Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant

King Sized Nanxiang Crab Roe Steamed Soup Bun ($6.80)
Many of you probably know of Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, famous for its king-sized steamed soup bun. The one where you drink from using a straw, yes. There was just one outlet at Bugis Junction for the longest time, and then under new management, they started expanding.

If like me, you tried them many years ago and did not find anything memorable, it's time to revisit them and see just how different it is now. I was pleasantly surprised with the 20 new dishes they have introduced in conjunction with the opening of their flagship 100-seater outlet at Plaza Singapura in November last year.

Their new executive chef Yee Cheong Wah understudied the famous Nan Xiang restaurant in Shanghai in order to bring these dishes to Singapore.

The King Sized Nanxiang Crab Roe Steamed Soup Bun ($6.80) above is still there, and still fun. You're not meant to eat the skin, I learned. The bun been made extra strong (i.e. tough), so that it will hold the hot soup within. But yes, peel it open by all means to get the very last delicious drop.

Shrimp & Pork Filling Steamed Bun ($7.80- 6 pieces)
Shrimp & Pork Filling Steamed Bun ($7.80- 6 pieces)

Nanxiang now has the biggest variety of xiaolongbao around - at least ten types! The fillings include crab roe, mushroom, pork, shrimp, and vegetables. Each is a good mouthful of meat that retains a toothsome bite (Nanxiang's hallmark). So it's not finely minced meat like you might get at other restaurants. The skin is well-made and the broth flavoursome.

Jelly Fish with Spicy Vinegar ($6.80)
Appetisers include Jelly Fish with Spicy Vinegar ($6.80). The jellyfish is cut into large and chunky strips, and they use the more expensive part - the head - for extra crunch. The portion is generous for the price!

Nanxiang Drunken Chicken ($6.80)
I passed on the "Yuan Yang" Duck Tongue (drunken and braised styles), but tried the Nanxiang Drunken Chicken ($6.80) which is lightly fragranced with Chinese wine.

Braised Pork Belly Ribs ($12)
Braised Pork Belly Ribs ($12). Looks like a nice slab of tender kakuni, but once you bite into it, the complex sweetness will take you by surprise. Yes, they use fruits like orange, lime and pineapple for natural sweetness and a fruity tangyness.

Steamed Egg with Clams ($6)
Steamed Egg with Clams ($6) - seafood goodness in a familiar home-style dish. It comes piping hot too, so be careful as you dig in!

Stir-Fried Green Bean Noodle with Crab Roe ($12.80)
Among the rice and noodle dishes is an unusual Stir-Fried Green Bean Noodle with Crab Roe ($12.80). It's like tanghoon but in kway teow form. All the better to slurp up the crab roe with! I do wish they would try this type of noodle with other ingredients

"Hua Niang" Steamed Cod Fish ($13)
"Hua Niang" Steamed Cod Fish ($13) - something that's both healthy and delicious. These boneless slices are easy to eat and perfect for kids.

Golden Pumpkin Cake ($3.60- 2 pieces)
The Golden Pumpkin Cake ($3.60- 2 pieces) is also fun to eat. It reminds me of Indian bhatura and poori, all puffed up with air, but the dough is much more delicate here, of course.

Yam Pastry with Sesame ($5.20- 4 pieces)
Yam Pastry with Sesame ($5.20- 4 pieces) - hey, it's orh nee in a stick! I can't say no to anything crispy, so this was also another highlight.

Icy Water Cress Honey ($2.50)
But the most surprising discovery of all has got to be this - Icy Water Cress Honey ($2.50). Yes, watercress. I went, "huh!?" too. But try it! It's so refreshing and tasty, you just can't imagine why nobody's done it before!

Contemporary decor with steamer baskets as primary decor
Dining at Nanxiang is a cheery affair. The decor is modern Chinese with steamer baskets as a theme. They have cleverly used them to build partitions and also to decorate the walls. I think they pretty much used up all the steamer baskets in the market at one time, just for decoration!

