Generally, notwithstanding that the Raffles Places/Shenton Way area houses so many people who work late, you’re actually hard pressed to find many decent eateries that are still open after about 10 pm. Even in Lao Pa Sat, the only food that seems to be available at that hour is satay and seafood barbeque.
Now, thanks to this year-old 24-hour eatery, late birds have access to dim sum at all hours. Bao Luo Wang Xiang in Mandarin is loosely translated as all-encompassing, or many varieties, which is certainly true of this place. (There’s also a play on the word ‘xiang’ meaning fragrant, but atetoomuch’s collective Chinese language abilities don’t extend to Mandarin puns.) It occupies an entire street within Lao Pa Sat (Street 8, the one facing Hong Leong Building), and consists of mini stalls each selling different types of dim sum – the standard steamed items, porridge, roast meats, fried items, puffs and pastries and even popiah.
I’ve been here for lunch a couple of times and it was packed. The century egg and minced pork porridge was very good, and a steal at $2.50, and the roast duck there is one of the best I’ve had in Singapore, seriously. It was juicy and tender and not at all chewy or tough. I guess it’s not surprising, since BLWX’s two head chefs have a combined experience of almost fifty years in the dim sum industry.
A had to work late (again) on Tuesday, so after chilling out in the gym I met him for a late dinner here at 10 pm. Some of the mini stalls were closed, but the steamed, fried and popiah sections were still open. The popiah is made fresh when you order, and the steamed items are only popped into the steamer after you order. You can also see quite an army of workers in the kitchens hard at work preparing more dim sum, so you’re at least assured that the food is pretty fresh. Apparently this kitchen is a central one for some of the other Kopitiam dim sum stalls, so they’re working into the night not just for this outlet but other stores island-wide.
We didn’t feel like anything too heavy or oily, so we ordered a popiah, char siew chee cheong fun, siew mai and a lotus leaf rice. For hawker centre dim sum, and late at night at that, the standard was really quite good. The popiah wasn't as good as the Queenstown one, but the lotus leaf rice was particularly good – the rice was really soft and the filling of minced meat and salted egg yolk was very tasty. Cheap too – our entire meal cost just $8.90.
Alas, A’s office is moving soon, so opportunities to come here for a late dinner will be drastically reduced. Still, it’s nice to know that the option is always available.
I usually just have bao but I remember the bao dough here being not so good. The chee cheong fun here is very good though. And the sweet chilli sauce has converted me into a siew mai eater. Definitely one of the top food choices in Lau Pa Sat.
Bao Luo Wan Xiang
18 Raffles Quay
Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Street 8
Open 24 hours