Alden Boon

Hai Tien Lo Weekday Dim Sum Buffet: Sublime Food, Five-star Experience!

08/12/2015

Dainty, exquisite dim sum. Each pleat attests to the chef’s finesse, honed over long years. Comforting and heartening, each mouthful of dim sum harks back to a simpler time. The palatial Hai Tien Lo offers a weekday and weekend dim sum buffet, and so we can enjoy these esculent masterpieces any day we want!

Towering columns of red, embroidered ivory table cloth and overhanging red lanterns add to the restaurant’s majestic intrigue. The food is also commendable. The price for one pax is SGD56 per person, but that is not including the 7% GST and 10% service charge. The final price comes up to SGD66. Tea, if you choose to have it, will come at an additional cost per person, not per pot. Service makes or breaks the dining experience, and here it kicks up the enjoyment several notches. The waitstaff are polite, and are eagle-eyed and quick to clear your dirty plates and refill your empty cups. Bonnie, my waitress, gave impeccable service. She indulged my questions, from opening time to trivia on a few dishes. Awesome!

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Steamed Shrimp Dumplings: Encased inside the translucent skin is a huge, juicy prawn!

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Braised Shredded Abalone with Crab Meat and Asparagus in Thick Broth: For the soup selection, each guest is entitled to just one serving, so choose wisely! The crab meat steals all the attention with its pronounced, lingering taste. This invigorates the palates.

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Hot and Sour Soup with Seafood and Fish Maw in Thick Broth: The peppery notes were too strong and cloying. Thumbs-up to the generous potpourri of seafood and fish maw though!

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Steamed Chicken Feet in Spicy Black Pepper Sauce: Drenched in a moreish, savoury sauce, the chicken feet had a soft texture and the meat came off easily.

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Steamed Barbecued Pork Buns: Tim Ho Wan has forever ruined pork buns for me because their version is a tour de force and remains superior. With Hai Tien Lo’s rendition I enjoyed the fluffy exterior. The meat was a little overdone but the sauce was just right.

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Deep-fried Taro balls with Minced Chicken and Quail Egg: Look at that ethereal crisp engulfing the quail egg! This is one of Hai Tien Lo’s signature mainstays. The crunchy exterior and the hard-boiled egg played off each other wonderfully.

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 Baked Chicken Tart with Cheese, Mushrooms and Pineapple: This was another one of my favourites as I have an inclination towards flaky, well-laminated pie crust. The melted cheese and chicken chunks joined in holy matrimony and it was a beautiful dance of flavours.

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 Deep-fried Sea Perch Rolls with Foie Gras and Prawn Paste Wrapped in Vermicelli: The name evoked excitement but the build-up of anticipation ultimately led to disappointment. The crispy vermicelli was delightful, but the inside was kind of bland. There was no discernible taste of foie gras, sadly.

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Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Minced Pork: They should rename this to Zhong Long Bao (medium-size) because I simply marvelled at the mammoth rendition! The piping-hot soup that playfully spritzed was orgasmic.

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Barbecued Honey-glazed Pork and Roasted Duck: This is under the Hai Tien Lo Specialty column, so each table only gets three choices. Skip this as they were middling and nothing to shout home about. The meat was tough, and the crackling was not crispy at all. The accompanying plum sauce earned more plaudits from my mother though!

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 Stir-fried French Beans with Prawns in Minced Garlic and Chilli: After the meat overload, this was a welcomed sight. It’s refreshing, and again, look at those big prawns! Size does matter.

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 Deep-fried Fresh Prawn Rolls with Banana: I was anticipating this dish as banana is almost persona non grata in the world of dim sum. True enough, the interplay was not as smooth as I had hoped. The banana was too overpowering, so much so it was reminiscent of a banana fritter. But at least we got our two servings of fruits per day down, right?

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 Steamed Pork and Prawn Dumplings with Fish Roe: Those glinting fish roes perched on top gave a mischievous spritz.

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 Deep-fried Bean Curd Sheet Stuffed with Fresh Prawns: These might just be the best dim sum in the buffet! The unctuous but not cloying bean curd sheet was crispy and thin. The prawns, as usual, were the headliners. In fact, when you’re at Hai Tien Lo, be sure to get all their prawn dishes: their calling card!

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 Chilled Homemade Bean Curd with Bird’s Nest: This is a complimentary item on the menu. Silky, velvety and blissfully light. It slides down the throat. This was a wonderful dessert to cap off the session.

Hai Tien Lo offers four items for its dessert selection. Each guest is entitled to one serving of any two items. Go for the Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Pomelo and Lychee, a slightly tangy but entirely gratifying offering. The consistency is thick! The Double-boiled White Fungus with Osmanthus and Maltose should resonate well with elderly folks who don’t have a sweet tooth. The floral tinge is refreshing.

Right across Hai Tien Lo is edge, one of the best, if not the best buffet, restaurants in Singapore in my opinion. Pan Pacific is really hitting it out of the park with its stellar line-up of restaurants.

Hai Tien Lo

Address: 7 Raffles Blvd, Marina Square, 039595

Location: Level Three

Opening Hours

Lunch – 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner – 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Telephone+65 6826 8240

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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