Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin one star dim sum restaurant, has finally arrived in Singapore. Its dim sum have won the plaudits of food critics and the hearts of epicureans around the world. The Big 4 Heavenly Kings available on the local menu are, the Baked BBQ Pork Buns, the Steamed Egg Cake, Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver and Pan Fried Carrot Cake.
Tim Ho Wan Hot
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Worth the Queue
The queues at Tim Ho Wan are intimidating. There is always a long row of chairs outside their outlets that are not even enough during peak periods. They also will not let you in unless your entire group has arrived.
The seating inside is also Hong Kong-style - small chairs and small tables. The staff are way more polite here though, but they retain their Hong Kong efficiency. The food comes almost instantly.
On the menu there some seasonal items. They can be a mixed bag, but worth a try. You definitely must try the 4 heavenly kings though, especially the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. Although I have no idea how dim sum has anything to do with singers. The underdog is the Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp, my personal favourite.
My favourite BBQ pork buns
To be honest, the only thing I really like at Tim Ho Wan is the baked BBQ pork buns, but I mean I reaaaaaally like them, so it makes up for the lack of other rave-worthy dishes. Not that the other choices are bad - I also quite like the steamed egg cake and the steamed rice dishes - but the pork buns certainly takes the spotlight.
I was rather hesitant to join the snaking queues when Tim Ho Wan first opened its doors in Singapore (although I'd admit without shame that I still did), but now that the hype has died down, I'm loving the pork bun binge every other day. Beneath its crumby, sweet exterior is nicely flavoured, almost melt-in-your-mouth BBQ pork, which makes for a perfect blend of both texture and flavour.
The stuff of your dreams.
Just Go for the Baked BBQ Bun
I've always been put off by the seemingly long queues at the Plaza Singapura outlet, but I finally gave in to my Michelin-star cravings and dragged my family to try Tim Ho Wan. Thankfully, the queue moved quickly, and my family found a seat in a corner of the restaurant. The restaurant was packed full of tables and it was difficult to navigate - we were relieved when we finally sat down.
We ordered many dishes off the menu, but most of them weren't memorable - I'd rather go to Crystal Jade or Tung Lok for their dim sum. My only favourite dish, deserving of a Michelin star, was the baked BBQ pork buns. Crispy on the outside, and flowing with hot BBQ pork, it was simply delicious. I would have eaten more, but unfortunately I had to leave some for my family as well.
The items are not that cheap, but I'd say don't bother about the dim sum - just head straight for the baked BBQ pork buns.
Slight increase in prices
Tim Ho Wan would be one of the cheaper alternatives to dine at a Michelin star restaurant. They have got a small menu with just a few items and chef’s recommendation on the menu from time to time.
Made a trip down to Tim Ho Wan last week and realized that they raised the prices of some of the items on the menu by S$0.50, something we did not expect. My friends and I thought that it was probably those more popular items. It was slightly pricey to find your usual shrimp dumplings at S$6 per basket, up from the usual S$5.50.
The taste of the porridge was slightly off this time round; more bland compared to the previous few times I went. I wondered if their standards drop due to the amount of customers they get each day.
One of the must-try would like their baked bun with BBQ pork (S$5). You will realize that almost every table would have ordered this dish. The bun is slightly sweet and crispy on the outside. The filling inside is not dry and the combination is really good. However, you might get put off by the taste if you try to polish a plate off at once.
The waiting time for the food is reasonable as well. The staff are attentive and polite. For your usual dim sum, Tim Ho Wan would be slightly more expensive. However, for a one Michelin star dining place, it is affordable. Depending on how you see it, some might find it too pricey while others think it is reasonable.
Decent dim sum, could do without the hype
I'm starting to get sympathetic towards restaurants with a lot of hype. It's perhaps because of the hype that people tend to be disappointed with the food. Minus my 20 min queue outside Tim Ho Wan, I'd be quite happy with my experience. Minus also, the fact that it's one Michelin starred and It would have been a great dinner.
The dim sum was above average and definitely one of the better ones around. That said, I can't pick out anything that will make me crave to return anytime soon. Their famous pork buns were definitely a highlight, with unctuous, sweet char siew in a crispy pilllowy bun. I also enjoyed the carrot cake with its crispy surface and melty texture. I think the hallmark of a good dim sum place is how they execute their classics. Their har gow was exceptionally juicy with a glutinous skin that was neither thick nor chewy. I usually don't eat har gow skin because it's tasteless and starchy but I ate the whole dumpling. I also liked that the siew mai was juicy and robustly flavoured.
Disappointments include the braised chicken feet and the cordyceps dumplings. Not memorable and not pleasant.
In all, a decent place for dim sum but you'll pay close to $20 for a filling meal. And don't bother if you hate queues.
