Posted by: mikeydude | January 2, 2010

Dragon Palace Dim Sum Restaurant Southampton Review (3/10)

Can Dim Sum get any worse?

In typical annual fashion my parents, sis + bro-in-law, my wife and I went for Dim Sum during the Christmas break. Usually we go to Pearl Harbour just down the road from this one, but their standards and hygiene standards have totally put my parents off from going there recently. So we resort to this small 2nd floor restaurant which has changed owners recently and so was due a visit. I’m not entirely sure which of the 2 would have been worse, but my goodness have dim sum standards fallen in Southampton this year! Here’s my report.

Ham Sui Gok

I’m not sure why we always seem to order these. I think the girls like them. I’ve always found them very doughy and filling without much satisfaction in taste. They are basically deep fried balls of mochi stuffed with a pork and mushroom filling. A usual average experience became a dreadful one. These were freshly deep fried (at least), but so greasy that my mouth was full of oil after I took my first bite. Not pleasant and not healthy. The filling was virtually non existent and didn’t really taste of much. No good.

‘1000 year old egg’ and pork Congee

The Boss and Brother in Law love congee (rice porridge) and so we ordered the classic combination of ‘1000 year old egg’ (preserved egg) and pork. I didn’t actually taste this but I was told they were scrimping on ingredients. I don’t think there was a single piece of egg in there and minimal strips of pork. That’s pretty bad.

Carrot Cake

Another girl’s favourite. At least this wasn’t too greasy! I thought this tasted alright although the cake itself could potentially be more tender. The taste was pretty much spot on and I didn’t need to rush in with salt or chilli sauce. Not bad.

Prawn Churng Fun

My favourite dim sum dish. In Cardiff there’s a hit n miss place which sometimes served a silky smooth ‘churng fun’ encasing juicy although not too fresh large prawns. This is adequate and always nice to see something freshly made. This place however produced not so smooth churng fun with small and definitely unfresh prawns. I know this because the prawns taste rubbery and of nothing. Of course overcooking the prawns also has this effect. Nah…. no good.

Duck and Pork with Bok Choi and chow mein

Classic dish normally with roast belly pork as well which wasn’t available on the day. The pork was a bit dry but tasted ok. The duck was dry and overdone. The veg was ok. Worst was the chow mein. I think the chef has been trying to get rid of his old oil stock as this was greasy heaven. There was a small swimming pool of oil on the base of the plate. These noodles are supposed to be crispy and all it probably needed was to be rested and dabbed with kitchen towel after deep frying. Bad.

Seafood Hor Fun

My mum’s favourite dish. Mange Tout and spring onions fried with an assortment of seafood and thick floury noodles called Hor Fun. This wasn’t tragically bad. They even included a scallop! The mange tout were nice and crunchy, and there was a nice quantity of seafood for everyone to get a bite.

Prawn Dumpling

Classic dim sum dish consisting of prawn encased in a thin coating of wheat starch. The secret behind this dish is to have a fresh prawn because that is essentially what the dish is. Enough said…

Siu Mai

The other half of the classic steamed dim sum combo. This is essentially a dumpling of pork, prawn and mushrooms. At least fresh ingredients are not as important here. Nicely textured and flavoured I couldn’t really complain about this one.

Chicken Glutinous Rice

These are parcels of steamed glutinous sticky rice mixed with chicken, prawns, and various vegetables. Again not my favourite dim sum, but always ordered nonetheless. I always find it a bit heavy and this one was no different from the rest. However the seasoning was about right and the rice was nice and appropriately gooey.

Steamed chicken feet

I’m always amused how the British find it totally disgusting to eat chicken feet. Thanks to atypical chefs such as Fergus Henderson and Heston they are starting to become more adventurous. However even I must admit my hesitance to try this dish if I hadn’t eaten it from young. ‘Free your mind’ I would say before you try it as the thought of it being a foot is somewhat disturbing.

Anyway I’ve always loved chicken feet due to their texture more than anything else. It has semi-firm flesh with small amounts of fat and tendon beneath which gives it a unique eating experience. Combined with black beans and chilli it makes for a nice little snack dish. Give it a try although it’s a bit like marmite really; love or hate. This one we had here wasn’t bad, but then it’s not the most difficult dish in the world to make.

Custard Buns Steamed

These are steamed doughy buns with a custard centre that are either steamed or deep fried. I’m not an expert of judging these but this one had a nice bright yellow custard centre and the dough was quite spongy. The custard was also nice and sweet.

Erm. All in all quite catastrophic I think. We ordered quite a few dishes and none were outstanding, a couple were ok, and the rest were pretty awful. I don’t think I’ve had such bad dim sum for years. It’s rather disappointing that Southampton used to have pretty good dim sum, and it would be one of the things I would look forward to when coming home from Cardiff for the weekends as a student. Nowadays it has lost this superiority and much better places can be found elsewhere.


72-78 Above Bar Street
SO14 7DT

Tel: 023 8063 0211

No website



  1. I feel exactly the same way. I’ve been looking for an alternative for a long time. Do you know anywhere in the Southampton or Bournemouth area? I’ve tried Kam’s Palace, Pearl Harbour and Chef Hong Kong. None of them seem to be able to produce a decent Yum Cha for the last year or so.

    • nope i’m afraid it’s a pretty sad scene in southampton at the moment despite the massive chinese population which is shocking! Even Cardiff is better at the mo, but I am keeping my eyes peeled! Having said that you’re not that far awya from london which does great dim sum (some places!)

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