Swee Choon Tim Sum in Jalan Besar : Best Dimsum in Singapore?

Over lunch one day, my colleagues AH and IW suddenly asked me what are my favorite restaurants here in Singapore. I haven't been here long enough to try a lot of restaurants but this question somehow left me stumped me for a minute or so. As I was putting together my usual bowl of salad, I made use of the extra minute to think. Then I began telling them about my usual go-to places such as Poulet for good casual French food, Keisuke Ramen, Kamal's for the best Fried Chicken Briyani in town and Din Tai Fung whenever I'd crave for xiao long bao. Now, it was my turn to ask.

AH quickly named a couple of her favorites which were a mix of local and Chinese food spots and IW followed suit naming her go-to places as well. They have their own unique choices but I noticed that both of them named Swee Choon Tim Sum as their #1 favorite restaurant in Singapore. Add to the fact that D also went there recently and came back with non-stop raves about how yummy and affordable the dimsum items were. Then there's N, another colleague, who has also been telling me about Swee Choon for months already! Four positive testaments from food loving colleagues whose opinions I trust were enough to convince me to pay Swee Choon a visit right away.

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Luckily, the NKids were in the mood for a food trip recently and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to take them to Swee Choon for us to try it out together. The more, the merrier is the best strategy when having dimsum as this will allow you to order more without stuffing yourself silly. The search for Swee Choon wasn't easy though. The nearest MRT station would be Farrer Park but you will still have to walk for about 10 minutes or for another 500m to get to the restaurant. Paul and I took the bus and alighted along Serangoon Road where we had to brisk walk through several alleys before finally spotting Swee Choon. It was a good thing that C and I got there earlier and were able to get us a nice comfy table for 5.

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We got there a little before 7 and the entire place was packed! Mind you, the restaurant was big enough to fit more than a hundred hungry customers but all tables were occupied and there was a queue forming outside. Business was definitely in full swing here. The drill is to fill in your orders on the piece of order form provided on the table and to ring this old-fashioned bell when you're ready to hand your sheet in. Very organized!

Here's what we got that evening. I have to warn you that it's a LOT as all that walking made us hungry after:

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Har Kow (S$2.40 / 2 pieces)
Of course, what's a dimsum meal without having these delicate steamed prawn dimsum right? I love that Swee Choon's version had real prawns inside and none of those extenders. It was really good albeit a bit tiny to be thoroughly enjoyed. Obviously, one order is not enough for har kow lovers out there.

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Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun (S$3.90 / 3 pieces)
This just got to be the highlight of our meal. I initially wanted to enjoy this for dessert but since it came together with all our orders, then we must have this in between all the savory dishes. That's the 1st rule in enjoying Liu Sha Bao, enjoy it while it's piping hot to ensure that you get that runny salted egg "yolk" custard inside. This is definitely my definition of food nirvana.

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Yam Fritter (S$2 / 2 pieces)
Delicious deep-fried taro (yam) balls that's filled with savory minced meat. It was really good and definitely the most affordable one that I've ever had.

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Carrot Cake (S$2 / 2 pieces)
We just got one order as the 2 pieces of carrot cake was enough to be shared among the 5 of us. While it may come out to be a bit bland, the best way to enjoy this is to dip it into the garlic chili sauce provided.

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Swee Choon Mee-Suah Kueh (S$2.20 / 2 pieces)
This is one of Swee Choon's best-sellers but hearing comments from my colleagues, I realized that this is the kind that either you love it or you don't. It's a unique creation made of flour noodles (misua) and was deep-fried to give it a crisp texture. I personally loved it! It reminded me of the birthday misua that we would always have at home. While some may think that deep-frying the misua can make this a greasy mess, I'd be the first to tell you that it wasn't greasy at all and I happily enjoyed this very much.

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Beancurd Prawn Roll (S$3 / 2 pieces)
Deep-fried beancurd filled with mashed prawns. This was just a-okay for me.

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Prawn& Banana Fritter (S$2.80 / 2 pieces)
This was somehow an interesting twist to the traditional Fried Banana Fritters (Pisang Goreng) as you would get a mild savory taste from the prawn in every bite.

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While the flavor of the banana was definitely much more stronger, the over-all taste might need some getting used to. I'm not really wild about this though as it was a bit too oily for me.

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Portuguese Egg Tart (S$3 / 2 pieces)
Ohh... creamy egg tart with mouth-watering, buttery pastry shell. It was delicious that we began reminiscing about our respective Macau experiences and how this was good enough to match up to the ones we all had in Macau.

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Sichuan Chili Oil Wanton (S$4.30 / 4 pieces)
We loved this! The wanton had a good bite and the wrapper was firm enough that it wasn't falling apart when we'd pick a piece up with our chopsticks. The chili oil was just spicy enough to give the wanton an interesting character but not to the point of leaving your tongue numb and making you unable to enjoy the other dishes that follows this. I highly recommend this!

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Chive Pork Dumplings (S$4 / 4 pieces)
Quite boring as compared to all the delicious dimsum pieces that we had earlier. It was very safe and bland. Would still go for the Sichuan Chili Oil Wanton anyday.

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Layer Pancake with Egg & Meat Floss (S$4.30)
Okay, we got this at the last minute. In fact, we were ready to have dessert when C, I and O spotted this from our neighboring table. I'm so glad that we tried this as it was really good. The wrapper had a crepe-like texture and it's filled with salty meat floss and creamy scrambled egg. Yummy!

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Egg White Puff with Red Bean & Banana (S$4)
A very unique creation which is probably a healthier option since it just uses egg whites but I guess it's not for me. I wasn't too wild about the meringue-like consistency despite having a good mix of red beans and bananas inside.

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Deep Fried Shrimp Paste Chicken Wings (S$8)
We were all curious to try this and wondered if it's similar to our local Binagoonan Chicken which makes use of salted shrimp paste. For some reason though, we could hardly detect the shrimp paste. It simply tasted more like a good plate of fried chicken. Unfortunately, that's basically just it.

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Chicken Claw (S$3)
Not everyone is brave enough to have chicken claw or more popularly known in our community as Chicken Feet / Adidas . Not unless you grew up in a very Filipino-Chinese world like the 5 of us where Chicken Feet is as normal as the westerners having their burgers and fries. Swee Choon's version was pretty good but we would have preferred it to be a bit more spicy.

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For dessert, Paul and I had the Mango with Pomelo & Sago (S$3.50) which was okay but nothing quite spectacular about it. I wasn't too crazy about the slight bitter aftertaste brought about by the pomelo.

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O was really adventurous and tried the Chilled Botak Coconut Pudding (S$4.80) which turned out to be the winning dessert choice that evening. It was very refreshing and the silky coconut pudding was truly a pleasant revelation! I'm definitely getting this on my next visit.

We had a dimsum feast at Swee Choon and I'm so glad to finally dine here. While there were some misses, I have to say that the repeated hits truly made our dinner pretty amazing. I heard that aside from Swee Choon Tim Sum, there's another dimsum place vying for the Best Dimsum in Singapore crown as well. I shall give that a try then!

How about you? Is Swee Choon Tim Sum the best dimsum restaurant in Singapore for you? Tell me what you think below!

Visit Swee Choon Tim Sum at 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore. It opens at 6PM till 4AM from Wednesdays to Mondays (closed on Tuesdays). Reservation is not allowed so be sure to be there before 6PM. Payment is only through cash or NETS

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