If Yum Cha Restaurant is on my top list for dim sum (their prawn-based items like siew mai, beancurd rolls and prawn mango sesame fritters are just delish!), then Wen Dao Shi is really a close second if not on par.
What I like about Wen Dao Shi (pronounced as ‘Wan Dou Sek’ in Cantonese which rhymed with their unit number ‘126’ – clever wordplay!) is that the dim sum they serve up is really beyond the norm. Think pork belly with yam roll, chilli crab with fried mantou, kimchi beef roll and many more interesting items that you’d not expect to find elsewhere.
Dim sum can never be boring fare here with their ultra-extensive menu. Best of all, this place is open 24/7 so you can come any time of the day whenever the craving strikes.
Items on the menu can be packed to go or simply pick from whatever’s available on the display shelf right at the door.
On the left of the shopfront, we see a tiny kitchen space where all the steaming work is done. The kitchen right at the back handles the rest. Most of the dim sum are prepared upon order so freshness is definitely guaranteed and everything is always served up piping hot. Bonus point.
I visited Wen Dao Shi on two consecutive weekends so this is a combined post for everything I had tried when I was there.
Find a table, take a seat and someone will come over with the menu, a slip of paper and a pen for you to jot your orders down. Each dish is coded with a number on the menu. Hand that over to any staff when done. Payment is to be made at the cashier near the entrance when you’re done.
Their home-made drinks like Lime Juice with Sour Plum ($3.00) and Sugarcane Juice with Lemon ($2.80) came in big portions as they were served in plastic containers (like those used for takeaways). I preferred the lime juice to the sugarcane as the tang was helpful in cancelling out the greasiness of fried or heavy food. The sugarcane on the other hand tasted odd, too lemony I supposed. Anyway, both were extremely thirst-quenching and refreshing without being overly sweet.
The Fried Scallop Rolls ($6.00) were rather small in portion (bite-size) for the price. I couldn’t detect any scallops in the filling as it tasted like processed fish or squid paste. Anyway, each roll didn’t have much filling so it was lacking in depth and texture.
The Fried Prawn Dumplings ($4.50) were mini, probably just half the size of regular ones. The skin was really crispy and crunchy yet it didn’t ooze oil when I bit into it. The filling inside was also meaty with ample prawn chunks. Fresh with no stale oil taste. Yum.
I highly recommend the Pork Belly Bun ($3.50) that was so moreish.
Each bun had a thick slice of pork belly wrapped in it. The bun was so soft and fluffy; the pork belly was so tender with a good ratio of skin, fat and meat. The braising sauce in which the pork belly was cooked in was extremely rich and tasty. I dipped the bun into the sauce from the Pork Belly & Yam Roll (below) and it was perfect! This is a must order!
The Pork Belly & Yam Roll ($4.50) came doused in a dark sauce that was savoury and robust-tasting. As the rolls weren’t pre-fried before steaming, they weren’t too greasy. The filling inside was really tender though I couldn’t really make out whether there was pork belly inside as everything was just minced up.
The King Siew Mai ($4.50) was big, meaty and juicy and I could still taste the crunch of the prawns in the filling. The skin had no strong alkaline flavour which was good. Overall, this was fresh and delicious.
The Lo Mai Kai ($2.20) came with 2 chicken mid-wing sections. Very fragrant and the rice wasn’t soggy at all.
The Century Egg Porridge ($3.00) had a lot of ingredients in it – chopped century egg and shredded chicken that was a bit tough to chew on. The porridge was more on the bland side which was good for me as I liked it less salty. Those with heavier palates, you might have to add some light soy sauce for flavour.
The regular Siew Mai ($3.20) was only slightly smaller in size than the King Siew Mai. This however had less prawns and more meat in the filling. Not too bad.
The Pan-Fried Mushroom with Pork Cheong Fun ($4.20) tasted just like a fried spring roll. This was a bit overdone & burnt at the edges so it tasted a little bitter. The sauce that accompanied the rolls was robust and savoury. There was minced pork in the filling but I wasn’t sure if there were mushrooms in it. Each roll didn’t have much filling anyway so the inside was quite empty and airy.
We ordered the Chilli Crab Sauce with Fried Mantou ($6.00) that had bits of crab meat in it. The sauce was more on the soury side and was thick and starchy but taste wise, it was good. The mantous were also freshly fried – crispy crust, soft & fluffy interior. We just needed a 6th mantou to mop up the balance gravy!
The Soft Shelled Crab ($6.00) was small in size and wasn’t as crispy as I hoped it would be but the inside was juicy and sweet. It wasn’t very greasy too.
The Beef Kimchi Rolls ($5.00) were just steamed sliced beef wrapped with kimchi in kimchi juice. This was good on its own as I love kimchi anyway but somehow it was a clash of flavours with the other dim sum that we ordered so it didn’t stand out for me.
The Thai Style Pig Trotter ($5.50) was served hot in a chilled chilli sauce that was sweet, spicy and tangy. Really appetising. In fact, the taste of the sauce reminded me of preserved lime. This is another must order dish.
The eating house may look like an old and run-down establishment but it has a constant flow of customers. Dining here is just like being in a Hong Kong dim sum eatery, busy and noisy. Come here for the atmosphere if you haven’t been here. The food will not disappoint too.
There is no service charge, only 7% GST. Wet towels are charged at $0.20 each.
Wen Dao Shi 搵到食
126 Sims Ave
Tel: 6746 4757
Opening hours: 24-hour daily