Royal China – The Decline of a Dynasty?

11 10 2011

Located just 5 minutes away from SMU, Royal China is one of the places I started frequenting quite a bit in my current sophomore year, so this post will be a cumulation of  the 3 lunches I had over there in the past 2 months.

Housed in Raffles Hotel, most would think that the restaurant would charge premium prices commensurate with the 5 star hotel status. I’m pleased however to announce princely sums are not a prerequisite for dining at Royal China, as a filling casual dim sum lunch can be sought after for as low as $15-$25.  Weekday set lunches are available too at $68++ for 4 pax, which brings it to about $20 nett a person, definitely affordable considering that the nearby Koufu would set you back at around $6 for a meal and drink anyways.

For dim sum, there are a few items that Royal China excels spectacularly in. First, there’s their Royal China Special Cheung Fun ($4.80++), a combination of scallop, char siew and prawn cheung fun. The translucent skin is delicate and smooth like a baby’s bum, a real pleasure to eat.

Touted as one of the best renditions of its kind to be found locally, the Steamed Bun with with Salted Egg Yolk and Fresh Mango ($4++) treads on the fine balance between sweet and savoury with its fine pairing of fluid lava custard and soft airy bun. Unlike the ones at Victor’s Kitchen, the custard fillings here aren’t as oily, and the buns’ texture are a lot softer than the ones at Bosses in Vivocity.

Another item worth ordering would be their Congee. Coming in substantial portions sharable amongst 2 pax, the variety of congees ranging from seafood, fish & conpoy, chicken & mushroom and century egg & lean pork are priced reasonably between $5-$7.50++.

I tend to order Scallop Dumplings ($4.80++) whenever I see it on a dim sum menu. Topped with what seems to be a dollop of caviar, it didn’t disappoint.

The mediocre items would include the Char Siew Sou aka Baked Barbecued Pork Puff ($4++), the Pan-fried Bean Curd Roll Stuff with Minced Prawn ($4.80++) and the Deep Fried Vegetarian Spring Roll with Shredded Vegetables ($4++).

As I mentioned previously, Royal China also offers a $68++ 6-Course Set Lunch for 4 pax though personally, I’d recommend sticking to the ala-carte dim sum menu.

The 1st Course is a Healthy Soup of the Day, in my case it happened to be a clear chicken soup with coconut. It wasn’t fantastic. Coconut flavoured soup just doesn’t sit well with me and the chicken meat was tough.

Then came the Medley of Dim Sum, comprising 3 of the most common dim sum that can be sought. Somehow, the har gaos and siew mai in the set lunch feels slightly more slipshod than ordering it ala carte.

The Barbecued Meat Combination Platter was rather disappointing as well. The chicken meat was dry and the char siew unflavourful.

The Stewed Sea Perch with Mushroom Served in Hot Stone Pot was probably the only course which appealed to me throughout the set lunch, though it wasn’t that fantastic either.

The Poached Garden Greens with Wolfberry in Stock was simple but boring.

The Braised Noodles with Live Prawns in Ginger and Shallot Sauce came across as rather bland, with the noodles tasting floury and lacking the tasteful infusion from the sauce and prawns.

Dessert was a Steamed Layer Cake with Salted Egg Yolk. It’s not bad, but nothing compared to Royal China’s signature Steamed Bun with with Salted Egg Yolk and Fresh Mango. 


Standards at Royal China have been a little inconsistent of late, but let’s cross our fingers that it’s just one off incidents.

Bon Appetit!

Royal China

1 Beach Road, #03-09 Raffles Hotel

Tel: +65 6338 3363


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