Fresh Pork Filling Steamed Bun ($6- 6 pieces)
One last look at their xiaolongbao. Fresh Pork Filling Steamed Bun ($6- 6 pieces) - the filling within is indicated by a printed wooden tag placed in the centre.

Prices as you can see, are very affordable and the dishes are great for sharing. So this makes it ideal for groups of friends or family. The predominantly Shanghainese fare also makes a nice change from the usual Crystal Jade type of restaurants. Check out the full menu online (complete with prices).

Enormous thanks to LeRoy of Foodnews and Nanxiang restaurant for inviting me to taste the new dishes and allowing me to change my impression of Nanxiang for the better. The newly revamped Nanxiang is certainly a "thumbs up" as their logo denotes!

68 Orchard Road
#02-01 Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Tel: 6337 7446
Operation Hours:
Lunch 11.30am to 3.00pm, Dinner 6.00pm to 10.00pm (Mon to Fri)
11.00am to 10.00pm (Sat, Sun & PH)

180 Kitchener Road
#04-15/16 City Square Mall
Singapore 208539
Tel: 65 6509 9134
Operation Hours:
11.30am to 10.00pm (Mon to Fri)
11.00am to 10.00pm (Sat, Sun & PH)

200 Victoria Street
#02-53 Bugis Junction
Singapore 188021
Tel: 6835 7577
Operation Hours:
Lunch 11.30am to 3.00pm, Dinner 6.00pm to 10.00pm (Mon to Fri)
11.00am to 10.00pm (Sat, Sun & PH)

Look out also for Nanxiang Express which serves takeaway xiaolongbao, pastries and snacks at:

23 Serangoon Central
#03-K17 Nex Mall
Singapore 556083
Tel: 6634 4833


  1. Hello, nice photos again! I agree that water cress honey drink tastes really refreshing and it can actually be found in many cha chan tengs in Hong Kong :)

  2. Pity, I guess you have to speak Mandarin to know what filling's in your xiao long bao's!

    food looks good, but i'm probably gonna give this place a pass. I bet the service crew is 100 percent non-english speaking. are the receipts in Chinese?

  3. hmmm! i had written off nanxiang from my last visit to the bugis branch (6 months to a year ago), but if you say so, I'll give it a go again. (=

  4. The Stir-Fried Green Bean Noodle with Crab Roe is special! I will try it during my next visit! :)

  5. Anonymous: hey thanks! I didn't know this drink was so common in HK! First time I'm seeing it in Singapore.

    KD: Just because it's a Chinese restaurant doesn't mean they can only understand Chinese. The menu is bilingual, and when I was there, the staff were too.

    Mia: Well, I see it as an affordable and casual family restaurant. It's by no stretch of imagination a gourmet stop, but it sure was a lot better than I remembered.

    MissTamChiak: Haha yeah, try it! I personally prefer a springier texture to the noodles, but I'm probably channelling the Korean vermicelli here.

  6. Have had too many experiences with non-english speaking staff at chinese restaurants ( mid and higher end ones, i'm not talking about coffee shops) to consider going to such places anymore. It really does ruin the whole experience.

    I even have a relative who went to a well known chinese restaurant and had the waitresses ORDER FOR HER, w/o even asking her or informing her after the fact, because they assumed, being non-Chinese, she would not know what to order!!

  7. that said, I haven't lost my appreciation for Chinese cuisine!

  8. are these new dishes available at the old bugis outlet?or only at the new PS outlet?

  9. KD: I know what you mean. But that's pretty severe, what your relative went through! Glad you still like Chinese cuisine!

    Anonymous: they should be available at all Nanxiang outlets.

  10. I tried Nanxiang for the first time today! :)

    I ordered a bowl of Bean Sauce Minced Pork Noodles and a basket of Vegetable & Pork Xiao Long Baos. The noodles were okay, but the XLBs were AMAZING. There was so much gravy in the XLBs that it kinda of 'exploded' in my mouth when I chewed on them.

    I think the price was okay too. Only cost me 20 bucks on both items. Definitely a thumbs up! :)


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