Best custard buns in Singapore
These salted-egg yolk custard buns require a mastery of the recipe to perfect both the bun and filling. We salute our 10 favourites here.
YÚ CUISINE [CLOSED]
Don’t let the fluorescent orange shade of Yú Cuisine’s liu sha bao scare you. Their chef uses a special taint derived from a secret natural ingredient to obtain this unique tint, and the buns are perfectly steamed with just the right thickness and texture. When we tore them apart, a golden liquid filling oozed out like lava, eliciting ooh’s and ah’s from all around the table. The smooth consistency of the sweet custard was a delight, and the vibrant colours make this liu sha bao a memorable dessert. B1-08. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Tel: 6688 7318
MAN FU YUAN
Man Fu Yuan serves a deep fried version of the custard bun, which is oh, so, good. The hot oil gives the bun a nice golden brown outer layer, which cracks open to a rich molten liquid gold that has a good balance of sweet and salty. The steamed version is equally tasty with a soft and fluffy bun. 2F Hotel Intercontinental. Tel: 6681 6684. Book a table at Man Fu Yuan with Chope.
Located inside Sunshine Plaza is humble looking dim sum shop, Victor’s Kitchen. Their custard bun has long been regarded as one of the best on the island and we are not arguing. The custard has a particular oily look to it, which you will either adore or dislike, but when bun, custard and oil amalgamated together in our mouths, everything combined beautifully, resulting in a burst of buttery fragrance and flavour. #01-21 Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street, Tel: 9838 2851
CRYSTAL JADE KITCHEN
The ubiquitous Crystal Jade Kitchen riffs on a familiar item and uses carrot juice in their bun to deliver a cantaloupe-coloured version of this dessert. Fans of the colourful steamed Malay cake will find a familiar texture in these plush, steamed-to-order buns, and while the salted-egg flavour of the yolky filling is at the forefront here, the salty taste does not overwhelm the palate. 2 Lorong Mambong. Tel: 64690300.
EAST OCEAN TEOCHEW RESTAURANT
When it comes to salted egg yolk custard buns, what separates the mediocre from the heavenly is the rich filling snug inside the centre of pillowy buns. The cherubic liu sha pao here contains bursts of vivid orange custard that reminds us of the term rosso d'uovo or the ‘red of the egg’—it’s what the Italians call their egg yolks. The thick, slightly grainy filing that oozed out when you bite into the bun is quite simply perfection. 391 Orchard Road #05-08/09 Ngee Ann City. Tel: 6235 9088
The custard buns at Cantonese stalwart Mouth Restaurant stand out, for instead of the usual steamed bun versions, the ones served here are of the baked crust variety, providing a refreshing textural juxtaposition when bitten into. Inside, the filling is also not as smoothly creamy as most but even though you can discern grainy bits of the salted egg, the flavours of the eggs, the richness of the butter and the creaminess of the custard come together swimmingly in a pool of liquid gold. #01-61 China Square Central – South Bridge Court, 22 Cross Street. Tel: 6438 5798
HAI TIEN LO
Hai Tien Lo’s pint-sized custard buns are reasons why the adage “good things come in small packages” still rings true. Pillow-soft buns break open to reveal just the right amount of runny custard filling that is suitably salty, not too oily and sufficiently creamy. Be prepared to pop seconds – or even thirds. Level 3 Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard. Tel: 6826 8338. Book a table at Hai Tien Lo with Chope.
Every liu sha bao generally looks the same, so we appreciate Canton-i’s effort in making its Steamed Golden Egg Yolk Custard Bun stand out visually from the competition. Flavoured with yam, the delicate bun is purplish in colour, and we can tell from the way it weighs in our fingers that it carries a generous amount of the warm, luscious salted egg yolk custard inside, all poised to rupture under the slightest bite. The bun’s fragrant aroma combines very well with the rich filling. #03-14 ION Orchard. Tel: 6509 8368
The Paradise Group has done such a fine job perfecting its liu sha bao recipe, it has replicated the same formula across its chain at restaurants like Canton Paradise, Taste Paradise and Paradise Pavilion. Salted duck egg yolks, butter and sugar come together in a bun that unleashes its primrose molten centre with the smallest bite. What we particularly loved was the evenness of the filling, which didn’t split into separate layers of oil and custard. We’re told this is the result of less oil used and a gentle five-minute steaming process. #02-09 JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1. Tel: 6684 5080
ARTEASTIQ TEA BONE CHINA & GALLERY 798 [NO LONGER SERVING]
What’s unique about Arteastiq’s custard buns is its ash-grey skin from flecks of charcoal powder in the dough. In the middle, salted egg yolks and creamy custard pool into a thick, sweet and eggy centre. It doesn’t unleash a flow of yellow lava like most buns, but the delicious combination of a freshly steamed bao and the grainy, orange-hued core more than makes up for it. #04-14/15, Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road. Tel: 6333 5116