I love this place. I love the food, its old school coffee shop feel, pun-y name and all. If you’re a person who enjoys food variety, this place is for you. Imagine my delight upon opening a menu chock full of delectable dim sum items, depicted by many bright (not very professionally taken but all the more charming for that) pictures of the food.
Wen Dao Shi (or 126 or Wan Dou Sek – and to me, ‘want to sek’) is a place of many names. And dishes too, apparently. Situated in the bustling Geylang district, parking is of course, a nightmare – but if you go really late at night or perhaps even for a late lunch on the weekend, the fight for lots seems to be somewhat bearable.
So at this place, there’s an insane selection of bite sized treats – perhaps about 3 to 5 types of siew mais (standard, prawn, crabmeat etc), har gaos, cheong funs, baos etc, and another 10-20 types of steamed or fried dumplings/rolls. And then there’s also the porridge, meats, noodles (they have crab vermicelli / thick beehoon soup here too I think!) and even seafood otah and chicken curry.
Shall section this according to the type of items – first up are the steamed dim sum dishes. The Siew Mai King (actually, I think the name is not quite this, but don’t remember the actual one) was really big, plump and juicy, with a good mix of meat and prawn, and some mushroom bits to balance out the flavours (around $4+ I think).
A variation of this that I found rather unusual but good was the Crabmeat Siew Mai, which although didn’t look particularly impressive, tasted quite marvellous indeed. When bitten into, the taste of crab will spread out across your tongue, slowly seeping from within the soft and slightly spongy flesh of the siew mai, as you chew. The Golden Coin or Fortune something dish (mushrooms wrapped in beancurd skin) was really good too – bursting with flavour and sauce! The Xiao Long Baos were so-so.
I really like the King Prawn Har Gao (also around $4+ I believe) here too – the skin is not too thick, and the serving of prawn within is generous and seemed quite fresh too. When paired with the awesome chilli sauce that this place serves – a piquant and fragrant thick dark red sauce, it is definitely quite satisfying.
The Crabmeat Chee Cheong Fun ($4) is another one of their interesting dishes – again, looked fairly normal, but tasted great – the shredded crabmeat wrapped inside a soft and delicate skin and smothered with some sort of delicious brown sauce, melted in my mouth after each bite and left me wanting more.
And a seafood otah dish may seem a little out of place at a dim sum joint, but not at 126 where it seems like ‘everything goes’. The version they serve up here has huge chunks of fish meat encased in a soft, spicy patty of deliciousness. Really quite delicious – though one time they under-steamed it a little and it ended up being a tad bit watery. It was perfect the other two times I went.
Jumping to drinks, I really liked their homemade barley as well – it had a hint of ‘ling yang’ (I don’t know how to explain this but it’s some sort of Chinese herb that people use to cure fever) in it and was cooling to the taste. Especially great for pairing with the fried dishes.
For the fried items, I thoroughly enjoyed the Fried Scallops – they were coated with just the right amount of batter (not too thick and soggy) and fried to a gorgeous but not too oily crisp, with a sizeable juicy scallop inside. Totally. Delicious.
The other fried items I’ve tried so far were quite normal though; the Scallop Beancurd Skin Roll was a nice level of crispy at least, but was pretty thin and empty – there was little sign of scallops within – which made it just okay and not particularly enjoyable. The Fried Prawn Dumpling, while had a decent amount of prawn, did not deliver up to my expectations in terms of flavour (I felt the taste of the prawn didn’t come through strongly enough) and was a bit too oily and over-fried for my liking.
I do really like the overall variety, quality and relaxed, homely feel of the place though, and would definitely pay it a visit again sometime to try the other dishes offered. A friend also told me that their curry xiao long baos (I think?) and some other items were really good too.
While the dim sum at Wen Dao Shi doesn’t have a particularly refined quality, it is hearty, homely, and quite tasty indeed. Spent about S$30++ for 2 pax each time we went – which is quite reasonable for what you get. Do give it a try if you like dim sum! And then let me know what you think about it 🙂
搵到食 Wen Dao Shi
126 Sims Avenue
Tel: +65 6746 4757
Open 24 hours