Whether you call it dim sum or yum cha, it really doesn’t matter. What’s most important is how the food taste. Dim sum restaurant or stall owners need to ask themselves if you are serving the very best dim sum to your customers. Do you have the right dim sum that Singaporeans love?

Check the list below for some of the most popular dim sum dishes in Singapore


1.    Siew Mai

Cantonese Siew Mai (shumai) is the most well-known variety in the West. This dumpling dish is generally made up of pork and mushroom. Its standard filling consisting primarily of ground pork, small whole or chopped shrimp, Chinese black mushroom, green onion (also called scallion) and ginger with seasonings of Chinese rice wine (e.g. Shaoxing rice wine), soy sauce, sesame oil and chicken stock. Bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and pepper can also be added. The outer covering is made of a thin sheet of lye water dough, which is either yellow or white. The centre is usually garnished with an orange dot, made of crab roe or diced carrot, although a green dot made with a pea may be used. 

A fish paste variety of siew mai is sold as popular street food in Hong Kong and Singapore. It is most often eaten with a sweet soy sauce and chilli oil.

2.    Fried Carrot Cake

Fried carrot cake, or locally known as chai tow kway, is commonly cut into pieces and stir fried with eggs, garlic, spring onion and occasionally shrimp (both dried and fresh). There are two variants: the “white” version does not use sweet soy sauce, and the carrot cake is fried on top of a beaten egg to form a crust; the “black” version uses sweet sauce (molasses) and the egg is simply mixed in with the carrot cake.

The radish cake can also be eaten on its own, either just steamed, or steamed and then pan-fried, as opposed to the steamed then wok-fried with other ingredients in chai tow kway. Both the steamed and pan-fried varieties are commonly served topped with spring onions at dim sum spots.

3.    Har Gao

Prawn dumplings (har gao) is sometimes called a shrimp bonnet as it is pleated. It is made up of wheat starch, tapioca starch, shrimp, cooked pork fat, bamboo shoots, scallions, corn starch, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings.

Traditionally, har gao should have at least seven and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its wrapper. The skin must be thin and translucent, yet be sturdy enough not to break when picked up with chopsticks. It must not stick to the paper, container or the other ha gow in the basket. The shrimp must be cooked well, but not overcooked. The amount of meat should be generous, yet not so much that it cannot be eaten in one bite.

4.    Char Siew Bao

The buns are filled with barbecue-flavoured char siew pork. They are served as a type of dim sum during yum cha and are sometimes sold in Chinese bakeries.

Although visually similar to other types of steamed baozi, the dough of steamed cha siew bao is unique since it makes use of both yeast and baking powder as leavening. This unique mix of leavening gives the dough of char siew bao the texture of a slightly dense, but fine soft bread.

Encased in the centre of the bun is tender, sweet, slow-roasted pork tenderloin. This char siew is diced and then mixed into a syrupy mixture of oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, roasted sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and corn starch.

5.    Chee Cheong Fun

A rice noodle roll (also translated as steamed rice roll) is commonly served either as a snack, small meal or as a variety of dim sum. It is a thin crépe roll made from a wide strip of shahe fen (rice noodles), filled with shrimp, beef, vegetables, or other ingredients. Seasoned soy sauce—sometimes with siew mei drippings (generic name of Cantonese charcuterie given to meats roasted on spits over an open fire or a large wood-burning rotisserie oven)—is poured over the dish upon serving. 

When plain and made without filling, the rice noodle is also known as chee cheong fun.

More popular dim sums include:

  • Liu Sha Bao
  • Coconut Buns
  • Chicken Feet (Feng Zhua)
  • Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce (Ho Yau Gai Lan)
  • Beef meatballs (ngao yuk)
  • Cruller-stuffed rice noodle rolls (Zhaliang)
  • BBQ Pork Puffs (Char Siew So)
  • Egg Tarts
  • Pork Glutinous-rice dumplings (Ham Siew Gok)
  • Deep-Fried Shrimp Balls
  • Shrimp-Stuffed Eggplants
  • Sesame balls (Jin Dui)
  • Pineapple Custard Buns (Bo Lo Nai Wong Bao)
  • Potstickers (Guo Tie)
  • Xiao Long Bao
  • Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf (Lo Mai Gai)
  • Fried Taro Dumplings (Wu Gok)

Are you a Dim Sum seller? If you are….

Contact us at CKH Food Trading now to enquire on how you can purchase high quality dim sum ingredients. Good dim sum is made out of high-quality ingredients. Entice your customers even more with even more finger-licking good dim sum. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to grow your business with us!