Li Bai is Joanne Peh’s beau, Qi Yu Wu’s favorite dim sum restaurant. But for me, after Tim Ho Wan, dim sum in Singapore will never be the same again. We compared item by item and and THW wins in terms of value and taste. The Ex (my ex, not Joanne Peh’s ex), who queued up 2-and-a-half hours for THW, said that the food at THW wasn’t worth the queue, but of course, no food is worth 2.5 hours of queuing. So we’re comparing the price and standard of the food alone.
BBQ Platter ($30)
The only item that might rival THW was the bbq pork baked bun. Li Bai’s version was stuffed with char siew, but I thought THW’s version, though airy, tasted more balanced.
Of course, Li Bai had some great dim sum on its own, such as the egg tart and, surprisingly, the mango prawn roll. Never like a mango prawn roll before but Li Bai’s version was the best one I had: just a tinge of mango to highlight the prawn, and not overpower it.
But strangely, our favorite wasn’t dim sum. The foie gras came thick and fat and perfectly cooked. It also came with two pieces of duck with crispy skin, reminiscent of Peking duck. But it wasn’t cheap at $28 per individual portion. We had a portion each.
The most disappointing must be the hasma. At $15, the hasma was sparse and the soup was sourish. Red dates must have been boiled too long to turn sourish.
For three of us, we ordered a BBQ platter ($30), har gow ($8, pictured above), scallop siew mai ($7.20), XO radish cake ($7.20), egg tart ($4.80), mango prawn roll ($6.90), scallop rolls with filaments of potato ($6.90), congee ($6.50), bbq pork baked bun ($5.40), 3 foie gras (at $28 each), hasma ($15) and two mango pomelo pudding ($6 each). In total, we paid $238 for three, but we got a 10% credit card discount, bringing it down to $215 or about $70 for a person.
Scallop Siew Mai ($7.20)
OUCH! For that price, we would expect the service to be perfect. In a good Chinese restaurant, the patrons will never pour the tea themselves. While we didn’t mind pouring tea for ourselves, the teapot was placed out of reach for us. We had to stand up, reach for the teapot, pour for ourselves, and no server noticed. But in all things else, the service was good.
XO Radish Cake ($7.20)
Ask for complimentary parking coupon if you’re driving.
39 Scotts Road, Sheraton Towers, Singapore 228230
T: 6839 5623
Sunday dim sum: 10.30am to 2.30pm
Rating: 3.138/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.