Approximately 75% of the Singaporean population are Chinese, so it is no surprise that Chinese restaurants dominate the food scene here. Whether you're up for a piping hot bowl of wanton soup, a slap-up dim sum feast or an elaborate multi-course banquet, you'll have no trouble finding a Chinese restaurant in Singapore.
Local restaurant chain Crystal Jade is one of Singapore’s great success stories and now boasts countless restaurants around Asia. Its three fine-dining restaurants in Singapore are all worth seeking out: Crystal Jade Golden Palace at Paragon Shopping Center, Crystal Jade Palace at Ngee Ann City and Crystal Jade Dining IN at Vivocity. Ignore the fact that all these restaurants are located in shopping malls; they dish up some of the best dim sum in town and offer an elegant setting for a classy Cantonese meal.
If it’s atmosphere you’re after then head up to One Rochester, to dine al-fresco amongst the foliage at the converted black-and-white colonial bungalow of Min Jiang at One North. Their Peking Duck is what keeps its regulars heading back time again, prepared to a traditional Northern Chinese recipe. Another restaurant famed for its Peking Duck is Paradise Pavilion at Marina Bay Financial Centre.
Many of the top Chinese restaurants can be found in the city's five star hotels. These include the sophisticated Royal China at Raffles Hotel, Hai Tien Lo at the Pan Pacific, with its spectacular views of Marina Bay, and Jiang-Nan Chun at the Four Seasons, with its excellent value weekend a la carte buffet brunch.
For a more relaxed dining experience, try out the ever-popular bustling Yum Cha in the heart of Chinatown, a great option for a dim sum blowout while you’re out souvenir shopping, or everyone’s favorite noodle and dumpling spot Din Tai Fung.
Yum Cha is one of the best places in Singapore to experience dim sum in an authentic setting. Tucked away at the top of a hidden staircase in the middle of bustling Chinatown, this popular restaurant packs in local families and passing tourists, creating a buzzing and convivial atmosphere. The menu includes a wide choice of Chinese dishes, but the majority of people flock here at lunchtime to indulge in a dim sum feast. A high tea buffet at $21.80++ per adult is available every weekday from 3pm-6pm, when dim sum trolleys are pushed through the restaurant with a choice of more than 60 items, including perennial favorites such as Har Gao (prawn dumplings), Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork Shanghai dumplings) and Char Siu Bao (barbecue pork buns). (63721717)
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is the place to head to for heart-warming noodle soups and delicious dumplings. Started in Taiwan more than 40 years ago, Din Tai Fung has since gained a worldwide reputation, with the New York Times rating it as one of the world's top ten restaurants and the Hong Kong branch earning a Michelin star. There is a wide range of soups, appetisers, dumplings and rice dishes to choose from, but the restaurant is renowned for its Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai meat dumplings), which are meticulously created with 18 intricate folds in each one. No reservations are accepted, so be prepared to queue for up to an hour in peak time. There are eleven further branches throughout Singapore including those in Wisma Atria, 313 Somerset, Marina Bay Sands and Raffles City shopping malls. (68368336)
Crystal Jade Palace
The Crystal Jade group of restaurants was established in Singapore in 1991 and now boasts multiple restaurants across Asia. Crystal Jade Palace on the 4th floor of Ngee Ann City Shopping Centre is one of their best fine-dining outlets in Singapore. The gold and red interior resplendent with glittering chandeliers provides an elegant setting for a high-quality Cantonese meal. Classic Cantonese dishes are on offer here, in addition to local favorites such as Chilli Crab, and a large selection of dim sum. Crystal Jade Palace is popular with families, business associates and couples alike and is extremely popular for weekend dim sum breakfast and lunch, so be prepared to queue. (67352388)
Hai Tien Lo
Perched at the top of the Pan Pacific Hotel, Hai Tien Lo dishes up high quality fine-dining Cantonese cuisine. External elevators whisk you up to the 37th floor where the restaurant enjoys stunning views over Singapore's cityscape,
The restaurant's circular orientation means that everybody has a window seat against the floor to ceiling windows, and tables do not crowd each other. Hai Tien Lo is particularly popular for its weekend a la carte dim sum brunch buffet, when a wide selection of dim sum items and other Chinese dishes are prepared to order for a fixed per-head price. (65 6826 8240)
Crystal Jade Dining IN
The Crystal Jade group of restaurants was established in Singapore in 1991. Renowned for their reliable, good quality Cantonese fare, the group now boasts multiple restaurants across Asia. Crystal Jade Dining IN at Vivocity provides a sophisticated setting with views across the harbor to Resorts World Sentosa, while service is brisk and efficient.
