Last year, when the three of us were but wee interns roaming the wilds of Farrer Park, we made a pact to eat at Swee Choon because G had heard about it from someone. Only, none of us did any research beyond finding out where it was, so we ended up making two failed trips down.
To be sure, these abject failures don't speak very well about our powers of observation. Then again, we've since very thoroughly learnt our lesson on the necessity of checking the business hours of the restaurants we want to visit.
We also have funny stories from each of the bum trips. The first time, we turned up at mid-day for lunch, only to see the sign that listed its business hours of 6 pm to 6 am. We ended up going across the road for soup, where a leery old man pronounced G to be "Pretty... Very pretty.. Hehehe.." and another old man appeared beside our table to ask of our soup "Is it tasty?" in the most creeptastic way possible before vanishing as quickly as he'd popped up.
It was equal parts traumatic and amusing (Although G would argue it was far more traumatic than amusing), and almost worth it because LF's impressions of what happened to us are hysterical.
The second attempt involved a death-defying dash across a main road after work, only to once again be greeted by a pitch black store because we'd turned up on a Tuesday, the one day of the week they're closed. If you were within a 100m radius of Swee Choon at the time, you might have heard our anguish wails. On this occasion, we steered clear of the food centre we'd labelled Creepy Old Man Central, and went to McDonald's instead.
It was after the second missed connection we had with Swee Choon that I found out that the place is pretty much regarded as an institution in the Jalan Besar district, frequented by students, office workers and rather more dubious characters well into the odd hours of the night. If you're ever feeling peckish for dim sum and happen to be around the central area of Singapore, apparently Swee Choon's the place to be.
We made absolutely sure that they were open before we decided to meet on a Wednesday evening, so the third time really was the charm. A year on, the McDonald's has since closed, although there still seemed to be creepy old men hovering about the area. But the biggest difference (For us at least) was the fact that the restaurant was finally open. There were people sitting outside on the rows of chair put out for people waiting for their tables, and it was with a great sense of yes! finally! that we took our queue number.
The portions of dim sum at Swee Choon aren't massive, so you can get a pretty wide variety of dishes to share. Most of the stuff is pretty good, and I enjoyed the prawn and banana fritter. LF doesn't believe in mixing prawns with bananas, so I had more for myself.
We ended up ordering almost too much food. Maybe it was because we were starving, or maybe it was due to the us wanting to try as much as we could in celebration of the fact that we were actually at Swee Choon at long last. Either way, the plates kept coming.
Ultimately triumphing over Swee Choon's odd hours made everything extra tasty. We found the Zha Jiang (Minced meat sauce) La Mian (Pulled noodles) were still enjoyable even after the whole thing got a bit gloppy as it cooled and the noodles congealed.
The food was enjoyable and the prices decent, and the whole place was crowded and buzzing, so it was a great place for us to have dinner and catch up. Swee Choon was the most epic of our many food misadventures last year, so we're terribly relieved that it's been resolved and we can now find some closure from the episode. We might even make a yearly pilgrimage to Swee Choon our thing.
183 - 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882