I had the day off on Thursday and swung by the Red Star Restaurant with my sister for an early dim sum lunch. Red Star, around since the 70s, is a perennial favourite with both the young and old. I first visited the restaurant in my college years, on a friend’s recommendation, and have been a fan ever since.
Dim sum is still served off push-cart trolleys and goes for S$3-3.50 for a plate of 3 servings (there are larger servings available). The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and is always packed during weekends and public holidays. Although the queue can get rather long, table turnover is generally quick. That said, I do recommend going early on the weekend if you do not like to wait.
The freshness and quality of the ingredients is Red Star’s biggest draw. The quality is best seen in the seafood-based dim sum dishes like har kau (shrimp dumpling) and the deep fried seafood roll. These folks don’t skim on their ingredients and you can tell the moment you take your first bite.
Other than the seafood dim sum, I recommend the steamed spare ribs. The ribs are cooked until tender and sit in a very umami sauce (my sister slurped it all up).
If you decide to visit Red Star, you must give the egg tarts a try. They are always a hit with my sister and I, especially when freshly baked from the kitchen. My sister once wolfed down 4 in a row in about 15 minutes when we managed to get some right off the baking tray. The egg tarts have an amazingly light and crumbly crust and the egg custard is not too sweet. A great way to round up the meal.
The only problem I had with going on a weekday is that there is generally less variety when compared to the weekend. On weekends and public holidays, the kitchen serves up “specials” which are usually interesting spins on the traditional dim sum dishes. As a personal preference, I find the atmosphere on the weekend better. Food seems tastier when the restaurant is packed on a Sunday morning and you’re surrounded with families, young and old, all enjoying their food together — scenes that warm the cockles of your heart.
Go check out this venerable institution in local culinary history, you won’t be disappointed. Great food, good service, and surrounded by heartwarming scenes — what’s not to like?
Red Star Restaurant
Blk 54 Chin Swee Road
Red Star is located in the same building as the HDB Chin Swee office.
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