Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum was one of the spots I had been looking forward to visiting in a while since the days when there was only an outlet at Upper Serangoon Road. We were pretty excited knowing about their new branch at Jalan Leban off Upper Thomson Road (which replaces now defunct LeBan HK Cafe), which opened around December 2016 and was definitely much closer to us.
While the stall at Upper Serangoon Road was very much a coffeeshop stall, Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum’s newest branch at Jalan Leban is an air-conditioned space in a setting typical to simple local eateries. We made our visit post-Chinese New Year, but the Chinese New Year menu was still being offered — the menu itself is a truncated version of the full menu though featuring a few exclusive dishes and with all the items renamed with auspicious-sounding names.
Shrimp Chee Cheong Fun is one of our usual orders in any dim sum restaurant. The ones here were actually pretty good; smooth, slurpy and contains a good portion of shrimps within, though we would have preferred if they used prawns instead of shrimp for a better texture (then again, it is called Shrimp Chee Cheong Fun for a reason). Doused in a good amount of light soy sauce, the silky Chee Cheong Fun managed to absorb the flavours of the sauce, inducing a hint of savoury flavour to the entire cheong fun.
Arriving shortly on the table soon after were the Baked Char Siew Bolo Bun. Coming in a serving size of two buns per portion, the buns were actually sized smaller than usual here; we thought that this was a good move considering how Char Siew Buns are often rather filling and discourages patrons to order more items to try. These were pretty delightful, though not the dark, saucy ones that are usually found but slightly brighter within; the buns were buttery, crisp and fluffy, while filled with a good amount of char siew within that carries a good degree of sweetness. The meat within the bun was lean and chopped pretty much to finer pieces; great for those who dislike fatty, chunky meat within their Char Siew Buns.
One of the dishes that we have noticed being quite popular on social media for the Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum branch at Upper Serangoon Road was the Steamed Carrot Cake; was pretty impressed with how smooth and consistent the carrot cake was done; needed no effort to glide through with a spoon and came off rather cleanly as well. The carrot cake also managed to absorb the flavours of the sausages within, while strips of soft radish could be felt within which actually went very well with the smooth texture of the carrot cake. Doused in a similar sauce as the Shrimp Chee Cheong Fun, the savoury sauce helps to elevate the already fragrant aroma of the carrot cake that was good to have alone. Definitely one of the must-try items here at Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum that is not to be missed.
Seafood Salad in Yam Ring is their take on the popular tze-char dish, Crispy Yam Ring, in the form of a bite-sized dim sum. These were pretty enjoyable; much like the Crispy Yam Ring that we are familiar with but smaller, the Yam Rings were crisp on the outside while being incredibly smooth and consistently so within with the earthy flavours of yam being evident throughout. Each ring comes with a hollow centre, filled with seafood salad within that consists of crab meat and mayonnaise amongst other ingredients. For those who like to order Crispy Yam Rings at tze-char places, this is one dish that one should not miss.
Another dish that we find ourselves ordering at dim sum restaurants regularly would be the Prawn Dumpling King; also known as the Har Gow/Prawn Dumpling in other places. The skin was translucent, adequately moist while encasing an entire prawn within; fresh and plump with a bite.
Of course, we also could not give the Signature Salted Egg Custard Pau a miss. Though the bun itself was just a wee bit too thick for our liking and also a tad dense, we thought that the salted egg custard was actually pretty well done; it emphasises on the flavours of salted egg pretty well for it was more salty than sweet, yet achieving a good proportion of both.
If there was one item that we could say that we did not like as much as the others, it was the Shanghai Soup Dumplings. Essentially Xiao Long Baos, while the skin was still pretty decent, there was not much broth within the dumplings and the meat within lacked a tactile bite; felt more like bits of minced meat within instead. Perhaps we are a little bit too spoilt by Din Tai Fung, but this item was quite a miss overall.
One of the special items exclusively listed in the Chinese New Year menu, the Baked Chicky Pastry was a baked mooncake pastry that had lotus paste and sated egg yolk encased in a baked pastry. The pastry itself was crisp, light and easy to finish, while the filling within was just of an adequate level of sweetness and had a little moisture maintained so as to avoid causing the entire pastry to feel overly dry. In fact, these were pretty easy on the palate despite being mooncakes in nature; they just did not feel too heavy nor dense overall.
Another item that is exclusively served in the Chinese New Year menu would be the Golden Fish Dumplings. These are pretty similar to the Prawn Dumplings in general, though shaped like a fish with a different colour and with fish paste and prawns mixed into the fillings. These were an interesting twist, for most dim sum dishes usually use meat or poultry to mix into the dumpling fillings; the fish paste used here is pretty similar to those of chilli fishballs where strips of chilli and other ingredients could be found within.
Our experience at Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum was actually pretty good; while the service was more on the passive side (the staff here are generally of an older age here and don’t speak much), they still do go around to refill cups of tea once in a while, which I find actually pretty decent actually, the food that we had tried were generally better than most in the same category of eateries. This probably explains the popularity that they enjoy at the Upper Serangoon Road outlet for all these years. Currently, the Jalan Leban outlet is still pretty quiet and works pretty well for those who are looking to enjoy some good dim sum away from the crowd especially since the surrounding estate is pretty idyllic as well. We would definitely find ourselves back another time to try out their regular menu sometime soon, not to mention having their Steamed Carrot Cake again; that one definitely got us pretty hooked!
Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum 一点心港式点心
2 Jalan Leban
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