Royal China: Best dim sum in Singapore!

Royal China @ Raffles exudes the prestige and grandeur as the famous colonial Raffles Hotel. Housed in the 3rd level of the hotel, Royal China definitely strikes out to be a cut-above-the-rest with its impressive name, and location. Having heard rave reviews about Royal China’s dim sum, it was about time that I patronised the restaurant, and boy I was charmed.

I decided to go against the norm this time round, usually i’ll write out my conclusion at the end, but Royal China isn’t any normal restaurant serving run-of-the-mill dim sum. I’ll rate them in the same league as Yan Ting, but definitely cheaper. Given the varsity in prices, I say Royal China certainly serves the best dim sum among the places i tried so far.

You can be forgiven if you think that Royal China comes with some Chinese background since the name China indirectly implied the meaning. In fact, The Royal China group is eminent in London, and the foray into Shanghai was just a recent event. Royal China @ Raffles remains the exclusive restaurant in the whole of South-east Asia.

Stepping into Royal China, the contemporary interior which comes in wave of ocean blue makes it a swanky restaurant. No doubt you wouldn’t believe this was actually a Chinese restaurant, and i must say I enjoyed the ambience as it’s very different from the traditional red and gold setting which you find in Chinese restaurants. The blue and white backdrop ooze a certain calm and tranquil, which made you feel right at home.

Baked Barbecued pork puff ($4 for 3)

The baked barbecued pork puff or char siew sou, was definitely the must-order dim sum at Royal China. Within the flaky, crispy pastry skin was the most delicious, sweet and juicy char siew that you could find. I regretted not having second serving of this, the next time round, i’ll have one basket for myself!

The best char siew sou that i tried so far was at Yan Ting, and Royal China’s rendition is certainly on-par with that. The thought of the excellent BBQ pork puff is enough for me to make a perennial return.

Steamed pork dumpling ($4.80 for 4)

Making a strong case for Royal China, the steamed pork dumpling, or siew mai was also another staple in the menu. Like most siew mai, the beautiful red roe adorns the top, and how can you not order this when you are having dim sum!

Steamed prawn dumpling ($4.80 for 4)

As with most, if not all good steamed prawn dumplings, a whole fresh and luscious prawn shroud within the thin and light skin had the right amount of bite. And at $1.20 each, they are really worth the money, compared with the ones at Peach Garden which are higher in price.

Steamed BBQ pork buns ($3.60 for 3)

Like i mentioned before, I love to eat char siew buns from Chinese restaurants because they are usually in three parts which have gaps to tease you with the char siew fillings. And at $1.20 each, I’ll rather have one of these any time over the sub-standard buns elsewhere.

Steamed seafood roll with minced garlic ($4.80 for 2)

Coming on the recommendation of the staff, the steamed seafood roll with minced garlic was one of the more expensive dim sum at Royal China. Each basket only serves two person, nevertheless, each serving came in the form of a huge crunchy prawn wrapped around wisp of noodles. An interesting and novelty take.

Carrot cake with preserved meat ($4 for 1)

There wasn’t anything fantastic with the carrot cake here, No complications of XO sauce, no carrot cake wannabe cheong fun just a good and reliable portion of the dish which we are all familiar with.

Glutinous rice in lotus leaf ($4.80 for 2)

We decided to have just one basket of the Glutinous rice not because it wasn’t good, but rice makes you full easily, and we wanted to keep our stomach for the other delectable dim sum. The rice was enhanced with the fragrant emitted by the lotus leaf.

Royal China Cheong fun ($4.80 for 3 rolls)

We had the Royal China Cheong fun, which was a combination of the three different ingredients, namely, prawn, char siew and scallop. You can also get just one of the ingredient in a serving, but since we wanted to try all three, this was a good choice.

The cheong fun rice rolls were silky-smooth, and encompassing within were fresh scallops, crunchy prawns and juicy char siew. I couldn’t quite decide which ingredient was better, but i’m leaning towards the crunchy prawns.

