Swee Choon is quite known to be a supper institution in Singapore.
And it is not uncommon to find local families, groups of friends, and foreign tourists heading there from day to night.
While dim sum has always been known as a morning dining affair, Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant 瑞春点心餐厅 (they spell it as ‘T’) has managed to turn it around to become a well-known supper haunt.
After years of operating evenings to night time, they have also expanded their operation hours and took over more and more shop space along the same row on Jalan Besar.
That means you can have dim sum over there from 11am onwards Mondays to Saturdays (except Tuesday), and Sunday mornings from 10am.
I must have eaten at Swee Choon over more than a decade (since my internship days), watching it group from a one-shop space to its present ever-expanding business, with long queues and tables spilling all out.
Wait, so what is the charm?
I can safely say the food is not the type you will scream “Excellent!”, and seriously most items range about 5 to 7/10 in taste, but it is an affordable, no-frills place that has fond memories for many.
Its price point and environment are “in-between”. While it is not a posh restaurant, there is air-con and service is relatively quick and efficient despite the long queue of people.
And they keep expanding their menu repertoire – which is a good thing.
Other than Dim Sum, there are offerings of Shanghai food items such as La Mian, zi char style dishes, to desserts.
Here are 20 Swee Choon items that you may like to order:
Mee-Suah Kueh ($2.40)
Swee Choon’s very own signature dish – the Mee Sua Kueh is a deep-fried vermicelli cake.
I used to like this a lot because it is special enough, like a carrot cake in shape. I recently went back to find out that the taste and execution have somewhat changed from before.
Not as tasty as before, but I guess it is still worth an order as this is Swee Choon’s unique item.
Big Pau ($1.80)
A big Chinese bun filled with minced pork, a piece of chicken, egg and half a shitake mushroom. Not bad, quite juicy. Reminds me of Nam Kee’s.
Steamed Salted Egg Custard Bun ($4.50 for 3)
While some of Swee Choon’s Liu Sha Bao are not as consistent as we have liked (there was one particular time it didn’t really flow), its Golden Lava buns have always been outstanding for a shop with modest beginnings, with one of my friends exclaiming it is “life-changing”.
Available in both steamed and fried versions.
Sweet Potato Salted Egg Ball ($4.80 for 3)
If “Liu Sha” is really your thing, also available is a purple coloured sweet potato ball, with hot, lava salted egg fillings. Pretty instagrammable.
Fried Custard Pumpkin ($1.80 for 2)
Another item to order if you really need more lava fillings in your life. This orange-coloured itm is shaped like a pumpkin, with flowing custard within. Can be a tad oily.
Shanghai Xiao Long Bao ($4.50 for 4)
While the skin may be a few mm too thick for my liking, the inner minced pork was moistly tasty, with fair amount of broth.
Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton ($4.50 for 4)
Sweet, savoury, vinegary, slight spicy and oily ”Hong You Chao Shou”. Worth an order because quite shiok.
Siew Mai ($2 for 2)
This one. Must eat while it is hot. Leave it there for 10 minutes and it will turn into a cold, dry chunk of meat. (Nobody in our table wanted the last piece. So I ‘sacrificed’ and turned out to be a calorie-waster.)
Beancurd Prawn Roll ($3 for 2)
Standard stuff – okay. Better with higher prawn to pork ratio.
Deep Fried Shrimp Paste Chicken Wings ($9)
While self-proclaimed chicken-wings-lover @PinkyPiggu thought that this dish was far too oily (realised I was not as picky about food as her LOL), I enjoyed9 the distinct prawn paste seasoning.
Fried Chicken Wing ($1.50 for one)
If you come alone and are not inclined to order an entire plate of wings, also available is an individual portion. Faint prawn paste taste, which is quite “legit”.
Crispy Pork Ribs with Salt & Pepper ($9.00)
The pork ribs were crisp and surprisingly not too oily, addictive with the salt and pepper sprinkled on top.
Layer Pancake with Egg and Pork Floss ($4.50)
How come the pancake skin seemed to have become thicker?
Spicy and Sour Soup ($4.50)
Can I say this is my order every single time? Never mind this is not exactly a dim sum dish. Very comforting, a very Singaporean style of Sichuan soup, just right in terms of saltiness, spiciness and oiliness.
If I am feeling upset, I want one bowl all to myself. Add some pepper.
Shrimp Hor Fun in Creamy Egg Sauce ($7)
If you are hungry, I think this will be good for sharing as they are not stingy with the ingredients for the price of $7. Otherwise, it is just sauce and ingredients over horfun.
Shrimp Fried Rice ($7.00)
Fragrant fried rice with eggs, spring onions and shrimps.
Congee with Minced Pork and Century Egg ($3.30)
Slightly bland. Okay lah, good for those not having a great appetite.
Portuguese Egg Tart ($3 for 2)
Freshly baked, more eggy king, flaky, quite firm, reasonable standard.
Red Bean Paste Pancake ($4.80)
The pancake skin was thin enough, with decent amount of red bean fillings. Not too oily too. Can choose to serve first or later.
Yam Paste with Gingko Nut ($3.80)
Similar to the Teochew Orh Nee, I would recommend adding the coconut milk because otherwise it could be too dry.
A friend goes in and orders by “155, 161, 251, 303.” That represents the numbers of the food he wants, no recollection of the actual items needed.
Another finished an unsatisfactory ‘3-star Michelin meal’ and craves for Swee Choon immediately. In her words, “Swee Choon more shiok.”
What are the items you often order from Swee Choon?
Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant 瑞春点心餐厅
183/185/187/189/191/193 Jalan Besar Singapore 208882
Opening Hours: 11am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 6am (Mon, Wed – Sat)
10am – 3pm, 6pm – 6am (Sun, PH), Closed Tues