Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dim Sum Day 3: Cherry Garden

Part two of Dim Sum Day 3 saw us crossing over to Cherry Garden at the Mandarin Oriental for more dim sum, right after testing nearly 40 items at Si Chuan Dou Hua. How could we possibly eat more? Well, when it comes to good dim sum, there can never be enough!  Tea set display at Cherry Garden I've always liked Cherry Garden, so I knew we were in for a treat. The place is gorgeously decorated, in darkly elegant wooden pavilion settings. It's incredible that the restaurant has retained its original decor from when it first opened 22 years ago. It still looks very contemporary. Steamed Pork with Preserved Vegetables Siew Mai The food, however, is a constant innovation. Steamed Pork with Preserved Vegetables Siew Mai. A very simple addition of the humble "mei cai" or preserved mustard greens, and the siew mai is given an instant lift in flavour. One of the best siew mai we've had in the tasting rounds.  Steamed Crab Meat Dumpling Steamed Crab Meat Dumpling - plump, juicy and dare I say Rubenesque? Voluptuous dumplings of shrimp enhanced with crab meat. They look almost naked, but there's a very fine skin enveloping the seafood goodies. However, I think an asparagus spear might be a better choice than the strong-tasting green bell pepper stuck into the dumpling. Steamed Prawn Dumpling with Carrot Puree Steamed Prawn Dumpling with Carrot Puree. The "har gau" with a beta carotene tan. The skin is given a light infusion of carrot puree for colour. There is no heavy carrot flavour to overpower the dumpling, which is good. Pan-fried Chives and Chicken Dumplings with Netted Rice Crispy Pan-fried Chives and Chicken Dumplings with Netted Rice Crispy. Pot-stickers given a dramatic presentation. Fried with a thin, crispy base, and overturned onto a plate. Nice. Steamed Kurobuta Char Siew Pork Bao The Steamed Kurobuta Char Siew Pork Bao won raves all round. Maybe it was the magic word "kurobuta" but the char siew really tasted tender and well-seasoned. The pau skin is incredibly soft and fluffy too. This is a must-have if you come to Cherry Garden. See the thinly sliced kurobuta pork char siew? They melt in your mouth! The thinly sliced kurobuta pork char siew melt in your mouth! Steamed Shark's Fin Dumpling with Dried Scallop and Shrimp Steamed Shark's Fin Dumpling with Dried Scallop and Shrimp, so very pretty. These look like har gau with cleavage. The dumpling skin is good on these - translucent but resilient, holding their bounty well. If you do not like eating shark's fin, you can skip this. Netted Rice Crispy Turnover Stuffed with Prawns Apple and Mango Netted Rice Crispy Turnover Stuffed with Prawns Apple and Mango. I've tried this before on a previous visit. They were good then, but I think we had too many prawn-based dim sum items today. Truffled Essence Crystal Dumplings stuffed with Assorted Fresh Mushrooms Truffled Essence Crystal Dumplings stuffed with Assorted Fresh Mushrooms. Whoa, these dumplings have grown since my last visit. They're still tasty, but I prefer them a smaller and more manageable size. The truffle aroma is thankfully scant (yes, surprisingly I'm not a big fan of truffles even though I love most mushrooms). Xiao Long Bao Xiao Long Bao - expertly done and pleated. The juices are delicious.  Fried Potato “Pear” Stuffed with Pumpkin, Jicama and Vegetarian Ham Now this scores big on the Cute Factor. Fried Potato “Pear” Stuffed with Pumpkin, Jicama and Vegetarian Ham. I'm sure kids would love this pear-shaped croquette, but it's a bit too starchy for me. The use of lemongrass as the stalk is interesting though. Scallop and Spinach Crystal Dumpling Scallop and Spinach Crystal Dumpling. Yes, by this time, we all had had too much prawn. These were still good, with bits of salted egg yolk enhancing the flavour. Steamed Grouper “Crystal Fish” Dumpling Even cuter than the pear-shaped croquette was the Steamed Grouper “Crystal Fish” Dumpling. This is part of the Symphony of “Live” Pacific Grouper prepared three ways. This is something akin to Peking Duck with the duck done three ways, i.e. skin roasted and carved, bones boiled for soup and meat done in a stirfry. Here, for the first course, the grouper's skin is used for the skin pattern on the fish dumpling. When the dish was unveiled, it drew gasps of "Wow!" for the sheer artistry. Steamed Grouper “Crystal Fish” Dumpling The fish skin is wrapped around a firm slab of fish meat, and the whole thing is encased in a transparent chewy skin shaped like a fish with tails. It was too beautiful to eat, and maybe we tarried too long admiring and photographing it, because it was a bit cold when we finally took a bite. Eat it with the soy seasoning, as by itself it can be a bit bland. Grouper Fish Broth with Ginger, Onion and Silken Tofu. The fish bones are used in a very hearty soup. Grouper Fish Broth with Ginger, Onion and Silken Tofu. Love the baby mushrooms. Sautéed Grouper Fillet with Asparagus The meat of the fish is finally stir-fried with vegetables. Sautéed Grouper Fillet with Asparagus in a generous portion. Simple but so good. Entrance of Cherry Garden on 5th Floor of Mandarin Oriental, Singapore Cherry Garden has a weekend dim sum brunch for S$45++, which includes some a la carte dishes. Prices have gone up since my last visit, but the quality is still assured. There are two seatings, and reservations are essential: 11am-1pm (1st seating) 1:30pm-3pm (2nd seating) My heartfelt appreciation to Kelly Tan of Mandarin Oriental for hosting us, and to Cuisine & Wine Asia for arranging this dim sum tasting. Check out Ladyironchef and TheHungryCow for their take on the dim sum. Will link to Aromacookery and Ieatishootipost when they post. CHERRY GARDEN 5th Floor, Mandarin Oriental Singapore 5 Raffles Avenue Singapore 039797 Tel: 6885-3538


