Dian Xiao Er

September 06, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Dian Xiao Er
6 Raffles Boulevard
#02-203 Marina Square

1 HarbourFront Walk
#02-138 VivoCity

65 Airport Boulevard
#03-42 Changi Airport Terminal 3

21 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4
#B1-32 Lot One

63 Jurong West Central 3
#03-26 Jurong Point

10 Tampines Central 1
#04-07 Tampines One

23 Serangoon Central
#02-09 NEX

302 Tiong Bahru Road
#02-12 Tiong Bahru Plaza

311 New Upper Changi Road
#01-73 Bedok Mall

9 Bishan Place
#B1-07 Junction 8


Traditional, Homely, Chinese Comfort Food

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 8
Value for Money: 7
Spent about SGD $30 per person.


Since its founding in 2005, Dian Xiao Er has stayed true to its niche; providing rustic, tastefully prepared Chinese comfort food in a homely setting, at slightly above Zi Char pricing. And while it does feature Chinese style Zi Char dishes, the star highlights at Dian Xiao Er are its lovingly roasted ducks, served in a variety of flavourful herbal broths.

Ambience at Dian Xiao Er is styled after a traditional Imperial Chinese rest house / inn, complete with dark wooden furniture and flooring, normally packed quite closely together. Depending on which Dian Xiao Er outlet you visit, decor can range from farm house to stone cliff. Atmosphere is lively and bustling, yet not noisy as to disrupt conversation. I also like that Dian Xiao Er has a display of its roast duck hanging near the entrance.

Service at Dian Xiao Er seems to have actually improved over the last 5 years that I've visited. Order are taken and fulfilled quickly, and staff are polite, offering greetings upon entry / exit. Empty plates are cleared quickly, and staff are also efficient are topping up tea without being asked. Only drawback I note is that not all staff can converse in English, thus, Mandarin / Chinese is the preferred method of communication here.

Food at Dian Xiao Er is mainly focused on their signature roast duck in herbal broths, as well as double boiled soups Cantonese style, alongside a small selection of Chinese style Zi Char dishes. Potions are usually sufficient for 2 people to share, and pricing is slightly more expensive than a coffee shop Zi Char, but cheaper than a Chinese fine dining restaurant, averaging about SGD $25 - $40 per person.

Quality of food at Dian Xiao Er is very good, ingredients are fresh due to their high turnover, and dishes are well prepared. Plating and presentation is decent. Overall, a good place for a homely, comfort Chinese meal!


The Duck Roasting Area fronts every stall, giving passerbys an eyeful of the succulent roast duck hanging in the windows. Within, the distinctly Chinese Imperial decor and colour themes of red, wood, and stone grey mix and flow, with layout similar to a homely inn, or an Imperial dining hall.

Dian Xiao Er Duck Roasting Area

Dian Xiao Er Mural Painting

Dian Xiao Er Decor

Dian Xiao Er Seating

The signature Roast Duck With 10 Wonder Herbs (SGD $14.60 Small, SGD $27.30 Medium, SGD $46.60 Whole) features duck roasted to perfection, in a dark herbal gravy of 10 Chinese herbs which include condonopsis root, foxglove root, and licorice root. It supposedly has a calming effect, while relieving mental stress and revitalizing energy.

The duck meat is tender, moist, and yields easily, not an easy feat to achieve with duck! The duck skin retains a slightly crisp crunch, and a tinge of salty, savoury flavour. The gravy is yummy and drinkable, and while strong with the flavour of Chinese herbs, isn't overpowering or medicinal in taste. Excellent! Ask for it to be deboned for a more satisfiying meal!

Roast Duck With 10 Wonder Herbs

The modern Stewed Crocodile Soup With Almonds (SGD $7.60 Small) is prepared in the traditional Chinese double boiled style, and features crocodile meat, almonds, red dates, and other Chinese herbs. The crocodile meat is tender, but on its own, is quite bland. The soup has a lovely mellow flavour, with a tinge of sweet and nutty, warm and very drinkable. Said to relieve breathing difficulties and cough, while enhancing eyesight and skin complexion.

Stewed Crocodile Soup With Almonds

I like that you can request for the Claypot Eggplant With Mushroom & Meat (SGD $11.90 Small) to be prepared with less oil, as it's a typically very oily dish. I love the freshness of the eggplant / aubergines, stewed till soft and tender, and the gravy of minced pork, shiitake mushrooms, spring onions, and chili, is savoury, slightly spicy, and goes well over rice. Still rather oily though.

Claypot Eggplant With Mushroom & Meat

The Stewed Ee-Fu Noodle With Conpoy & Golden Mushroom (SGD $10.30 Small) has the perfect gooey texture, and the noodles are savoury and slurp-a-licious! Braised together with shiitake mushrooms, golden mushrooms, and a chicken conpoy broth / soup, the noodles take on the flavour profile of these and are absolutely delicious! Only slightly oily though.

Stewed Ee-Fu Noodle With Conpoy & Golden Mushroom

I love having the Tea Pu Er with a meal here.

Tea Pu Er

The Old-Style Steamed Fish Slices (SGD $12.60 Small) is a traditional savoury dish, featuring large slices of fresh fish, steamed in a light soy sauce, along with sliced pork loin, red dates, pickled mustard greens, and spring onions. Love the lightness of this dish, but it's best eaten with rice to cut through the salty, savoury taste.

