Cheap dim sum in Singapore
My dad is never more enthusiastic about eating in a crowded and bustling environment than when we’re having dim sum. He loves the old Hong Kong feels of enjoying these small bites surrounded by loud chatter from the tables around us, echoes of clinking porcelain tea cups, and harried women pushing dim sum carts stacked high with bamboo baskets around the dining hall. These 16 underrated and cheap dim sum in Singapore may not have vibes of that sort, but any disappointment can be resolved by a couple more pieces of tasty siew mai.
1. Johore Ye Zhi Mei Handmade Bao
If the queues at Swee Choon are way too long, you can still get a dim sum fix at the nearby Johore Ye Zhi Mei Handmade Bao. The star dish is their Amy Yip Bao ($3.80), a soup-bowl sized bun stuffed with honeyed chicken and pork. Get this hefty 500g bao to share, together with Beancurd Dumpling ($2 for two), which comes with rolls made from bean curd skin stuffed with ground pork and bamboo shoots, and Siew Mai ($2 for two) on the side.
Check out our review of Johore Ye Zhi Mei.
Address: 208 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208894
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 24 hours
Tel: 6294 2210
Johore Ye Zhi Mei Handmade Bao is not a halal-certified eatery.
2. 126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi
Image credit: @mark.ptkw
Alongside Swee Choon, 126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi is undoubtedly one of the most popular dim sum stores in Singapore. Serving up affordable and unpretentious dim sum fare, it’s no wonder this 24-hour dim sum store attracts a huge crowd, even in the wee hours.
Their Shrimp Dumplings ($4 for four pieces) are a real favourite of mine. Filled with plump pieces of prawns, it’s hard to believe that they only cost $1 per piece. Be sure to also try their BBQ Pork Chee Cheong Fun Roll ($4) which are only made fresh upon order. The rice noodles are silky smooth, without tasting too starchy.
Address: 126 Sims Avenue, Singapore 387449
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours
Tel: 6746 4757
Website | Full list of outlets
126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi is not a halal-certified eatery.
3. Kuai San Dian Xin
Image credit: @dennisyeo1400
Not only is every item on their menu $1.30, Kuai San Dian Xin is open 24/7 so you can satisfy your dim sum cravings anytime. Warm your belly up with flavourful Century Egg Pork Porridge ($1.30) prepared in a Cantonese style. They also make a mean serving of Carrot Cake ($1.30) that comes with a crisp exterior and chewy insides.
Check out other 24-hour restaurants in Singapore.
Address: 555 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, Singapore 560555
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours
Kuai San Dian Xin is not a halal-certified eatery.
4. Dim Sum Haus
Opened by a dim-sum loving couple, Dim Sum Haus offers both traditional and contemporary dim sum. Unlike some old-school dim sum joints, this restaurant has a warm and friendly ambience. Baked Salted Egg Custard Bun ($5.90+ for three pieces) puts regular lui sha bao to shame with a buttery shell that oozes out a creamy golden salted egg custard sauce, while their Steamed Charcoal Chicken and Shrimp Siew Mai ($5.20+ for three pieces) comes with big chunks of juicy prawns and a heap of tobiko. Do not gloss over their Crispy Mee Suah Kueh with Chinese Sausage ($4.70+) as it hides a strong punch of wok hei beneath its unassuming appearance!
Check out our review of Dim Sum Haus.
Address: 57 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208809
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11am to 10pm, Sat-Sun 9am to 10pm
Tel: 6909 0777
Dim Sum Haus is not a halal-certified eatery.
5. Tanjong Rhu Pau & Confectionery
Image credit: @karenkohh
Tanjong Rhu Pau & Confectionery’s buns are mini by average standards but there’s a reason for their loyal following. Ordering Char Siew Pau ($0.80) is a must here. The char siew meat stuffing is chunkier than usual, giving each bite a more satisfying mouthfeel. Big Pork Pau ($1.60)—ironically the size of a regular char siew pau—is another popular one stuffed with lean but succulent pork and hard-boiled egg.
Address: 389 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399788
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10:30am to 9pm or until sold out
Tel: 6842 2112
Tanjong Rhu Pau & Confectionery is not a halal-certified eatery.