When Tim Ho Wan first opened in Singapore, everyone was so hyped up about it as it was in the middle of the media attention. The super long queue was what made me waited for almost a year before I step into one of their restaurants.
I always thought that my first time with Tim Ho Wan would be at Plaza Singapura (P.S) because of the location and my desires every time I pass by P.S. However, my first and last time eating at Tim Ho Wan was at their Toa Payoh branch.
I was taken aback when I first saw their menu. I flipped it and looked all around me, thinking that I might have missing pages or something. But no, their selection was very limited and thus was easily displayed into a single page menu. My friend and I then proceeded to order their famous Baked Bun with BBQ pork and some other accompanying dim sums. Perhaps due to my high expectations, none of the dishes could satisfy me.
They were definitely up to standard, but not the kind where the taste would linger in your mind.
I'm not sure what all the hype about it is, but I've only eaten there once and I found the food rather normal.
Ordered Spring Roll with Egg White, Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce, Prawn Dumplings, char siew buns, their signature dessert, and a few others but didn't find it exceptional at all. It's not a bad place with good ambience, but I didn't find it fantastic. The service is good and staff are rather friendly.
Dim Sum Paradise
Many people often get put off by long and winding queues, but not Singaporeans. Especially when it comes to food. And in comes Tim Ho Wan, one of the more popular eateries in Singapore which commands insanely long queues at any time of the day, any day of the week.
And it's worth it. I'm not even kidding. The price you pay for the quality of the dimsum is so worth it. Granted, it might not be comparable to its HK counterparts, but it's still good enough. The Baked BBQ Pork Bun is the best thing ever. The bun is covered with a layer of sweet and crispy skin, while the inside is filled with a generous portion of savoury pork. It's the epitome of perfection. Each serving comes with three buns, and we can easily finish one serving each. Other dishes worth mentioning are the prawn chee cheong fun and steamed egg cake.
This is a place where you get to enjoy authentic and decent dimsum. Following the opening of several other outlets, the queues seem to be getting shorter by the day, which is good, but I do hope that the quality of food will not drop. Until then, I predict myself frequenting Tim Ho Wan for a good dimsum fix.
An Unvarnished Review
Words like “overrated”, “not worth a visit” roll off the tongues of Tim Ho Wan’s naysayers. Sure, you can cavil at its operations —long waiting time; service standards which at times can be sublime for a casual eatery— but one thing you cannot deny: most of its dim sum dishes are laudable. Three other outlets have sprung up in just one year following the launch of the flagship at Plaza Singapura in April 2013. What was believed to be initial hype surrounding the then nascent outlet has yet to peter out. Snaking queues are still a common sight on a weekday morning and the establishment experiences an endless flurry of activity from day to night.
Surely the establishment is getting its dim sum right. The following dishes make me a willing repeat customer.
The Baked Bun with BBQ Pork ($4.50) is simply sui generis. The exterior is a sweet, crumbly dome. Pry into it and wisps of steam will billow —a positive sign. How hot a dim sum dish is when it is served is a litmus test: cold dim sum will never measure up. What then ensues is the outflow of luxurious pork filling. Sweet but not cloying, the meat is diced into petite cubes.
I have been to Tim Ho Wan several times now and it is just so fun watching my friends take their first bites of the mother of all buns. A glint enters their eyes and excitement sweeps their faces… that is usually followed by coos and nods of approval. For all dim sum aficionados, this is the one dish you have to savour.
If you happen by a Tim Ho Wan outlet that doesn't have a quene at all, what are you waiting for? It time to make your way in quick! This was how I reacted whenever I was walking around looking for a place to have a meal in and saw the place relatively empty. Unable to believe my luck, I made a quick entrance in.
I'd recommend especially their BBQ pork buns when it comes to food. Of my virgin experience at Tim Ho Wan, I remembered agreeing with my friend to order every single dish that the restaurant has to offer. With the exception of the BBQ pork buns, which we ordered 2,3 plates, we ordered 1 of each item. If you wonder why we're into the pork buns, its simply because its really delicious! With its crispy, crumbly and sweet exterior with succulent fragrant pork meat in its interior, it was heavenly to simply sink your teeth into the bun. Other notable dishes I'd recommend would be the siew mai and the shrimp rolls.
The service too, was to my satisfaction. It was extremely commendable the way the staff at the Bedok outlet processed my order, as if they meet customers everyday who order all their dishes. Unfazed, they came up bearing the dishes with a smile and even had ingenious ways of creating space when the table is simply too cluttered with plates.
Overall, despite chalking up a large bill (over $100), my friend and I decided that it was really worth the experience and it would be a terrific idea to try it once again.