When it comes to Chinese food, one of our favourite delicacies is xiao long bao. After all, how can you not love plump dumplings filled with savoury soup and meat and served piping hot right in the bamboo basket they were steamed in? Here in Singapore, the most famous spot for xiao long bao is Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung, and while we can’t dispute that their soup dumplings are ultra delicious, there are other spots that also deserve a mention. For Singapore’s best xiao long bao that locals go back for time after time, then these are the spots you need to check out. (Ranked in no particular order).
1. Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant
Xiao long bao may have originated in Shanghai, but this Beijing style spot does the dumplings just right. Step inside the original restaurant on Jalan Besar and you find yourself in an inviting space with warm red walls, Chinese paintings and motifs, and pics of the menu offerings. The xiao long bao are made by hand in the small kitchen and feature smooth skins that are just thin enough to show the soup inside, but supple enough to pick up without breaking. Inside is a heady mix of rich broth and minced pork.
Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant, 141-143 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208859. p. +65 6297 1398. Open daily 10am – 3pm, 4:30pm – 10pm
2. Jing Hua Xiao Chi
This small family-run shop sells about 1,000 xiao long bao every day, which is a testament to the years that husband and wife team Mrs. and Mr. Han put into perfecting every aspect of them. They start with handmade dough rolled out super thin, then filled with fresh vegetables, pork and seasoned broth aspic. Bite into the dumplings and you get a silky mouthful of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The original shop is on Neil Road, but they also have locations in Palais Renaissance and Bugis Village.
Jing Hua Xiao Chi, 21 Neil Road, Singapore 088814. p. +65 6221 3060. Open daily 11:30am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm
3. Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant
Die-hard dim sum fans flock to Swee Choon at all hours of the day and night for delicious Chinese specialities including xiao long bao. Grab a seat in the air-conditioned dining room or head out to the back alley for al fresco bites. The xiao long bao are served in baskets of four with sliced ginger and black vinegar dipping sauce on the side. Other delicacies include handmade la mian noodles, char siew bao, Sichuan chilli oil wantons, and beancurd prawn rolls. The best part is they stay open until 6am, so it’s a great option for late night eats.
Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, 183/185/187/189/191/193 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882. p. +65 6225 7788. Open Mon – Sat 11am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 6am, Sun & PH10am – 3pm, 6pm – 6am
4. Supreme Xiao Long Bao
The value for money is superb at Supreme Xiao Long Bao, a small dumpling and noodle shop in a kopitiam on Holland Drive. Chef Li Huaizhi previously worked at Crystal Jade and Tung Lok, so he knows a thing or two about dim sum and Chinese food. For just $4.50 you get six plump xiao long bao filled with a light broth and tasty minced pork. The pork rib la mian is also a steal at just $4. The place is small, but it’s very popular, so expect to queue up during peak lunch and dinner hours.
Supreme Xiao Long Bao, 46 Holland Drive, Singapore 270046. p. +65 9798 2211. Open 9:30am – 1pm, 4:30pm – 9pm
5. Yong Le Kitchen
Enjoy restaurant-quality xiao long bao in the comfort of your own home with Yon Le Kitchen’s pre-made pork XLB delivered right to your door. The online ordering system is super easy to navigate and you can select your preferred time slot to have the goodies delivered. Besides xiao long bao, they also offer a range of Northern Chinese dumplings with a variety of fillings including traditional cabbage and pork, prawn and cucumber, beef and onion, and cuttlefish and pork.
Yong Le Kitchen, 15 Jalan Tepong #03-15, Jurong Food Hub, Singapore 619339. p. +65 6652 0900. Open Mon – Fri 10:30am – 7pm, Sat 10:30am – 5pm
6. Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Like most beloved hawker stalls, this one is run by a husband and wife team who hail from China and offer up affordable handmade delicacies like xiao long bao, spicy Szechuan wantons, and la mian noodles with fried bean sauce. The XLB cost $6.50 for 10 pieces and are filled with perfectly seasoned pork and a delicious heart-warming broth. The stall recently earned a Michelin Plate, so as you can expect, the lineups are quite long especially during peak dining hours and on the weekends.
335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre #02-135, Singapore 089152. Open Wed – Sun 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 8:30pm