Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Review: $1.10 Dim Sum From Hong Kong Chef With Over 40 Years Of Experience
Chinese Hawker Reviews

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Review: $1.10 Dim Sum From Hong Kong Chef With Over 40 Years Of Experience

3rd May 2022

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum in Ang Mo Kio

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Flatlay

Dim sum is something I eat quite often with my family, be it buffet or a la carte-style. My go-to restaurants are Dim Sum Haus and Red House Seafood, but I’m always on the lookout for something better. When I came across Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum on a previous shoot in Ang Mo Kio, my interest was piqued. 

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum storefront

Mr Wong Tong and his wife start work at 4am every day without fail. Tapping on Mr Wong’s wealth of experience from cooking in restaurants in both his native Hong Kong and Singapore, the couple has been serving affordable dim sum since 1999. They are now in their sixties and unfortunately do not have any succession plans. 

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Food at Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum

Siew Mai

I’ll be ready to admit that I might have been too enthusiastic in ordering for my colleague and myself, but in my defence, one simply doesn’t only order a dish or two when having dim sum. I started my sampling with the classic Siew Mai ($1.10 each)

Siew Mai cross section

Generously stuffed with meat, the Siew Mai was juicy and did not have that undesired gamey and porky scent that siew mai can sometimes have━not bad at all for its price. 

Chicken Glutinous Rice

I had the Chicken Glutinous Rice ($3) next, as I didn’t want the dish to go cold. Here at Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum, the lor mai kai comes in the white version, which I felt left the glutinous rice a little bland. 

Lup cheong on glutinous rice

The lup cheong imparted some sweet and umami notes to the dish, although I thought that the chicken thigh meat could have been less dry. 

Char siew bao

The last steamed item I tasted was the Char Siew Bao ($1.10 each). Of the three, this was probably my least favourite. Although the bun had seemed quite promising because it was rather soft, the ratio of meat to skin was too skewed. The filling leaned sweet, which was not bad in itself, had it not been for the fact that there was too little of it.

Shrimp Dumpling

Moving on to the fried items, I attacked the Shrimp Dumpling ($1.20 each) first. Crispy wonton skin enveloped a mound of fresh and succulent diced prawn. Even without dipping this into any condiment, the Shrimp Dumpling was delicious on its own. 

Beancurd skin roll

Other than the Shrimp Dumpling, I also had the Beancurd Skin Roll ($1.10), which was another prawn-based item. The prawn paste within was sweet and had a QQ texture, and came with strips of carrot for an extra crunch. 

Personally, I don’t usually enjoy the flaky texture of beancurd skin, but I thought that this item was well-executed nonetheless. 

Turnip Cake

Carrot cake, in any shape and form, is one of my favourite Singaporean and Cantonese dishes. So when I saw Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum’s Turnip Cake ($1.50) beckoning to me with its glistening golden exterior, I knew that I had to get it. 

As expected, biting into the Turnip Cake revealed a crispy crust. What I was not expecting however, was for how soft and gooey for the inside to be, which provided a contrasting mouthfeel. 

Turnip Cake in Chilli

Although the carrot cake already emanates a strong radish fragrance, I strongly recommend having it with some of their specialty chilli. Fried with belacan and dried shrimp, the house-made chilli was intensely umami with a spicy aftertaste. 

Fried Sesame Ball

We rounded off our dim sum breakfast with the Sesame Fried Ball ($1.10), which had a red bean filling. Although I felt that the red bean paste was a wee bit too sweet, I appreciated that Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum had stuffed the glutinous rice ball full of it. 

The Sesame Fried Ball is also not too greasy, which makes it a satisfactory dessert option if you like things sweet. 

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Ambience at Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Ambience

It’s quite convenient to get to Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum. Simply hop onto bus 88 for four stops from Ang Mo Kio MRT Station and you’ll find yourself at the doorstep of Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre. The hawker centre is quite small and mainly caters to the breakfast diners, so you can swing by in the afternoon if you want to avoid the crowd. 

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The verdict

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Verdict

Most of the items that we tried were from the $1.10 selection, making Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum an affordable dim sum option for breakfast. Though I felt that some dishes such as the Char Siew Bao could have been better, there were more hits than misses. 

There really isn’t much to complain about when your food is cheap, so I’d urge everyone to try the Turnip Cake and Shrimp Dumplings. They also sell porridge and double-boiled soups, if you want something else apart from dim sum.  

For more cheap dim sum, check our listicle with 16 recommendations! Magic Kitchen, around the corner from Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum, also has delicious egg mayo toasts and laksa chee cheong fun!

Address: 527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, #01-121, Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre, Singapore 560527
Opening hours: Daily 6am to 4pm
Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum is not a halal-certified eatery.

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Photos taken by Tanya Tham.
This was an independent review by Eatbook.sg

Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Review: $1.10 Dim Sum From Hong Kong Chef With Over 40 Years Of Experience
  • 7.5/10
    Nian Nian Fa Dim Sum Review: $1.10 Dim Sum From Hong Kong Chef With Over 40 Years Of Experience - 7.5/10
7.5/10

Summary

Pros

– Wide variety of affordable dim sum
– House-made chilli was spicy and moreish

Cons

– Char siew bun had little filling
Recommended dishes: Turnip Cake ($1.50), Shrimp Dumpling ($1.20 each)

Opening hours: Daily 6am to 4pm

Address: 527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, #01-121, Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre, Singapore 560527

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