Call me suaku (mountain turtle who doesn’t know much about the outside world) but I’ve never been to Red Star dim sum before. located at Chin Swee Road, it’s been around for years and many of my friends grew up eating dim sum here. I’ve heard loads about it but never been there, perhaps because while I eat it, I won’t go out of my way to eat dim sum. We decided to head here after a night out at Zouk’s halloween, in keeping with our new annual tradition of eating heavily after a night of partying.
Red Star is a Chinese restaurant that looked right out of the 80s, with tables covered with old table cloth and chairs with PVC covering and the metal rims around it. As it was Sunday lunch, the place was packed with dim summers and we had to queue for about 20 minutes before we got a table.
The lovely part of this restaurant is that they serve dim sum the traditional way; women in their trolleys laden with baskets of dim sum. They will swing by your area and call out what they have to offer and it’s really up to you to pick and choose. We were very lucky because despite our table being right in the far end corner, the trolley ladies pushed their carts right up to us and within minutes, our entire table was filled with food.
“do you want dumplings????” she called out, and with all 5 heads nodding unanimously, she placed a plate on our table. right after her came the siew mai & har kow trolley, the staple of ANY dim sum meal. that was quickly followed by the deep fried fritters of all shapes and meat types, then the braised meats and chicken feets.
SO MUCH FOOD!
Chicken feet. I was the only one at the table who had this. Everyone had their favourites. Tricia had her beadcurd roll, Bryan had his dumplings, Germain had her fried wonton. Eugene liked everything on the table.
siew mai. my least favourite dim sum. I never touch this thing.
Watching the trolley ladies, I wondered outloud if they ever felt rejected if someone tells them, sorry no to whatever they have on their trolleys. Tricia said they didn’t work on commission, else it’d be really unfair if the trolley with the most popular items gets cleared out rather quickly, as compared to the trolley of weird shit like deep fried crab claw or sesame ball (something I don’t like either). But I always feel bad when a nice old lady pushes her trolley up to us and we say no, as if we were rejecting her rather than her trolley of unpopular dim sum.
Red Star is famous because it’s been around forever. It is said that it doesn’t serve the BEST dim sum but I thought the standard was pretty good for an afternoon lunch. I was also waiting for one of the trolley ladies to snap at us as apparently they were known to be rather rude to customers coz they simply don’t care. But we had a really pleasant experience and everyone was courteous to us. Perhaps Singaporeans have turned soft over the past 20 years or so that Red Star has been around.
I would come back here again if I ever have a craving for dim sum. They serve good ol’ simple dim sum, unlike some of the fancy schmancy stuff I’ve been forced to swallow at other fine dining dim sum restaurants.
If you are going to Red Star, do try bo luo bao. it’s a pineapple tart like orangey pastry filled with custard. According to Tricia it’s not the best (i.e. Hong Kong bo luo baos) but I enjoyed it immensely. Kinda wished I’d ordered some to go.