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Gimme Some Dim Sum

July 5, 2010

In April I chanced upon this post on Jane’s lovely blog, about a dim sum workshop in Chinatown. I left a comment on the post, and good thing for me that I did because another lady read my comment, and later emailed me to ask if I’d be interested in joining the second run of the class. I jumped at the opportunity, so that’s where I spent a fruitful three hours of my afternoon a few Saturdays ago. (Yes I went to two baking classes in June! That’s a lot!)

Chef Cooking Studio is situated at 30A Smith Street, right smack in the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. Once you’ve huffed your way up to the second storey of the little shophouse, you are greeted by a cheerful rustic pistacchio green room – green walls, green chairs. Lots of green. When I arrived, our teacher for the day, Chef Soon, had already set up and was engaged in conversation with the students who got there even earlier than I did. The school owner and former chef at the Hyatt, Chef Keong, was busying about the kitchen.

On the left here is Chef Soon, and on the right is umm… Little Chef Holding Namecards.

The menu for the day was the same as when Jane attended the class in March:
Egg Tarts
Char Siew Soh (Chinese Roast Pork Puff)
Waterchestnut Kueh

What’s not to like, right?

Unlike some of the higher-end cooking schools I’ve attended, this one was very much more laid back. Chef Keong waited a good 10-15 minutes for the latecomers to stroll in before giving the go ahead to Chef Soon, and throughout the class Chef Soon gamely took a wild barrage of questions from the twenty or so students present.

I had a splendid time, and now have a new found appreciation for the art of making dim sum. It is SO MUCH WORK.

Did I mention that the class was taught in Mandarin? Oh yes, Mandarin. What is my standard of Mandarin? Exam-passing proficiency: 9/10. Conversational proficiency: 3/10 (ok ok so I’m being a little bit generous). Still, I think I understood 90% of what was taught, and for that I am quite pleased with myself *pat myself on the back*. In any case, there’s something very correct about a dim sum class being taught in Mandarin, wouldn’t you say?

But enough of my blabbering. Here are some pictures!

First up, waterchestnut kueh.

Some like it cold….

And some like it fried.

Apparently the cold version is more popular with the kiddies. I thought it was fabulous both ways. I’m making this for sure.

Next, the flaky pastry for both the egg tarts and the char siew soh.

You make the inner skin and the outer skin, put one atop the other, and smash it flat with a big rolling pin. After many rounds of rolling it out, folding it and turning it around, you get three pretty lots of dough to use….

Either to fit into little cups that are later filled with egg custard…

Or to stuff with delicious char siew and sauce. (The sauce was really very good.)

Oh gimme some of that dim sum…

And as it turns out, they did! We each got to take home a little treasure chest of 4 egg tarts and 4 char siew soh, as well as a few pieces of water chestnut kueh. Three fun-filled educational hours and a bagful of goodies, all for $65. Money well spent!

*To all my dear friends from my previous workplace: Both Truffs and Chef Cooking Studio are right at your doorstep! Carpe diem!

Chef Cooking Studio

30A Smith Street

Singapore 058944

(65) 6225 6608

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2010 6:24 pm

    Hi Clare,
    I’m so glad you went! From the way you described, I don’t to guess that you DID enjoy yourself very much! Isn’t it a lot of work to make the tarts and “soh” even though we like it very much? I can’t wait to see your post on making them! ;))

  2. July 5, 2010 7:18 pm

    wow the egg tarts look fantastic. The class looks fun. Always wanted to try to make some egg tarts … I bought a cookbook which has a recipe and the instructions were really long O_O

  3. July 5, 2010 7:33 pm

    Nice! Dim sum making is an art … easy to eat, not so to make. Am drooling over the egg tarts!!!

  4. July 5, 2010 9:07 pm

    i’ve attended classes here before, like eons ago, and they WERE good. we learnt how to make roast duck that day, and it’s the recipe i’ve been using ever since (the one where you hang the duck out ur window to sun–see my blog!)… anyway, it was chef keong teaching when i was there, and thankfully for me, he taught in english!! but ur class sounds and looks fantastic! u’ll hv the share the recipes somehow sometime =) in english pl!

  5. July 5, 2010 9:21 pm

    All look so good! and these are my favorites too. Thanks for sharing, will find an opportunity to attend the class too!

  6. cons permalink
    July 5, 2010 9:36 pm

    chestnut kueh, I love it…crunchy and nice. yeah i like it cold. yes to make dim sum is no joke. a lot of work involve to make the small item. yeah will try some time to try out the courses.

  7. July 6, 2010 10:24 am

    I love dim sums. How nice to spend your Saturday with this interesting cooking class! Are you going to showcase your homemade egg tart soon?

  8. July 6, 2010 5:46 pm

    Jane & LK: Err.. you might have to wait a bit… heh =)

    noobcook: Yeah some recipes are super short because they do the chunky crumbly western type pastry. But if you want it layered and flaky it’s heaps of work…
    spots: Cool! I’ll go search for duck on your blog… I’ve never even bought raw duck!

    Elyn: You should do it’s fun! But I’m not sure they’re running it anymore. Chef Keong is good about taking requests though. So if you and a group of friends can make up a class of I think 10 or so? He might just be willing to do another run of it.

  9. July 9, 2010 12:02 pm

    Does anyone if there are any dim sum classes in English in Singapore?

  10. July 10, 2010 12:00 pm

    Hi alison! I haven’t looked but I think Chef Keong conducts classes in English and he and Chef Soon actually did some translation during the class I attended. Maybe you could ask him if they might run the class again in English? (He might ask you to gather a group of friends together to form a big enough class.)

  11. July 14, 2010 12:31 am

    Clare, you were there? I was there too! Wow, so we might have already met!

  12. Irene permalink
    July 24, 2010 10:12 pm

    I went to this class too. I must say the egg tarts are fabulous…comparable to Crystal Jade, Imperial Treasure. The chestnut keuh too…both pan fried and chilled are just as good. And of cos the flaky char siew soh. For those who has yet to attend, you can try organising a group. $65 for a box of goodies is well worth and there is no rushing too…full 3 hours plus.

    Thumbs up!

  13. August 9, 2010 11:17 am

    Irene: Totally agree!

  14. September 24, 2010 9:56 am

    Wow, that looks amazing!

    I am actually currently looking for dim sum / dumpling classes in English in Singapore. Could anyone help or is interested in forming a group for a class?

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