Amid much eager anticipation, Tim Ho Wan has finally arrived in Singapore. Fans of their world-famous crispy char siew baked bun need no longer go to Hong Kong for their fix. You can now get it right here on our sunny shores!
By now, you must have seen much news and reviews on this popular Michelin-star (but amazingly affordable) dim sum restaurant. The Singapore branch has 28 food items on their menu, including 2 dessert options. We went for their pre-opening media event, and these are the 9 items we sampled.
This is what everybody were waiting for. And indeed, it didn’t disappoint. Tim Ho Wan’s signature bun is similar to a Hong Kong style pineapple bun filled with char siew.
But this is a much more refined version. The bun has a delicately sugary crisp top, while the rest of the bun is thin, airy bread. The interior is generously filled with char siew chunks. The sweet-salty sauce is rich and sticky with hints of fragrant rose wine.
But you’ve got to eat this while it’s hot. It doesn’t taste as orgasmic when cold.
Besides the baked bun, there are 3 other signature items making up Tim Ho Wan’s 4 Heavenly Kings 四大天王. The brown hue in their steamed egg cake comes not from brown sugar, but caramelized sugar.
Though it looks simple, this delicate and fluffy cake is deceptively tedious to make. We liked that it was light and not too sweet.
Meltingly soft, the pan-fried carrot cake boasts chunks of juicy radish. Taste-wise it was a little bland and too soft for our table of testers.
The 4th Heavenly King is the pork liver cheong fun. The picture above is char siew cheong fun, but they look similar.
The cheong fun skin is thin and resilient, but a little too firm.
We enjoyed the char siew version very much; the liver version is strictly for fans of liver.
The har gau boasts one of the best skins I’ve eaten. Paper-thin and amazingly resilient, the skin encases fat, juicy prawns.
The siew mai is ordinary but well-executed.
Tim Ho Wan’s Teochew dumpling is a little different from the versions we have here in Singapore. While the ingredients are similar, the sauce base is reddish in color and has a unique flavor. The turnips chunks are a lot bigger and they are very generous with the chives.
This filling for this spring roll is highly unusual — fluffy egg white and crunchy prawn. Nice! And the spring roll skin stays crispy even when it has cooled.
I didn’t try the Beef Balls, but my table mates said it was a bit bland.
But everybody unanimously gave the thumbs up for the osmanthus cake. This chilled jelly-like dessert has a pleasant floral fragrance from osmanthus flower petals. There’s also sweetness from the juicy wolfberries embedded in the jelly.
Tim Ho Wan officially opens its doors today (10 April 2013). I’m sure there will be long, long queues in the coming weeks.
To cope with expected long queues, the restaurant has implemented a queue system. Patrons will get a queue number. If the wait is too long, they can go shopping instead of waiting in line. They will be notified by SMS when their table is ready.
The Plaza Singapura branch seats 100 patrons. They plan to open another 4 branches in Singapore; the next outlet will most probably be in Toa Payoh.
For those who want to takeaway, there’s a separate counter and seating area for waiting customers.
In short: Tim Ho Wan’s emphasis is on affordable and freshly made dimsum for the masses, so don’t expect fine dining dim sum here. Prices are slightly higher than its original Hong Kong branch. On average, each item is about S$5.00.
Based on what we sampled, the quality is very good for its price range. Now it remains to be seen if Tim Ho Wan Singapore can maintain their standard in the months to come.
Below are images of their 2-page menu (as of 10 April 2013).
Prices listed are subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST.
Tim Ho Wan (Plaza Singapura, new extension)
#01-29A/#01-52 Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6251 2000
Open daily: 10am to 10pm
Many thanks to Tim Ho Wan Singapore for the invite.