one of the most established HDB neighbourhoods in Singapore, Gim Tim, in operation since 1989, is the place to head to if you seek an experience that satisfies both sides of a blended Chinese family: Cantonese and Hokkien. Its house specialities include Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, Salted Kampong Chicken, Steamed Garoupa with Preserved Vegetables and Minced Pork, Sauteed Fresh Scallop with Preserved Olive Vegetables, Crispy Suckling Pig and Sweetened Taro Paste with Gingko Nuts, all served in a cosy atmosphere.
At Blk 157, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, #01-546, Singapore 560157, tel: 6459 7766. Visit their website for more information.
8. Prima Tower Revolving Restaurant
Just like the lazy susans that you’ll probably encounter at the restaurant – and others in this list – the restaurant swivels around a stationary core section, giving diners a refreshing changing bird’s eye view of Mount Faber, Sentosa and the nearby port operations.
As the only revolving restaurant in Singapore today, it was established in 1977 with a kitchen led by Hong Kong Master Chef Chan Sung Og, who has over 30 years of experience in the business. Though it offers other Chinese items such as Peking Duck as well, its signature Cantonese dishes include Shredded Scallops with Fish & White Egg and a variety of dim sum.
At 201 Keppel Road, Singapore 099419, tel: 6272 8822/8988. Visit there website for more information.
9. Summer Pavilion
Located at the glitzy Ritz Carlton, one Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion is the place to head to if you’re celebrating a big occasion. Offering authentic Cantonese cuisine in a sophisticated setting – we’re talking hand-painted tableware, exquisite private dining rooms and a tea salon offering specialty selections from well-known purveyor Tea Bone Zen Mind – a trip to this restaurant demands some serious dressing up (great for the kids to practise their manners too!).
Its chef’s recommendations include Summer Pavilion Monk Jump Over The Wall; Pan-fried Japanese Wagyu Beef with Wild Mushroom; and Poached Rice with Canadian Lobster Meat.
At The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039799, tel: 6434 5286. Visit their website for more information.
10. Yan Ting
Located at the luxurious St Regis, this is another suitable restaurant for celebrating those special occasions as a family. Though dishes are presented in a delicate and refined manner, the fire which traditional Cantonese cooking is known for is not diminished here.
Favourites include Steamed Marble Goby Soon Hock Fish Served With Bean Curd And Seasonal Greens, Braised Lobster Broth With Crab Meat In 8-Hour Golden Broth and Stir-Fried Kurobuta Pork With Sliced Garlic And Scallions. If you want something more casual but no less refined, try the Weekend Dim Sum Brunch, with options for free-flow champagne, beer, wines, soft drinks, juices and Chinese tea.
At 29 Tanglin Road, The St. Regis Singapore, Level 1U, Singapore 247911, tel: 6506 6887. Visit their website for more information.
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