Yi Dian Xin, Neighbourhood Dim Sum at Neighbourhood Price

Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum (一点心港式点心)

Address (Google Map): 1012 Upper Serangoon Road

Opening hours: 7.00am to 6.00pm daily and closed on alternate Tuesdays

Introduction

Yi Dian Xin is the fuss-free no frill Dim Sum situated in a coffee shop along Upper Serangoon Road, which is within walking distance from Kovan MRT. The most expensive item on their menu is only $3.50 nett, which is their Rice Roll with Prawn. It was said that the person behind this stall is an ex-chef from Tung Lok Restaurant at East Coast.

Their opening hours is not exactly easy to meet especially for the working class so the only chance i have is to visit on weekends. I visited this place a couple of times and my favourite are their Steamed Carrot Cake and their Signature Salted Egg Custard Bun.

Menu 26 May 2014: Click to enlarge

Signature Salted Egg Custard Bun (S$3.30 for 3 pcs)

At only S$3.30 nett, this should be one of the most value-for-money Custard Bun in Singapore. This bite size Custard Bun really packs a punch in it’s flavour with over-flowing molten custard.

The custard is milky smooth with only a tinge of salted egg yolk taste (for those who like heavy egg yolk taste, you may be a little disappointed). The thing i like about this custard is it’s not overly sweet so there’s always stomach for a second or third serving. This is definitely my must-order.

Steamed Carrot Cake (S$2.20)

Yi Dian Xin’s offers an old-school style(古早味) carrot cake and i love this dish for the small chunks of radish that is added into the soft and melt-in-your-mouth carrot cake. I thought carrot cake with such taste is already not commonly found in Singapore. The dried shrimps that are added to it gives the carrot cake another dimension of taste and the special soy sauce complete the dish with a slight sweet and savoury taste. This is another of my must-order.

Char Siew Bao (S$2.00 for 2 pcs)

I like the fluffy and spongy bun and it’s texture and i thought they can be more generous with their filling and it’s a little dry.

Xiao Long Bao (S$2.80 for 3 pcs)

Their Xiao Long Bao is OK. Skin is a little thick but the soup within the Dumpling is not bad. At S$2.80, chin chai jiak la~

Beancurd Roll in Oyster Sauce (S$2.40)

Although the beancurd skin and oyster sauce is nice, i thought the flavour of the minced meat paste is a little lacking.

Har Gow ($3.30 for 3 pcs) and Siew Mai (S$2.80 for 3 pcs)

There is nothing much to shout about for their Siew Mai and Har Gow that is average despite the “thumbs up” sign on their menu. But one thing that is commendable is the  fresh ingredient used and it is especially evident through the bouncy texture of the prawn.

Rice Roll with Char Siew BBQ Pork (S$2.50)

Yi Dian Xin’s Rice Roll is a fusion of Hong Kong style Chang Fen and our Singapore’s Zhu Chang Fen. This rice roll skin is thicker like our Singapore’s style and it’s served with Hong Kong Style Soy Sauce. I thought i still prefer the soft Hong Kong style rice roll when it comes to Dim Sum.

Conclusion

Yi Dian Xin is clearly one of the most value for money Dim Sum in the North East region. If you ask me whether is it worth it to travel all the way from the west to Yi Dian Xin, my answer will be “not really”. However, if you are nearby, i thought it’s worth the travel for their two items – Steamed Carrot Cake and their Liu Sha Bao. There is a afforable place to satisfy your craving for Dim Sum and Liu Sha Bao.

Apart from that, i think some items were average and the next attraction is for it’s reasonable price. All prices shown in the menu is nett price so if we convert it to a restaurant price format, their Salted Egg Custard Pau is only $2.80++, the steamed carrot cake at $1.88++ and fried prawn dumpling is $2.50++ only.

And why i like this place? The coffee shop is not bursting with crowd even on weekend so it is a rather good place to chill, and to enjoy a piping hot Dim Sum meal while indulging in a cup of Teh-C Kosong.

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Good Food at Hainanese Village Food Centre

Hainanese Village Food Centre

Address: Blk 105, Hougang Ave 1

Hainanese Village Food Centre is a very popular makan place in the Hougang area, especially during the weekend. Like any other hawker centre in Singapore (except for the Kopitiam Square in Sengkang), there are lots of good hawker stalls. My mission is to try out these reputable stalls and let’s see why are these stall so popular, or not.

Hup Huat White Carrot Cake  (合发白萝卜糕)

Opening hours: 6.30am to 12.30pm (Closed Mon & Thu)

Hup Huat hawker stall is one of the few that serves only white carrot cake. The most distinct taste about this carrot cake is for it’s very crispy exterior. I can see that the hawker actually prepares each plate of carrot cake with care as he skillfully splits the big pan of carrot cake into smaller rectangular portion and to be pan fried to crisp.

