Jing Hua Xiao Chi 京華小吃 had rather humble beginnings in 1989 in a refurbished shophouse along Neil Road. The fan base for its homemade dumplings has grown to be quite a large one over the years. Jing Hua celebrated its 25th anniversary by opening a new outlet at the deluxe shopping mall Palais Renaissance in Orchard Road. The new 95-seater restaurant offers signature Jing Hua home-style dishes in a contemporary elegant setting.
The interior decor is quite interesting – a mix of retro cafe elements with aspects of Chinese heritage. Monochrome striped flooring contrasts with bright vibrant colours in the dining hall. There are intimate booths, communal dining spaces as well as big round tables for traditional Chinese dinners. There is a visually striking long bar stocking a wide range of gourmet teas and alcoholic beverages like Chinese wine, Japanese shochu, Scottish whiskey, cognacs and a range of beers.
We went there for lunch recently. The menu was rather limited. We ordered two of the Jing Hua Signature Dishes – the Little Juicy Steamed Pork Dumplings or xiao long baos ($5 for 4) and the Pan-fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumpling ($6.50 for 6). We also ordered the Zha Jiang Noodle ($6.80).
The xiao long baos were fine but we had tasted better versions elsewhere. What we liked was the rather unique taste of the shredded ginger for the ginger-vinegar dip. The delectable ginger provided by Jing Hua was pickled and slightly sweet. The dip made the steamed pork dumplings more enjoyable.
The Pan-fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumpling was their version of guo tie or gyoza served on a hot pan. The nicely marinated skins were crunchy and not greasy. The filling of minced seafood, meat and vegetables was tasty. It was a most delicious dish and easily the winner for the day.
The Zha Jiang Noodle was thick noodles with minced pork and soy bean sauce with bean sprouts and strips of cucumber. It was rather light and not too salty. The bean sprouts and cucumber added a refreshing crunchiness to make the simple noodle dish quite a delightful one.
To complete our light lunch, we ordered the Sweet Osmanthus Flower Rice Ball Soup ($4) and Crispy Red Bean Pancake ($10.50). The Osmanthus-infused soup was clear and not too sweet but the scent of Osmanthus was not really discernible. The glutinous rice balls had different filling – red bean paste, lotus & walnut paste, peanuts and black sesame paste. They were what you would expect of glutinous rice balls. The Crispy Red Bean Pancake was the better of the two desserts. The pan fried pancake had rather thick outer layers that were biscuit-like crunchy. The generous amount of red bean paste filling was smooth and very sweet. The sesame seeds added extra flavour and texture to the delectable pancake.
Chinese tea was charged at $2 per person. They did not charge for the peanuts and wet paper towels that were typically placed on the tables in Chinese restaurants. Service was fairly efficient and friendly. They seemed to be slightly under-staffed for such a large restaurant and at times it was difficult to get the attention of a waiting staff when we needed one.
On the whole we had an enjoyable lunch at Jing Hua Xiao Chi at Palais Renaissance. The competition may have better xiao long boas but Jing Hua at Palais Renaissance has good guo tie and desserts and a better ambience. Its menu is quite limited, but that may be a sensible strategy of sticking to a few items well loved by many. We think Jing Hua Xiao Chi in Palais Renaissance is a great spot for 小吃 or small bites.
Jing Hua Xiao Chi 京華小吃
#B1-04 Palais Renaissance
390 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6733 8231
11:30 am – 3:00 pm
5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Nearby MRT Stations :Orchard