Tim Ho Wan
- < $10
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.
Although birthday calories don’t count, this wasn’t an excuse to overindulge. So we ditched the Red Velvet for THW’s red goji osmanthus cakes. More jelly than cake, it does leave more to be desired for those expecting a creamy confection. But if a birthday girl wants to go light, these jellies are the perfect stand-in. Good luck getting the candles to stand still!
Their BBQ pork buns really butter up to you. Baked to perfection with savory-sweet insides, sweet-dream are made of these. It’s crystal clear that even Crystal Jade’s po luo paus don’t even come close.
We were seated too close to the queue and envious glances pressured us into a hurried eating frenzy. This could possibly be THW’s table-turnovers strategy, because you’re definitely not going to overstay your good graces here. But for as long as we did stay, we were glad we came here to celebrate a birthday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.