6. Xiao Chen Handmade Bao Dian
Image credit: @bloodytoad
Xiao Chen Handmade Bao Dian’s $1.90 dim sum baskets are so affordable, a dim sum feast every other day is not unthinkable. Besides traditional Siew Mai ($2 for three), which they stuff with a whole shrimp and ground pork, Xiao Chen also has a host of other siew mai such as Crab Meat Dumpling ($2 for three), Jade Dumpling ($2 for three), and Scallop Dumpling ($2 for three).
Address: Block 68 Kallang Bahru, Singapore 330068
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 8pm, closed on alternate Wednesdays
Tel: 9446 3862
Xiao Chen Handmade Bao Dian is not a halal-certified eatery.
7. Hong Kong Mongkok Dim Sum
Image credit: @cheryl_ene
Hong Kong Mongkok Dim Sum’s simple menu of just six handmade items will leave you as satisfied. The skin of their Har Gow ($2.80 for three pieces) is translucently thin yet sturdy enough to hold a rather hefty load of fresh prawn. True to the stall’s name, each Char Siew Bao ($2.80 for three pieces) is made Hong Kong-style with a light and airy bun cracked open to expose the marinated meat filling.
Address: 335 Smith Street, #02-097, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 11am to 5pm or until sold out
Hong Kong Mongkok Dim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.
8. Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum
Image credit: @chubbytwinz
Expect delicious and affordable dim sum at Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum, where an ex-Tung Lok chef helms the kitchen. Instead of the more common fried carrot cake pieces, Yi Dian Xin serves a cylindrical Steamed Carrot Cake ($3) doused in light soy sauce. Other must-order items are their Har Gow ($3.80 for three pieces) with thin and delicate skin, and their super flowy Liu Sha Bao ($3.80 for three pieces).
Address: 1012 Upper Serangoon Road, Teo Seng Eating House, Singapore 534752
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 7am to 5pm
Tel: 9168 5587
Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.
9. Old Airport Road Specialise Homemade Pau Dian
Image credit: @clewhock
A good-looking bao may come with pristine white skin, but their ugly cousins – the ones with patchy exteriors from juices of the meat stuffing seeping through – are often the tastiest. Most of Old Airport Road Specialise Homemade Pau Dian’s Char Siew Bao ($0.70) are ugly ducklings and that means bao skin of the right thickness. Painstakingly made by hand every morning, you can be sure that the dishes here are made with loads of love. Get some of their Siew Mai ($0.60 per piece) too, if you can, as these run out fast.
Address: 34 Cassia Crescent, #01-86, Singapore 390034
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 6pm
Tel: 8115 2747
Specialise Homemade Pau Dian is not a halal-certified eatery.
10. Chao Yue Xuan Dim Sum
Get restaurant-quality dim sum at food court prices here at Chao Yue Xuan Dim Sum. Opened by Chef Vanness Chai formerly of St Regis Hotel, the eatery can be found at the less-known Junction 9. The Steam Yam Ball Stuffed With Coconut Cream and Mushroom Bun ($4.50+) is certainly not to be missed. The fluffy bao are hyper-realistic in their emulation of shiitake mushrooms and look as if they’ve come out of a fine-dining restaurant. Diners looking for something more substantial can also try the Lean Meat With Century Egg Congee ($4.50+) which comes laden with ingredients.
Check out our review of Chao Yue Xuan Dim Sum.
Address: 18 Yishun Avenue 9, #01-23, Junction 9, Singapore 768897
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am to 5pm
Chao Yue Xuan Dim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.
11. Hua Ji Bao Dang
The menu at Hua Ji Bao Dang is no-frills, comprising only five bao, alongside other conventional dim sum items. The elderly couple that owns the stall starts work at 5am five days a week, making sure that customers can get their hand-made bao from as early as 6:30am. The highlight at this stall is definitely their Big Bao ($2), with a juicy meat filling and a skin that is of just the right thickness. While the filling for their Lotus Paste Bao ($0.90) is sourced from another purveyor, it is not overly sweet and perfectly complements the soft dough.
Check out our review of Hua Ji Bao Dang.
Address: 115 Bukit Merah View, #01-63, Singapore, Singapore 151115
Opening hours: Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 6:30am to 3pm
Tel: 9181 5180
Hua Ji Bao Dang is not a halal-certified eatery.
