Just a few years back, I was introduced to Geylang Bahru Hawker Centre by my friends after an evening swim at the Kallang Basin Swimming Complex nearby. That was when I discovered Ding Xiang Mei Shi (鼎香美食) which has been around since 2018.
I still remember the friendly and warm service I was given the first time I patronised the stall. Having been in the food and beverage industry, good service is always top priority for me, apart from serving good food. I’d never return to an eatery if the service is bad, no matter how excellent the food may be.
Mr. and Mrs. Zhang are from Shandong, China, and both of them run the operations at the stall. The friendly couple handmakes their noodles, dumplings and xiao long baos at the stall itself with precision and speed. There’s even a small freezer located at the side of their stall which houses their frozen dumplings and other products that are for sale.
While waiting for my food patiently, I had the pleasure to see Mrs. Zhang make my xiao long baos on the spot as well as kneading the dough for my dumplings— what a visual treat!
It was a pity that the Hot and Spicy Noodles (S$4.50 for small, S$5.50 for large) and Minced Meat Paste Noodle (S$4.50 for small, S$5.50 for large) were not available. The flour supplier had some issues and they did not have the materials to make the noodles— oh well, I shall try them the next time.
What I tried at Ding Xiang Mei Shi (鼎香美食)
My stomach was already growling and I couldn’t wait to get started. I dragged my dad along as my dining partner today for a senior adult’s point of view on the food. We started our late lunch with Xiao Long Bao (S$6 for small), which came in a dim sum basket filled with eight pieces.
Upon taking my first bite of the Xiao Long Bao, the warm savoury stock flowed into my mouth. It was flavourful but I just wished there had been a little more liquid trapped inside— it would’ve been perfect!
The default pairing for Xiao Long Bao is typically black vinegar with shreds of ginger. I decided to break the rules and dunk mine into their homemade chilli instead. The chilli had a strong smoky flavour and the heat packed a punch— the combination worked perfectly well for me.
We moved on to the Fried Dumpling (S$6 for small), which came in a tower of 12 pieces. The colour of the dumplings were a little on the pale side and I wished they were a little more golden brown. Surprisingly, I wasn’t expecting the skin of the dumplings to be super crispy when I sunk my teeth into them— the crunch was satisfying indeed.
The filling inside was packed with minced pork and loads of koo chye (garlic chives), which gave a garlicky infusion to its taste. The dumpling together with the shredded ginger and black vinegar dip was a match made in heaven.
The last dish we tried at Ding Xiang Mei Shi (鼎香美食) was the Red Oil Chao Shou (S$6.60 for medium). It had a dozen plump wantons that were soaked in a chilli oil and vinegar mixture, topped with loads of spring onions and coriander.
The skin of the wantons were velvety smooth and paper-thin, and slid down my throat with no effort— even my dad had high praises for it. The meat within was delicious and paired really well with the sauce that was slightly tangy from the vinegar. The chilli oil’s heat was very mellow and it was gentle enough even for my dad, considering how sensitive he is to spice.
Though I’d admit that I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to try their noodles, their handmade dumplings and xiao long bao were good enough to make me forget about my displeasure.
I’m really glad to see that everything at Ding Xiang Mei Shi (鼎香美食) is made from scratch and no store-bought items are being used here.
I’ll definitely return to Geylang Bahru Hawker Centre and pay Mr. & Mrs. Zhang a visit once again. I hope I’ll get the chance to try their noodle dishes the next time!
Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$12.50 per pax
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