In Search of the Best Dim Sum in Singapore: Kai Garden 嘉苑 Delivers on its Promises

Generally speaking, Singaporeans are a critical bunch when it comes to the best Dim Sum in Singapore.  I am not just talking about Chinese Singaporeans – people of all colours and dietary restrictions can claim to be a Dim Sum connoisseur.  And rightfully so.  This sliver of Cantonese culture is as much a part of our multicultural heritage as are our Melayu and Javanese histories.  Ultimately, people here know what good Dim Sum is and are more unhappy about wasting the calories as opposed to spending the extra dollar for good Dim Sum.

Kai Garden 嘉苑 gets the classic Dim Sum dishes right

Nuovo Dim Sum dishes can be fun and interesting but all Dim Sum patrons expect the classic dishes to be done well.  At Kai Garden, we were very impressed with their treatment of the classic Dim Sum dishes.  In our pursuit of the best Dim Sum in Singapore, we are very happy that Kai Garden has entered the Cantonese cuisine scene.

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This simple Loh Pak Gou 萝卜糕 or pan-fried carrot cake is without a doubt the best carrot cake dish I have ever eaten in a Dim Sum restaurant.  This dish alone is good enough reason for you to visit Kai Garden.  I do not know if they can claim to be the best Dim Sum in Singapore yet but definitely, I can vouch that it can claim the best Dim Sum carrot cake dish in Singapore.

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Yes, these Siew Mai 烧卖 (pork dumplings) taste as good as they look!  We were quite full by the time the dumplings arrived.  But that did not stop us from devouring these delectable balls of pork goodness.

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‘Fresh!’ is the best word to describe the 虾饺 har gau (prawn dumpling) at Kai Garden.  It was, without a doubt, very well made.  But the freshness of the prawns and ingredients really shone through.  A bite into this dumpling and you are immediately reminded that this is how this super classic Dim Sum dish should be made.

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Juicy and tasty, Kai Garden’s Siu Long Bao (小笼包 steamed bun) does not disappoint.  It is traditionally prepared in small bamboo steaming baskets (小笼 xiao long), which gives them their name.

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Another classic done very well is the 流沙包 (molten bun). Named appropriately so because of its liquid salted egg yolk in the centre of the bun, this dessert Dim Sum provides a delectable finish to your meal at Kai Garden.

Trying out Kai Garden’s novelty dish – the Charcoal Pork Bun

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Kai Garden’s menu has a wide variety of dishes from classic ones to interesting nuovo sounding dishes.  We tried the one that stood out the most.  The Charcoal Pork Bun really surprised me with its flavours and textures.  Although it is slightly oily, the buns were very fragrant and the meat fillings super tender and juicy.   We predict this dish will become a Dim Sum mainstay at Kai Garden.

Relaxing interior for the best Dim Sum outing

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Everyone who likes to eat Dim Sum knows (and I mean everyone) that a good Dim Sum eating space is critical to how one experiences the Dim Sum.  The space needs to engender a sense of excitement and anticipation to the one eating the Dim Sum.  And a certain level of conviviality to make eating relaxing and the mood lively.  Our experience at Kai Garden was amazing.  Served by an amazing crew that are genuinely interested in making your visit the best Dim Sum experience you have ever had.

An awesome place definitely worth it to be listed as part of your Dim Sum brunch list. But you’ll be surprised at what the dinner menu brings…

A dinner menu that is set to delight

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I know it seems exceedingly long but we did have two meals separately and would like to just share the joy of both. The Cherry Chilled Foie Gras is simply a foie gras terrine enveloped in a luscious, sweet-sour, cherry compote. Intricately stabbed with a cherry stalk, and pseudo leaves, this dish was an immaculate marriage of both the fragrant boldness of the goose liver, and the tangy exterior.

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What came across as a cold dish was the Sweet Sour Pork which was flash-fried in extremely hot oil, and stuck immediately into the cold ice to create an exceedingly crispy batter that covers the still-piping hot tender pork. An eclectic temperature profile for a dish typically served hot, but delicious nonetheless.

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The Signature Singapore Peking Duck came highly recommended. With 5 different sauces concocted for the duck, and a myriad of different flavours of popiah skins – you can imagine the number of permutations to get to that perfect pairing. Pumpkin, beetroot, spinach, and squid ink skins had seafood, XO, black pepper sauces as accompaniment to the delectably crispy duck. Go straight for the Chef’s special sauce, you can’t go wrong with that one.

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After an extremely satiating meal, comes the duck meat which was fried with noodles and assorted vegetables. I was stuffed to the brim, and could hardly think of putting in more carbs. But this dish – I finished every morsel I was allotted, and craved for more. So the moral of the story is, save room for the carbs – you will not regret it.

Quality of food: 8.0/10
Value for money: 7.0/10

Kai Garden 嘉苑 (Map)

6 Raffles Boulevard
#03-128A Marina Square
Singapore 039594
Tel: +65 62504826
Hours:
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 1130am – 330pm; Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Dinner: Monday to Sunday, 6pm – 11pm
Nearest MRT Station: Esplanade MRT (3mins walk), City Hall MRT (8mins walk)

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