12. 5-Star Dim Sum
Image credit: @hltang1
Known for its cheap yet good-quality offerings, 5-Star Dim Sum in Queenstown has a sizable selection of items on its menu. Jumping aboard the hype train of all things mala, the stall has a Mala Bun ($1.90) that is probably one of the first of its kind in Singapore. Their Fresh Prawn Cheong Fan is a popular item that is available for only $4. Those dining in even numbers will be delighted to know that their Fresh Prawn Siew Mai ($4) comes in baskets of four, saving everybody from the awkwardness of the paiseh piece.
Address: 158 Mei Ling Street, #01-74, Singapore 140158
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 9pm
5-Star Dim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.
13. Nam Heong Ipoh Singapore
Image credit: @bpsegar.jiak
Introduced to Singapore by veteran actor Mark Lee, Nam Heong Ipoh Singapore opened its second outlet at ION Orchard in August last year. Fans can expect the famous Nam Heong Egg Tart ($2.50) to have a moist eggy custard, with a tart that flakes apart easily.
A mainstay on their Malaysian menu, the Homemade Assam ($4.90) chee cheong fan is unlike the Cantonese rice rolls that Singaporeans are more familiar with. The chee cheong fan is perhaps more similar to a kway teow, and has a tangy and moreish flavour from the assam.
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #B4-03/04, ION Orchard, Singapore 238801
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 7:30pm
Nam Heong Ipoh Singapore is not a halal-certified eatery.
14. Sum Dim Sum
Possibly the restaurant with the most aesthetically-pleasing exterior on this list, Sum Dim Sum stands out from the rows of shophouses with its Tiffany blue walls. Customers can seek respite from Singapore’s sweltering weather in the restaurant, which has air conditioning on both the ground and top floor.
Be sure to order their Signature Crispy Pork Buns ($6+ for three). The pork buns come lightly green in colour, and are stuffed generously with fatty pieces of char siew. Another exceptional dish is the Beef Noodles ($7.90+), which are available in both dry and soup form. Served with thick chunks of braised beef and melt-in-your-mouth beef tendons, the bowl of chewy noodles can even rival some specialty noodle restaurants.
Check out our review of Sum Dim Sum.
Address: 161 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208876
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 11pm, Fri 11:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 11:30pm, Sat 10:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 11:30pm, Sun 10:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 10:30pm
Sum Dim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.
15. Ho Yun Tim Sum
Ho Yun Tim Sum was started by a Hong Kong chef with years of experience at various restaurants under his belt. Of all the handmade items on the concise menu, the Siew Mai ($3) and Har Gao ($3) are not to be missed. The siew mai—served in a basket of three—are juicy and meaty, and the har gao also do not skimp on the filling, which feature whole prawns within! While the stall is located rather inconveniently for most, Eastsiders will be able to enjoy restaurant-quality dim sum at coffeeshop prices here.
Check out our review of Ho Yun Tim Sum.
Address: Blk 419 Tampines Street 41, #01-80, Singapore 520419
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 7am to 7pm
Ho Yun Tim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.
16. East Bistro
Led by Chef Tony Wong, who is touted as the creator of the mango sago with pomelo dessert, East Bistro has an outlet in Sembawang and another in myVillage. Try their Sichuan Chilli Oil Wanton ($4.80 for three pieces) which are doused in chilli oil, soya sauce and black vinegar. Each wanton is encased in a thin skin, and has a tender meat filling that is well complemented by the sauce.
Steamed Pork Rib ($4.20) is also another popular item here as it comes with chewy pieces of fatty pork ribs, alongside steamed yam cubes. All the dim sum is steamed upon order, so be prepared to wait during peak hours for a basket of authentic Cantonese delight.
Check out our review of East Bistro.
Address: 10 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758954
Opening hours: Mon & Wed-Fri 11am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10pm, Sat-Sun 9am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm
Tel: 6752 4844
East Bistro is not a halal-certified eatery.
Cheap dim sum in Singapore
Whether you’re a purist who sticks to the traditional har gow, char siew bao, and chee cheong fan, or a trendy yum cha-er seeking the most flowy liu sha bao, there’s a dim sum joint for everyone. If you prefer feasting at a dim sum buffet instead, check out these nine restaurants with prices as low as $23.80++ per person!
Updated by Thames Teo.