String beans crystal dumpling in chilli oil ($3.6 for 1)

This was the only upset from the otherwise perfect meal at Royal China. Coming as a last minute before the last order at 2.45pm (lunch’s from 12-3pm), the staff told us this was special because not many places uses string beans in dim sum. And i agreed, only with the part that you seldom see string beans.

The string bean crystal dumplings had fillings of string beans, and soaked in chilli oil. We did not like the combination, the chilli oil was too spicy and oily. But being the nice people, we didn’t want to waste food, so we took one each and gulped it down.

Deep fried prawn dumpling served with Mayo ($4.80 for 3)

Another of the last minute order, the deep fried prawn dumpling fared better than the string bean crystal dumpling. Covered with almonds, the inside was minced prawn. My friend was looking out for the big prawn which was evident in the prawn dumpling, and the seafood roll. But the prawn here was minced nicely and filled in the dumpling instead.

Baked duck meat roll in Portuguese sauce ($4.80 for 3)

The baked duck meat roll was also on the recommendations of the staff, it came as a surprise to us when it arrived, looking like meat roll dipped in curry-like colour sauce. In fact, it was Portuguese sauce, now i’m not too sure what exactly was Portuguese sauce, but the flavour was too strong, and overwhelmed the duck meat roll.

But eaten without the Portuguese sauce, the duck meat roll on its roll was actually quite good. The fillings were generous within the roll, pity the Portuguese sauce though.

Total Bill was $95.10 for 5 people. Most of the earlier dim sum that we ordered came in 6 portions because another friend didn’t come in the eleventh minute. I listed out the normal pricing for the standard pieces of dim sum available so as not to confuse you. You could also do it like us, say you have 5 people order 5 pieces instead of getting two basket of 3 each.

Prices are reasonable given the quality of the dim sum. We paid about $19 per person, definitely not expensive, but we didn’t exactly eat a lot, one of each dim sum. I preferred to appreciate each piece of quality dim sum than to gorge myself silly with a lot of sub-standards one.

Dim sum at Royal China was an excellent one, standards are comparable to Yan Ting, yet prices are cheaper than the latter. There are some other dim sum which i haven’t try, and a perennial return looks to be a certainty, and I’ll definitely recommend Royal China if you are looking for good dim sum. The restaurant’s also famous for their lobster noodles, but unless you got deep pockets, i suggest you stick to the dim sum. See you there!

Royal China
1 Beach Road
#03-09 Raffles Hotel
Tel: 6338 3363

Royal China is listed as one of ladyironchef’s favorite restaurants in Singapore

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You all really ate very little. Me and my gf ate the same amount as the 5 of you lol :P
IMHO, best dim sum should be graded on the taste alone and price shouldn’t factor in, unless you are talking about value for money.


fatpigs last blog post..Yella Fellas

Great photos, LIC! Been wanting to try Royal China, but hubby keeps saying not nice, so I never got to come here.

The babyblue decor also looks unusual. I prefer the place before they renovated. Was Empress Room or something like that. Yeah, traditional red and black, I think. But I guess this one grows on you.

Camemberus last blog post..Homemade cereal prawns

fatpig: hahaha, will eat more on my next visit to Royal China.

Camemberu: You should definitely go and try Royal China! Yep, the baby blue colour does seems quite unusual initially, but i guess its rather special given a Chinese restaurant.

foodiegymmie: haha! cheers! eat more and train more : )

yixiao: lol! we can all go together, i certainly don’t mind going back to Royal China again

Foodiequeen: I went one month ago, but was too busy posting my back dated post, so only posted it now. lol!

keropokman: haha! let me know when u try the London one yeah

Christy: haha! Royal China’s more high-end, but the dim sum still rather reasonable priced.

Elvadrieng: haha! same as my friend, she took out all the prawns that time we ate here.

Shayna: yeah took me a while to write this. Lets go next time : )

Oh didn’t know that they opened a branch in Sg.

Even celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tried being a apprentice there for a day and he the young head chef there gave him a 5/10 for his new dumpling creation later in the day. He was shocked that it’s not going to be in the restaurant’s special that night.

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  • I will definitely try this when I’m in Singapore. I love Royal China in London (I paid a long homage about it in my blog and I’m glad you also like the BBQ Pork Puffs. Theirs are amazing.