From my observation, unlike some crispy fried oyster egg that is soaked and fried in oil, the oil that this hawker used is significantly lesser, and it does not taste too greasy as well.

I like this stall for their generous serving of eggs that holds the carrot cake together and this may be one of reasons why this carrot cake is so crispy. The unique thing about Hup Huat White Carrot Cake is their chilli is not stir-fried with the carrot cake but is spread onto the top surface of the carrot cake like how butter is spread on a toast.

If there is one area that can be better, i think they can consider sprinkling more Chye Poh (preserved radish) into the carrot cake. There is a $2.00 and $3.00 option and mine was the $3.00 portion.

Da Zhong Cafe (大衆茶室) – Coffee & Traditional Toast

Operating hours: 5:00am – 2:00pm

Very well know for their great tasting coffee at economical price. Their coffee gives off a very strong coffee aroma that is not usually found in ordinary food court coffee and it’s not because they purposely made the coffee “gao” (thick). Da Zhong prepares their own coffee mixture and sent them for grinding to powder form.

Generous serving of salted butter in their toast is one of my reasons to patronize this stall. This stall started their business in the 1970s before relocating to Hougang in 1983 with more than 30 years of coffee making experience.

Yi Liu Xiang Nasi Lemak (一流香) – Nasi Lemak

Operating hours: 6.30 am to 12pm. Closed on Mon and Thu.

The most prominent hawker stall with the longest queue in the morning. Unlike many Nasi Lemak stall, the main attraction for this Nasi Lemak stall is not chicken wing (in fact they don’t even offer chicken wing) but for their well flavoured Kuning fish. The fish is fresh, well-fried and yet the meat remains moist and tender. Ikan bilis is the non-sugar-coated version and chilli is less sweet than a typical Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli.

Price for a plate of Nasi Lemak cost me $2.50 for Omelette, Kuning Fish, Ikan Bilis and Chilli Sambal. Not exactly cheap for the kind of ingredient offered but I like their Nasi Lemak for it’s distinct taste of coconut milk fragrance.

Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee

Opening hours: Tue to Sun, Closed on Monday

This is the stall that always has a constant queue at Hainanese Village Food Centre. The best thing i like about this Lor Mee is they replaced the braised pork belly to a healthier shredded braised duck meat. It comes with a $2.50 or $3.00 option and a bowl of $3.00 noodle comes with plenty of condiments like braised egg, dish cakes and two kinds of Gnor Hiong (bean curd skin meat roll) and of course the shredded duck.

The gravy is not starchy and very flavorful to an extend of some people may find it a little salty. But it works fine for me. Queuing up for 30 minutes on weekends is a norm to be able to enjoy a bowl of Lorong Ah Soo Noodle. This stall has some mixed reviews online for it’s taste. I personally like it but probably will not queue up for half an hour for this Lor Mee as there are many other good options in Hainanese Village Hawker Centre. If the wait is only 15 minutes, then this works for me.

Dong Jin Yuan Dian Xin (东津园点心) – Fried Carrot Cake Stick

This stall offers fresh piping hot Carrot cake Sticks at $2 for 16 pieces. I ordered this a couple of time and the carrot cake sticks are warm at a minimum while retaining it’s crispness.

Best when the carrot cake Sticks are served right from the frying wok! Super crispy exterior and the inside is still soft and chewy. Fried Carrot Cake Sticks is one of many people’s favourite hawker food that is slowly disappearing from Singapore. There is a “Stall for Rent” sign pasted on the front of the stall. Better eat this while you can!

Worthy Mention: Lai Xing Cooked Food (来兴熟食) – Kway Chap

Opening hours: 6.30am to 1.30pm closed on Mondays and alternate Tuesdays

I am aware that there are a few good Kway Chap still in Hainanese Village Food Centre. What actually attracted me to patronize this particular Kway Chap is actually the old lady who is preparing the Kway Chap. She looks like she is already in her 70s and yet looks so fighting fit and so resilient. Really hats off to her.

Best thing i like about Lai Xing’s Kway Chap? Lai Xing’s Kway is very soft and thin which absorbs the soup easily which makes the Kway really flavorful. I do hope that there was more soup though.

Their pig intestine is very well marinated. Though it’s not the best pig intestine around, but this intestine taste very clean. It’s not tough but yet retains it’s springiness. I was also quite surprised by their lean meat. Most lean meat should be rather dry and tough but Lai Xing’s is tender and full of flavor.

