After spending hours researching for a good and affordable dim sum restaurant in Singapore, finally I chose to dine at Red Star Restaurant located at Chin Swee Road, somewhere near Chinatown. It was a tough decision really, because there are so many dim sum restaurants to choose from and all of them have their fare share of good and bad comments. And none seemed to stand out, well except those that are situated in a fancy hotel that is just too expensive for my blood.
Judging by the huge number of customers at an odd lunch hour, I felt I have made a good call in choosing Red Star. There were about one hundred big and small tables to accommodate high turnover. But there was still a bee line queue at the entrance.
Being an old restaurant, the ambiance at Red Star is traditional and oozed the 80s feelings. Push carts were still being used, said to be rare sight in Singapore nowadays. Each dim sum either steamed or fried was priced between $3 and $4, depending on its portion and specialty.
Starting with the nicest dim sum we had that day.. the Char Siew Sou had one of the flakiest pastry I ever tasted. You could really feel the puff pastry layers, so delightful! This is highly recommended, a must try.
The Egg Tarts were delicious too. Like the Char Siew Sou, they had a very nice flaky pastry as well. And being freshly baked, the egg tarts were aromatic with warm custard that tasted just right – not too sweet.
Steamed pork ribs had always given me an impression of being salty and bony but Red Star’s version was nothing like that. The flavor was just right with a hint of spiciness and the meat was tender albeit a little fatty.
Moving on to the above-average items. Actually the Siu Mai tasted quite good, just that the texture felt “loose” and lacked the biting sensation.
I was impressed with the thin, translucent Har Gao skin but the prawn flesh was simply not crunchy enough.
The Prawn Siu Mai fared a little better than the normal Siu Mai for having a better biting texture.
When we saw the plates Roast Duck, we couldn’t resist ordering one because they looked just too good.
But then the looks were perhaps the best thing about the roast duck.. the meat was tough and the only part we really enjoyed was the sinfully delicious and crispy skin lol. $12 for a plate.
Lastly, the average prawn rolls @ $9 that were hard sold to us by the waitress. She was promoting it really hard saying they would taste great because the head chef prepared it personally and all. The dish was OK actually but it was already cold even before it reached our table. So what can we say? “Up car jor loh” lol.
In total we spent $59.35 inclusive of 2 mango desserts (not shown), 5% service charge and 7% GST, which exceeded 50% of my planned budget of $20 per pax. My budget was based on the fact that most dim sum buffets in Singapore is in the region of $16-$25.
Anyway, the dim sum at Red Star was generally good with the Char Siew Sou and Egg Tarts delicious enough to warrant a second visit. Our only gripe was the roast duck and prawn rolls that cost the most yet being the most disappointing dishes.
Red Star Restaurant 红星酒家
Blk 54 Chin Swee Rd
#7-23 S (160054)
Tel: +65 5325103