Floor to ceiling windows make for a bright and cheerful ambience at lunch time, and allow you to enjoy the lights and fireworks from Resorts World Sentosa in the evenings. A great choice for a dim sum lunch, family gathering, or romantic meal. (62785626)
Jiang Nan Chun
Jiang Nan Chun at the Four Seasons hotel is one of Singapore's top Chinese restaurants, dishing up high quality fine-dining classic Cantonese fare. Jiang Nan Chun translates as "South of the Yangtze River during springtime", a name designed to evoke images of decadent meals in a beautiful place. Jiang Nan Chun is particularly popular during its weekend a la carte buffet brunch, when an impressive selection of 100 dim sum and other Chinese dishes are available for a set per-head cost. Choose to make your meal particularly memorable with free-flow champagne or an additional per-head charge. Three private rooms named after famous Chinese cities, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Yangzhou, seat 14, 10 and 6 guests respectively. (68317220)
Paradise Pavilion's French-inspired neo-classical interior design sets it apart form its Chinese fine-dining contemporaries. Located at the Marina Bay Financial Centre, a private escalator whisks you up to the elegant and refined restaurant that boasts views out over Marina Bay. The menu encompasses a wide selection of classic Chinese dishes, but the undisputed star of the show is the Peking Duck, which can be seen roasting in authentic apple wood ovens as you enter the restaurant. Executive Peking Duck Chef Zheng Jing Chun was poached from one of Beijing's most famous Peking Duck restaurants Quan Ju De, and has helped make Paradise Pavilion one of the best spots in town to enjoy Peking Duck. Carved deftly before diners, the duck's skin is first served as thin slices to be dipped in a dab of sugar. The rest of the duck is meticulously sliced and served with rice flour crepes, condiments and a homemade sweet sauce that will leave you asking for more. (65099308)
Royal China at Raffles
Well established London-based Chinese restaurant chain, Royal China, has chosen the world-famous Raffles Hotel for its Singapore base. The duck-egg blue walls, high domed ceiling and crisp white linen table cloths make for a refined dining experience, worthy of its grand colonial setting. Signature dishes include lobster noodles, crispy duck in pancake, roast suckling pig and traditional dim sum items. Note that Royal China at Raffles has a strict smart casual dress policy -- no singlets, shorts, flip-flops, slippers or pool attire is allowed and gentlemen are request to wear collared shirts. (65 6338 3363)
Min Jiang at One North
Housed in a colonial black and white bungalow, this stylish restaurant dishes up high-quality fine dining Chinese cuisine. The modern Chinese interior provides a stylish and refined dining ambience, but it is the timber decked al-fresco garden setting that really sets this restaurant apart from its peers. The restaurant has garnered much of its reputation from its highly acclaimed version of Peking Duck. Prepared according to an ancient Chinese recipe, these 'Legendary Wood Fired Crispy and Juicy Beijing Ducks' are roasted in a custom-made wood-fired oven. Other must-try dishes include Wasabi Prawns, Beef Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce, and their famous Durian desserts. (65 6774 0122)
Crystal Jade Golden Palace
Crystal Jade Golden Palace is the flagship restaurant of the Crystal Jade restaurant group, a Singapore success story that now boasts multiple outlets across Asia. Despite its location in a shopping mall, this fine dining Cantonese restaurant provides a sophisticated setting for a high-quality Chinese meal. The red, black and gold décor with sympathetic lighting oozes class, service is attentive and a lengthy wine list accompanies a comprehensive menu. There's always a buzz at Crystal Jade, as it is hugely popular with families for dim sum lunches at the weekends, but is also a great choice for a business dinner or romantic meal at any time. (6734 6866)
About Marianne Rogerson
Marianne is a freelance travel writer, who has lived in Singapore for six years. She is the author of a travel guidebook to Singapore and has written about Singapore for a range of international magazines and websites. A self-confessed glutton, Marianne is always on the lookout for new restaurants and loves how Singapore has attracted some of the world’s most renowned chefs to its shores over the last few years. Being mother to a very active toddler means Marianne has also become an expert in entertaining kids in Singapore.
Read more about Marianne Rogerson here.
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