  1. This is my fave dim sum place, thanks to your very first review in 2007! You're starting to make dim sum sound delicious AND sexy ;P

  2. gorgeous dim sum, they ought to have the prettiest dim sum around man. btw how come some of yr photos couldn't show?

  3. i love the photo of the panfried chive & chicken dumpling!

  4. I agree with the sexy drift. Har gau with cleavage?! Damn. I'll never look at them dumplings the same ever. Hehehe.

  5. Little Teochew: LOL thanks!

    LIC: photos not showing? Hmm, can try reloading? I can see all of mine though. Yeah, their dim sum is really pretty.

    Evan: yes, it was almost too pretty to break apart and eat.

    HungryCow: lol! welcome to the dark side...

  6. omg, very high class dim sum, never try them before! >.<

    btw, actually the char siew bao is nice not because of the kurobuta magicword, just the char siew bao is filled with kurobuta's meat!

    kuro= black buta= pig [in case anyone dunno]

    Black pig is very special, i tried once in Taiwan, fried black pig meat, but the pork is white in color la ^^"

  7. your entry convinced me that next time I am having dim sum it has to be here. I want to try Truffled Essence Crystal Dumplings and the pear shaped potato fry....

  8. You should be ashamed of yourself for purchasing and eating shark fins. 90% of the world's shark population has been destroyed due to this appalling practice. Next time, think twice about your actions.

  9. There are so many delectable items to try, why not leave the shark alone, as it slowly becomes endangered. All of you who would rather have a brief feeling of culinary satisfaction should stop and take a look at the bigger picture. You are destroying precious animals and ecosystems.


    (ps I'm a different Anonymous, but my sentiment is the same)

  10. Sigh, guys, please read - this was a food tasting session organised by a magazine. I did not pick or purchase the shark's fin items. In fact, I had no say in what the menu was.

    I think you are not familiar with my stand on shark's fin. I don't order but I don't waste either (if it's already cooked and served, e.g. at wedding banquets).

  11. Hi There!

    I wanted to let you know that our website, FoodieView (www.foodieview.com) recently launched a new feature, Foodie Views of the Day (www.foodieview.com/views/). The idea is to provide an alternative forum where foodies can share their culinary photography talents. The feature also allows your readers to vote on their favorite pictures.

    We would really love showcase some of your photos on Foodie Views of the Day. Please let us know if you are comfortable with our use of the photos from Camemberu. Additionally, if you have photos to which you are particularly partial, or which you would especially like to show off, please feel free to send them to me or to submit them directly to the site by following this link: http://www.foodieview.com/views/submit_info.jsp

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  12. hello, just wanted to let you know that I went and tried Cherry Garden last saturday. It was really good! I could not, however, find the pear shaped pumpkin fry... however I tried many other things there that were simply heavenly. Anyway, I will be blogging it and I will link the entry to this post of yours. Thanks for the review! If it hadn't for you I wouldn't find this awesome dim sum place.

  13. BBO: yes, next time, ok?

    Michele, thanks, there seem to be quite a few food photo aggregators these days.

    GTF: wow great to hear that you liked Cherry Garden! Looking forward to your post of lovely dim sum!

  14. sonds terrific indeed, we will be back for more action, we defintely be meeting!


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