Photo: The Straits Times / Yip Wai Yee
The name of the stall - Kuai San Dian Xin - , translated from Mandarin, means "$1.30 dim sum". And just like how some products at Daiso are considered more value-for-money than others, not every dish at this dim sum stall works. A serving of the char siew cheong fun, for example, was so shrivelled that it looked like it had probably been left sitting on the counter for hours after it was steamed.
But when the prices are kept so uniformly low - they are almost half that of other coffee shop stalls, let alone restaurants - customers' expectations are tempered. Diners know there will be no fancy, delicate dim sum here. Rather, this is filling comfort fare, generally satisfactory for the price point. One of the better items I sampled was the siew mai, which was served in a basket of three. Each bite-sized siew mai, made of a mixture of pork and shrimp, was plump and firm.
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The har kow, or shrimp dumpling, also served in threes, was equally decent. Ideally, the skin could be thinner, but at least it did not taste like some of the rubbery versions I have had in air-conditioned foodcourts. The chicken feet was also surprisingly tasty - it had a bit of a spicy kick and the skin fell right off the bone, as it should.
Less stellar was the fried taro puff, usually one of my favourite items from the dim sum cart. While the flavour was there, the texture was not quite right as the puff shell was a little too hard. It felt almost as if I was biting into an egg - with shell intact.
Well, you pay for what you get, and when seven dishes come up to less than $10, there is no reason to complain.
This article was first published at The Straits Times.