Old-Style Steamed Fish Slices

The Sauteed String Beans With XO Sauce (SGD $12.30 Small) has fresh, crunchy string beans, tossed in a light spicy chili sauce. While I can't taste the distinct use of XO, I like the freshness and lightness of the string beans. Ask for less oil!

Sauteed String Beans With XO Sauce

Loved the Fish Maw Thick Soup With Seafood (SGD $16.90 Small), with its eggy, slightly sweet broth that tastes of fresh seafood. The portion of fish maw is decent, and the spongy texture absorbs the soup well. Only 2 types of seafood feature in this thick yet light soup, fresh crab meat, and sliced abalone.

Fish Maw Thick Soup With Seafood

The signature Roast Duck With Wild Ginseng (SGD $15 Small) has that excellent tender and moist duck meat, crisp savoury skin, and the sweet, refreshing taste of ginseng and wolfberries.

Roast Duck With Wild Ginseng


Update Dec-2015: Has been over 1 year since I last visited Dian Xiao Er. The ambience has largely remained the same, although the service has actually improved even more! The staff are so much faster and quicker now, orders are fulfilled within less than 10 minutes! Prices however, have increased by about SGD $1 - $8 per dish, though quality of food remains just as good, and portions size remains the same. For example, the Roast Duck With 10 Wonder Herbs (SGD $15.30 Small, SGD $28.30 Medium, SGD $47.80 Whole) has increased in price.

The Braised Peanuts are served as an appetizer before the rest of the food arrives. Quite good, texture is soft, with a salty savoury taste. Great with White Rice! The White Rice itself is cooked well, sticky but not clumpy or mushy, not too soft, nor too hard. Good!

Braised Peanuts

White Rice

The Poached Beancurd Skin With Assorted Vegetables (SGD $10.90 Small, $16.30 Medium, $21.60 Large) has soft, chewy, savoury beancurd skin, in a light mushroom gravy. Along with snow peas, straw mushrooms, and carrots, this is a light, healthy vegetable dish to accompany a meal.

Poached Beancurd Skin With Assorted Vegetables

The Deep Fried Kai-Lan With Floss (SGD $10.90 Small, $16.30 Medium, $21.80 Large) is unique, and totally delicious! The kai-lan / Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli is deep fried till crisp, then shredded. Has a crunchy texture and salted flavour, not unlike eating fine seaweed! The chicken floss lends a slighty chewy texture, and the tender slices of stem complete this sweet, savoury, salty dish. Excellent taste and textures! Highly recommended!

Deep Fried Kai-Lan With Floss

The Dong Po Braised Pork Belly (SGD $14.30 Small, $21.50 Medium, $28.60 Large) might possibly be the weakest dish I tried here. While savoury, it also has that gamey taste of pork that clashes with the deep flavoured gravy. Not much fat on this as well, it seems rather lean. I do commend that they got the texture right, soft and fork tender, coming apart easily. Still, I didn't like this dish.

Dong Po Braised Pork Belly

The signature Roast Duck With 10 Wonder Herbs (SGD $15.30 Small, $28.30 Medium, $47.80 Whole) may have increased in price, but the duck meat is still consistently tender, moist, and savoury sweet! The duck skin still has that satisfiying crisp crunch. Still as good as ever! Highly recommended!

Roast Duck With 10 Wonder Herbs Again

The Fish Maw Thick Soup With Seafood (SGD $17.60 Small, $26.30 Medium, $34.90 Large) has also increased in price, but at least the soup / broth is just as hearty. Still full of egg, fish maw, fresh crab meat, and sliced abalone, this soup / broth is consistently thick, savoury sweet, and comforting. However, I do feel the fish maw could have been rehydrated or stewed longer, to make it softer. But it's still as delicious!

Fish Maw Thick Soup With Seafood Again

The Stir-Fried Pea Pod Tips / Dou Miao (SGD $10.80 Small, $16.30 Medium, $21.60 Large) is fresh, lightly stir-fried so it still retains that nice crunch. You get the full natural taste, enhanced with fragrant garlic. Clean, healthy, and good!

Stir-Fried Pea Pod Tips / Dou Miao

The sweet, sticky glaze, and the chunky, easy to hold Marmite Superior Chicken (SGD $12.80 Small, $19.30 Medium, $25.60 Large) make this appealing to both children and adults. Love how fresh and clean the chicken meat is, and it comes off easily from the bone. I like that it's not messy to eat. The taste of the savoury sweet chicken is delicious! Highly recommended!

Marmite Superior Chicken


Update Apr-2017: Time flies by, and again, it's been over 1 year since I last visited Dian Xiao Er. Amazing. The dining experience here remains as good as before, and they're still a solid Chinese restaurant to visit.

The Stir-Fried Eggs With Fresh Tomatoes (SGD $7.90 Small, $11.80 Medium, $15.80 Large) is very good, and something I would have cravings for. The soft, eggy dish is sweet savoury, with the bright, fresh tomatoes lending a vegetal juicy touch to the eggs. Pure comfort food. Good!

Stir-Fried Eggs With Fresh Tomatoes (SGD $7.90 Small, $11.80 Medium, $15.80 Large)

The Wheatgrass Tofu With Seafood (SGD $14.50 Small, $29 Large) is a novel, unique dish. The soft, wobbly tofu beancurd is infused with bright, vegetal wheatgrass, lending it a vibrant green colour. Served in a thick, savoury sweet oyster sauce gravy, with crunchy florets of broccoli, and slices of scallops and abalone on top. Very tasty. Highly recommended!

Wheatgrass Tofu With Seafood (SGD $14.50 Small, $29 Large)


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