<Punggol Noodle – 7.00am to 2.00pm Closed on Sun>

To be completed

Conclusion

This is not exactly the conclusion cus i will be going back to try the Cripsy Carrot Cake, the so-call overrated Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee and apparently there is another Kway Chap that is quite popular in Hainanese Village Food Centre.

I have always been proud of our Singapore’s hawker food culture so i think it is important to support our hawker food and as well as writing reviews on them to share these information instead of only cafes and restaurants.

If i can only have an option to choose between having hawker food or restaurant food for the rest of my life, i guess i am someone who will choose hawker food.

Feel free to suggest any stall at Hainanese Village Food Centre that you find it’s worth the eat!

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant 瑞春点心 @ Jalan Besar

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant @ Jalan Besar

Address: 183/185/187/189/191 Jalan Besar

Operating hours:  Mon to Sun 6.00 pm – 6.00 am, close on Tue

Introduction

This place was introduced by a friend a couple of years ago which is one of her favorite supper place. Since then, Swee Choon Dim Sum will always be on my mind if i am looking for a decent Dim Sum in this area.

Apart from offering more than one hundred food and drink items on their menu, Swee Choon’s Dim Sum price is also very reasonable. Typically there is some waiting time needed during dinner time, but i thought the queue was moving quite fast.

Here is the full menu with indicated price:

Click on photo to enlarge

Signature Mee Sua Kueh (x 02 pcs) – S$2.00

Swee Choon’s Mee Sua Kueh is on my must-order list and will order it whenever i visit this place. Instead of normal pan-fried carrot cake, this Kueh was made with Mee Sua (salted chinese noodles) and the surface is pan-fried till crispy. The Mee Sua is not just plain Mee Sua but was flavored and fried with meat pieces in it. Definitely their signature dish!

Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun ( x 03 pcs) – S$3.60

This is also my must-order dish from Swee Choon! At S$3.60, the price is rather reasonable for three pieces of Custard Buns. Their molten custard is not ridiculously sweet and the salted egg yolk taste is just right, not too overpowering.

These buns were always served piping hot and be sure not to scald yourself! Some of my friends said “You have never been to Swee Choon until you try their Custard Bun”.

Layer Pancake with Egg and Meat Floss ( one plate) – S$3.50

This is also one of my favorites – A thin layer of pancake wrapped around a layer of egg, crunchy cucumber and crispy pork floss. I thought this is like a poor man’s version of Peking Duck.

Siew Mai ( x 02 pcs) – S$1.80

Their Siew Mai is the coffee-shop old school style Siew Mai (Pork Dumpling) with a bit of minced prawn meat and not those typical Dim Sum Siew Mai that has chunks of prawn meat in it. This Siew Mai, and their Har Kow (Prawn Dumpling) can be found on almost every table in Swee Choon. I cast one vote for this old school style pork Siew Mai over those filled with prawn. If i really want to have prawn, i will just order the Har Kow instead.

Red Bean Paste Pan Cake – S$4.80 | Fan Choy (BBQ Pork Rice) – S$2.50 | Mai Kai (Glutinous Chicken Rice) – S$2.50

Red Bean Paste Pan Cake is slightly pricey at S$4.80. But i rather enjoyed the freshly made, hot and crispy pancake.

Fan Choy’s BBQ Pork is lean and flavorful. Those who love fatty Char Siew may find this dish lack of the fragrance of the oily pork. But this Fan Choy is almost one of the better ones around.

As for their Law Mai Gai, I thought the taste is a little lacking and the chicken is a little dry and i think there is a tinge of rose essence which i don’t really fancy.

Fried Chicken Wing – S$1.50 | Xiao Long Bao (4 pcs – $4.00) | Steamed Chicken with Egg – $2.50

Piping hot chicken wing can never go wrong. But to be frank, the taste of this chicken wing is nothing much to shout about. Not exactly a must-order.

Xiao Long Bao – Very worth it S$4.00 for 4 pieces. Even though the soup in the Xiao Long Bao is lesser than some other Dim Sum places, I like this Xiao Long Bao for it’s flavorful minced meat.

Steam Chicken with Egg is a rather interesting dish which i don’t really know how to appreciate. Hahaha. I think the idea is you get to taste the natural sweetness of the chicken wings with only very limited seasoning. Apparently Swee Choon put it as their “Chef Recommendation”.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Swee Choon Dim Sum is one of the more value-for-money Dim Sum in Singapore with air-con dining. The place is clean and service is reasonably good. For people who are not driving, Swee Choon is still within ten minutes walking distance from Farrer Park MRT.

The only thing to take note is they will only give you a table after all diners have arrived, else priority will be given to others. Swee Choon may not serve exactly the best Dim Sum items but most of their menu items are reasonably good. This makes Swee Choon one of my favourite Dim Sum places in Singapore.

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