    I’m so curious to know their motivation for opening up in Singapore. Raffles some more! Very brave.

    V: yeah royal china is really good, they have been in Singapore for a few years already, and i think this year they just opened another branch in Shanghai too!

    i’m finally going this thurs!! Have set my expectations pretty high after dis entry of urs. Hope it doesn’t disappoint! Lookin 4ward =)

    Hell no! This is the WORST dim sum restaurant ever in terms of service. The food was reasonable and well made but the service is absolutely shit.

    Our teapot was taken away for a refill and never returned until I pester a server half an hour later.

    One order of chive dumpling did NOT arrive until we have finished our meal DESPITE asking 4 different waitresses to follow up. I even overheard one ask the other in cantonese ‘Wah, they have finished their meal, now then you brought it out’. To which the pudgy face and body waitress replied ‘I don’t really care’.

    When I confronted her why it took so long to serve the chive dumplings her only, and sole response was ‘Don’t want, cancel’. Not an apology.

    So, if you think that you can put up with BAD BAD BAD service for okay food then please go ahead. I will bad mouth this restaurant to each and every one until they buck up their service.

    And yes, I do have the name of that horrid waitress but I won’t reveal who she is as I don’t want to cost her the job. Then again, if she is so unhappy, maybe she is in the wrong job.


    xiix: Thanks for sharing your experience, when i went there on a few occasions, the service was quite acceptable. It was slightly slow since the restaurant is very crowded, but i thought it was still ok.

    You should have ask the manager over and tell him/her nicely what has happened, i think it’s only fair to the restaurant so that they know what happen and hopefully can improve on it : )

    Thanks Brad, in hindsight I should have but I was boiling with anger and just paid and left. If the restaurant was busy then yes, it is forgiveable but it was half full. Another customer tried to pay his bills and it took half an hour before that sourpuss faced waitress with the horrible attitude gave him his bill (he, like me and friends, were unfortunate enough to be in her area).

    I have a reason to be pissed as I reside in the UK and frequent Royal China quite a bit here and the service is much better and not so stuck up.

    Tragic the way service in Singapore has become :( , very sad.

    Xiix: Yeah i know exactly how it feels, sometimes the poor service just make you so angry, and don’t really want to bother doing anything about it.

    I haven been back for a while, maybe i will go and check it out to see if it has the same problem. A restaurant has the duty to train its staff well, but sometimes we have to understand from their perspective that it’s not easy to run a business, and there are always black sheep around – so it’s not entirely fair to judge a restaurant base on the action of one staff.

    Yeah i know right, service in Singapore is not very good, people don’t take pride in their work, but i think this has to do partly with the wages system too, restaurants are not able to pay well enough, and there’s no tipping system to encourage serving staff to perform better (even the 10% service charge goes to the restaurant).

    Are you in Singapore or UK now? you should try Yanting, the service is very good, and their dim sum is one of the best in Singapore too! : )

    Oh I am back in the UK now :) but thanks to you, I have been to Yanting and the food is nice and service not too bad!

    If you ever come to London,UK, must go try dim sum at plum valley in Chinatown. Their foie gras xiao longbao is divine! Another one is Hao Zhan ( but their dim sum stops at 530pm. Very interesting take on dim sum… …

    Of course, there is yauatcha ( to try as well. It has got 1 Michelin Star but as with most Alan Yau’s restaurant, the service staff are good looking but snobbish.

    AND, if you can get a reservation, Hakkasan is a must!

    The above restaurants all charge an extra 10% – 12.5% for service but it goes to the staff, unlike the con job in Singapore.

    Have you also noticed how CESS is GST taxed and 10% service taxed as well in some bills in Singapore? I think that is criminal but no one dare make noise about it. Grrr!!

    The other one

    Yeah,its very nice!Last time went there and was very satisfied!Although didn’t get to eat all of the dim sum,got to eat most of them.The siew mai is very nice, the char siew bao’s delicious!Espacially that I like to eat prawn meat.:)Want to go there 45 times a year!(wanted 78 but a bit too expensive!:))

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