Zi Char - Dragon Bowl

Zi Char - Dragon Bowl
12 Kallang Avenue
#02-09 Aperia Mall

6 Raffles Boulevard
#03-129A Marina Square


Good Cantonese Dining With A Range Of Prices

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 7
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $27 per person.


Opening its doors in February 2015, Dragon Bowl is more than an up-market Chinese Zi Char restaurant, offering contemporary Cantonese cuisine in a comfortable, modern setting. With a wide variety of options on the menu, at various price points, Dragon Bowl restaurant attempts to differentiate itself via its quality service and cuisine.

Ambience at Dragon Bowl restaurant is modern and elegant, with clean lines, white walls, contemporary furnishings, and touches of crystal. The open interior lends a feeling of sophistication and space, but can also get rather noisy if the place is packed. The refrigerated display case and large banners out front draw the eyes.

Service at Dragon Bowl is professional, efficient, and courteous. I understand the staff are mostly former hospitality / hotel service personnel, which accounts for the pretty good service. They'll do their best to accomodate requests, are rather observant, attend to diners quickly, and are knowledgable enough to make astute recommendations.

Food at Dragon Bowl is distinctly Chinese Cantonese, with a selection of other Chinese Zi Char style dishes, only modernised. Plating is modern contemporary and rather pretty, but Head Chef Leong ensures that traditional, comfort flavours are still present in each dish. Portions are designed for sharing, and prices reflect the mid range market Dragon Bowl is going for, budget about SGD $27 per person for a meal here.


Love how clean, inviting, and elegant the place looks. Ordering is done via tablets PCs, and staff will either show you how to order, or assist in taking your order should it be required.

Dragon Bowl Exterior

Dragon Bowl Interior

Table Setting

The default beverage / tea served here is a rather light, but refreshing, Green Tea. Unusual choice, but it works!

Green Tea

The Braised Peanuts And Chili are served shortly after you're seated. Love the soft texture of the peanuts, and the savoury salty flavour that makes it excellent when eaten with other dishes. The Black Fungus & Cucumber has a slight spicy kick, and the difference in textures between the crunchy cucumbers and chewy black fungus is great!

Braised Peanuts And Chili

Black Fungus & Cucumber

I felt the White Rice here is rather sub-standard, being more firm in texture, and not as fluffy as I like. Personally, I'll rather order noodles over this.

White Rice

The Cantonese are known for their excellent soups, so this double boiled Pork Rib And Lotus Root Soup (SGD $49.80 Set Meal) didn't disappoint! The pork ribs and lotus roots within are soft and tender, but the star is the fragrant soup / broth, tasty with savoury sweet flavour from the pork meat and herbs. Very drinkable, pure comfort starter to whet the appetite.

Pork Rib And Lotus Root Soup

Had the Barbecued Meat Dual Mixed Dish - Marinated Jellyfish & Barbecued Pork With Honey (SGD $49.80 Set Meal), and just the Barbecued Pork With Honey (SGD $12) on a different occasion. The chilled jellyfish strips are crunchy with a good kick from the spicy sweet marinade, overall decent, but not worth ordering again. The barbecued pork was very good, nice char on the outside, tender and moist pork meat with silvers of fat, savoury and sweet but not overly so. Definitely worth ordering more than once!

Barbecued Meat Dual Mixed Dish - Marinated Jellyfish

Barbecued Meat Dual Mixed Dish - Barbecued Pork With Honey

Barbecued Pork With Honey

The Braised Kai-Lan With Dual Mushrooms (SGD $49.80 Set Meal) has large, crunchy kai-lan / Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli, along with tender, earthy shiitake mushrooms and lingzhi mushrooms. As a Cantonese dish, sauce features heavily here, in this case, a thick, savoury oyster and light soy gravy with a hint of sweetness.

Braised Kai-Lan With Dual Mushrooms

The Stewed Spinach With Trio Egg Soup (SGD $10.80) has a generous amount of fresh spinach and the 3 eggs (normal eggs, salted eggs, century eggs), in a light soup / broth. Pretty good, but as a dish, this wasn't as memorable as the other dishes. Decent, but not the best I've had, worth ordering if you're a fan of this dish.

Stewed Spinach With Trio Egg Soup

The Braised Home Made Beancurd With Bamboo Charcoal Powder (SGD $13.80) has a smooth, wobbly, soft texture to the dark coloured beancurd. The chinese cabbage / bok choy, straw mushrooms, and thick, savoury sweet gravy complete this delightful dish. Straight forward, simple, delicious.

Braised Home Made Beancurd With Bamboo Charcoal Powder

The Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Style (SGD $35.75) features a large, fresh, seabass fish, steamed with aromatics in a dark, savoury salty, soy broth. The white meat of the fish flakes off easily, coming clean off the bone. Very good for the price!

Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Style 01

Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Style 02

The Deep Fried Marble Goby Fish In Light Soy Sauce (SGD $49.80 Set Meal) tries to be great, but just misses the mark because of small details. The fish is well fried and crisp, but the longer it sits in the light soy sauce gravy, the more soggy the skin gets. I also note a slight sourness to the flesh in some parts. At least there's quite a bit of fish meat, and most of the exterior still retains a nice crispy crunch. Overall, not as tasty as it looks, order something else instead.

Deep Fried Marble Goby Fish In Light Soy Sauce 01

Deep Fried Marble Goby Fish In Light Soy Sauce 02

The Roasted Peking Duck Set (SGD $34 Half Duck Set Meal) features a trio of dishes. The Roasted Peking Duck itself is served with sliced duck meat and skin, Steamed Pancakes, Cucumber And Spring Onions, with all the ingredients supposed to be rolled together, dipped into the sweet sauce, and eaten. While this dish hails from Jing / Mandarin cuisine, the duck itself is roasted Cantonese style with 2 kinds of duck skin; a thin, crisp skin on the side, and the normal roasted, soft skin on the meat itself. The meat is tender without any gamey taste, and overall, this is a good dish!

Roasted Peking Duck Set

Steamed Pancakes

Cucumber And Spring Onions

Roasted Peking Duck


The Salted Vegetables Duck Soup (SGD $34 Half Duck Set Meal) has a generous portion of odd duck parts, and pickled mustard greens, in a savoury, salty, light soup / broth. Opinion was divided, some of us loved the taste of the soup / broth, others felt it was overly salty. I felt this was very drinkable and well balanced in flavour, and actually had 3 bowls!

Salted Vegetables Duck Soup

Loved the savoury, slippery Duck Ee-Fu Noodles (SGD $34 Half Duck Set Meal)! Stir fried with the duck and other aromatics, the noodles are infused with fragrant, meaty flavour. Very good!

Duck Ee-Fu Noodles

Update Oct-2015: The Braised E-Fu Noodles (SGD $12) are naturally quite good, with the slippery noodles having soaked up that wonderful, savoury salty, mushroom and light soy sauce gravy. The crunch of the bean sprouts provides a welcome contrast to texture, while the tender, soft, earthy slices of shiitake mushrooms lend good flavour.

Braised E-Fu Noodles

Update Oct-2015: The Braised Shredded Conpoy & Crab Meat In Minced Winter Melon Thick Soup (SGD $8) has that intense crustacean flavour from the fresh, deshelled chunks of crab meat. Along with the small cubes of winter melon, it lends a savoury sweetness to the thick soup / broth. Need to add a little vinegar to lift the overall flavour though. Warm and comforting!

Braised Shredded Conpoy & Crab Meat In Minced Winter Melon Thick Soup

Update Oct-2015: The Braised Trio Mushroom Vegetables (SGD $13.80) has earthy, tender slices of wild button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and straw mushrooms, along with crunchy red & green bell peppers / capsicums, onions, and asparagus. Chef's skill with the wok is evident here, each mouthful of vegetables carries the unmistakable smoky flavour of wok hei / breath of the wok. Great combination of textures, flavours, and colours. Highly recommended!

Braised Trio Mushroom Vegetables

Update Oct-2015: The Deep-Fried Prawn With Pumpkin Creamy Sauce (SGD $22) features meaty, completely deshelled whole fresh prawns, coated in a thick, sweet and floral pumpkin cream sauce. The richness of the pumpkin taste comes through, yet doesn't overwhelm the naturally sweet flavour of the large prawns. Excellent!

Deep-Fried Prawn With Pumpkin Creamy Sauce

Update Oct-2015: The small chunks of beef in the Stir-Fried Tenderloin Beef Cube With Black Pepper & Red Wine (SGD $24) are savoury, meaty, and incredibly tender, almost melting away in the mouth! Slightly more salty than I prefer, though this pairs really well with rice, which helps to alleviate it somewhat. Still pretty good, worth ordering!

Stir-Fried Tenderloin Beef Cube With Black Pepper & Red Wine

Update Jan-2016: The savoury Braised Superior Vegetable (SGD $16.20) is decently executed, with a good mix of various vegetables, including broccoli, button mushroom, shiitake mushroom, black fungus, baby corn, and bamboo shoots. Alright as a dish, but not particularly outstanding.

Braised Superior Vegetable

Update Jan-2016: The Roast Chicken With Minced Garlic (SGD $18) is incredibly fragrant, and incredibly tender, with moist, succulent chicken meat. The salty savoury chicken skin isn't too crisp, but is forgivable as the meat itself is excellent. Portion is rather small though, but it's still a good dish. Worth ordering!

Roast Chicken With Minced Garlic