Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant in Singapore

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant off Jalan Besar in Singapore
Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant off Jalan Besar in Singapore

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant is a well-known late-night restaurant in Singapore popular with locals and tourists for its affordable dim sum. The restaurant, located not far from my hotel, was recommended to me over and over by Uber drivers, fellow hotel guests, and random people walking down the street.

For over 50 years, Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant has served fresh and delicious dim sum, whether steamed, fried, or baked. Since opening its first location in 1962, the restaurant has expanded to five stores in Singapore.

Since the locals know best, and being a fan of dim sum, I knew I had to visit its Jalan Besar location to see what the big deal was all about.

If you are looking for more information about Singapore, I highly recommend you pick up a guidebook such as Fodor's In Focus Singapore

Interior of Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant

Air conditioned interior of the restaurant
Air conditioned interior of the restaurant

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant has uncommon hours, 7:00 AM to 4:00 AM. Even with those hours, the place is always busy. A line out the front door is not unusual. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant gets busy when the bars close late at night.

Swee Choon Tim Sum outdoor seating area
If there is a wait inside, try the outdoor seating area

The inside was busy during my visit, but luckily, ample seating was outside in the back. Though it was still hot and humid at midnight, I enjoyed eating outside under the stars with what appeared to be mostly locals.

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant Menu

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant menu
Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant menu

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If you don’t speak Chinese, then you are lucky. Ordering from the menu was simple. The English menus had pretty pictures, so I knew what I was ordering.

The menu had a wide variety of items that were sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. It was divided into sections, including steamed, fried/baked, la mian, dim sum, special dishes, cooked dishes, noodles/rice, desserts, and drinks.

I marked the items I wanted with a pencil on the supplied paper. When I was done selecting items, I handed the paper to the server when they walked by.

Food comes out as it is ready. If you are wondering, this wasn't even all of it.
Food comes out as it is ready and this wasn’t even all of it

As my items were ready, they appeared at my table in no particular order.

Char Siew Pau (#103)

My dim sum adventure started with a pair of Char Siew Pau (2 SGD/$1.49). Char Siew Pau is simply a Cantonese-style barbecue pork-filled steamed bun.

The steamed bun, white in color, was slightly dense, fluffy, and warm. The first bite felt like biting into a pillow of flavor.

Hidden inside the bun was a generous portion of chunky glazed pork. The pork, covered in an almost American-style BBQ sauce, was sweet, salty, and smoky.

A quick dip in the sweet and sour sauce elevated these Char Siew Pau to another level.

For the price, you can’t go wrong with the Char Siew Pau.

Har Kow (#107)

Har Kow (shrimp dumplings), Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, Singapore
Har Kow (shrimp dumplings)

These Har Kow (2.40 SGD/$1.79), or shrimp dumplings, were a thing of beauty.

They may look simple, but I couldn’t believe the skill required to create such perfect dumplings. A chef must be highly skilled in the craft of creating har kow.

The skin was perfect. It was thin and translucent with more pleats than I could count, but not too thin. Somehow, when I picked up the dumpling with my chopsticks, the skin did not break but remained intact.

Peaking through the translucent skin was a perfectly cooked piece of fresh shrimp. The slightly salty shrimp was bursting out of the wrapper but small enough to be enjoyed in one bite.

My only complaint was that each order only included two dumplings. Since they are so cheap, I had no problem ordering more.

Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (#251)

A classic, the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao, Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, Singapore
A classic, the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao

Dim sum is never complete without ordering Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (4.50 SGD/$3.35). It is one of the most popular dim sum items one can order.

Xiao long bao are steamed buns or soup dumplings, usually made by wrapping dough around a pork ball. When steamed, the delicious and hot juices from the pork gather inside the pocket of the dumpling.

Just as with the Har Kow, these dumplings were masterfully wrapped. The skin was the perfect thickness—not too thick or thin. The skin remained intact as I picked up each one with my chopsticks. One minor issue was how the tips of the dumpling skin were slightly dry.

You might be asking yourself, how do I eat xiao long bao? There is no one answer, but I started by picking up the xiao long bao with my chopsticks, dipping it in a little soy sauce and ginger, then placing it in a spoon.

Once in the spoon, I poked the side of the dumpling with my chopsticks, causing an explosion of salty and smoky pork juices to flow onto the spoon. Inside the dumping was a large, salty, and juicy pork ball.

After eating the dumpling, I drank the flavorful pork broth in the spoon.

Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton (#253)

Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton, Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, Singapore
Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton

Next up was the Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton (4.50 SGD/$3.35).

In this dish, four wantons, or more commonly known as wontons, were swimming in a bath of chilli (chili) oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sliced green onions, and red peppers. Though the sauce had a slight kick to it, it wasn’t as spicy as I would have thought. The sauce was a perfect mix of spicy, salty, and tangy.

The wanton skin was steamed perfectly. It was soft, light, and just the right thickness. Inside the dumpling was a flavorful and juicy mixture of minced pork and veggies.

Simple, savory, delicious.

Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun (#121)

After reading rave reviews about the Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun (4.20 SGD/$3.13), I knew I had to order it.

All I can say is wow.

The dough of the steamed bun was identical to that of the pork-filled Char Siew Pau: dense, fluffy, and warm.

The big difference was the salty, sweet, gooey, oozing, golden yolk that flowed out at first bite. I have never experienced anything like it before.

A little dip of the steamed bun in the sweet and sour sauce was perfection.

If you are in the mood for something sweet, definitely try the Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun.

Service at Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant

Like most places in Singapore, service was friendly and efficient. Food came out quickly and hot. And the servers hung around in the outside seating area, waiting to help anyone who needed anything.

When I needed anything, I would quickly raise my hand, and a server would immediately walk over.

Conclusion

I now understand why everyone recommended I try Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant.

The variety of dim sum was fantastic, the food was cheap and delicious, and the service was quick and friendly. I actually enjoyed eating outside under the stars, though it was humid.

I now add myself to the growing list of people recommending Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant to everyone.

My only tip: plan on eating as late as you can, after 11:00 PM. It’s a little cooler at night and you will avoid the dinner rush and lines.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun
  • Food arrived quickly
  • Outdoor seating

Cons

  • Almost always busy, especially the inside air-conditioned dining area
  • Food arrives when ready, not at the same time
  • The Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton could have been a little spicier

Hours

Wednesday - Monday: 7:00 AM - 4:00 AM
Tuesday: Closed

Address

183/185/187/189, Jalan Besar, 191/193, Singapore 208882
GPS Coordinates: 1.308140,103.856975

Map



Website

https://www.sweechoon.com/

Last Updated on April 17, 2024

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Author
Anthony
My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.

2 thoughts on “Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant in Singapore”

  1. Nasi Lemak has to be one of the best dishes to try locally in Singapore. Love the taste of crispy chicken with rice and sauce.

    Reply

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