Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Tim Ho Wan - Plaza Singapura - Singapore, Singapore

Tim Ho Wan

Tim. Ho. Wan. Those famous words that I continuously read about time and time again. 

Tim Ho Wan is a famous dim sim restaurant originating from Hong Kong that received a Michelin Star from the Michelin guide in 2009. These stars are especially hard to come by and to be able to eat a Michelin star restaurant can cost quite a bit of money. Yet, this Michelin starred restaurant may be the cheapest of the lot!  Many people have travelled far and wide to the original outlet in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, in quest for the best dim sim available out there. There are some huge fans and loyal followers, who describe it as being the best of the best. 

I've wanted to try out the dim sim from Tim Ho Wan for the longest time, having read numerous reviews on how exceptional the food. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to travel back to Hong Kong to try these mini morsels. 

Last year I got a shock when I found out that Tim Ho Wan was opening in Singapore. Yes! Singapore! The first overseas location outside of Hong Kong.  To my absolute delight, I anticipated this moment as I knew Singapore was definitely on the cards. 

Since reading this news, more branches have opened throughout Singapore, four to be exact, given its immense popularity among locals and tourist alike. It has spread like wildfire. I wouldn't be surprised if they opened more outlets in the near future. 

Newspaper articles sideline the walls and they haven't just been mentioned in a few articles but many articles. 

We got to the outlet at Plaza Singapura, located on Orchard Road, 15 minutes before opening and there were only a few people ahead of us. When it opened at 10am on the dot, everyone was ushered in quickly and eventually the place filled up. I've heard that the waiting time in line can be an hour or more during peak periods so I planned ahead to avoid this. This was a weekday so I'm assuming on weekends people would be up bright and early for yum cha. 

It's not a big eatery, only having 96 seats. There are no ladies pushing carts around so it's pretty civilised. 

The menu is scattered throughout the line so you can peruse and decide on what you want even before you get through the door. 

The place mat on the table is the menu! I like how the menu is so easy to read with pictures and words so you know what you're actually eating. My favourite type of menu. The options on offer is limited but it's decent as you have a selection to choose from.  There are steamed, deep fried, rice and dessert options. 

Service is very fast and efficient. Before you get to your table, you are handed a menu and on that menu is the order form with the pricing of each dish. Once you fill out the order form, the waitress comes and processes your order. I didn't even have much time to add additional items to my order form as the waitress came and took it away within a matter of minutes. 

Don't you hate it when you go to have yum cha and you never know what they're actually charging you till you get the final bill? Don't need to worry about that here because it is all written down and there are no hidden charges.  Reminds me of the highly effective system in place at Din Tai Fung. 

With a positive comes a negative. You get everyone on your table within a space of few minutes which means everything is no longer steaming hot and food doesn't taste good when it gets cold. That only means one thing, scoffing it down very quickly. 

The food is then brought out quickly, one or two at a time, slowly filling up the table. 

The 'Chinese Tea (SGD 1.20)' is brought out first. Hot tea is a must for a yum cha dining experience as yum cha means drinking tea.They refill your cups frequently. 

The 'Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (SGD 4.50 for three)' is one of their signature dishes. It's like a rendition of the Chinese pork bun but this one has a crispy, sugary, buttery exterior with a filling of char siew that is both sweet and salty. The flavours to me are a bit confusing. It's a mix of both savoury and sweet which I don't mind but I don't really like either.  Then again, I've never been a huge fan of the traditional Chinese pork bun. Some come here and brave the queue just for the bun so the bun can be extremely delicious for some and is a must try as you can't get it anywhere else. 

The 'Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp' is another one of my must orders. It's silky smooth and the shrimp is freshly prepared. Nicely coated with a sweet blend of soya sauce. 

The 'Steamed Egg Cake (SGD 3.80)' has become a favourite of mine after the last trip to Singapore. A plain looking sponge cake that just hits the spot. Light, fluffy and fragrant. 

The 'Prawn Dumpling (SGD 5.50)' is impeccably hand made with a paper thin skin and the pleats are clearly visible. The translucent skin encases prawns that are fresh, plump and juicy. Cooked for the right amount of time means that it isn't tough and leaves me craving for more. 

'Dumpling Teo Chew Style (SGD 4.00)' is ordered because I'm curious as to what is inside. It's a mix of garlic, mushroom, peanuts and garlic chives, reminding me very much of the combination dumpling. Nothing special or remarkable about it. 

Some people get freaked out at the sight of the 'Chicken Feet with Black Bean Sauce (SGD 4.00)' but I'm sorry to say, I'm a fan of the chicken feet. The feet have been cut up and not whole, so it's much easier to eat. Gelatinous and full of flavour.

Finally a dessert to end the meal so early in the morning is the 'Mango Pomelo Sago (SGD 5.00)'. Light and refreshing but a bit overpriced.

Was the food worth the anticipation? Even though the food was well executed and I liked how everything tasted, I couldn't exactly pinpoint what was so great about it. I would recommend just going for the experience, cause hey, when do you get to try a Michelin related restaurant for so cheap? I still do want to try out the one in Hong Kong and will definitely try it when I go back. It's not the cheapest in Singapore but it isn't overly expensive either, within affordability range. 

Given its popularity and no reservation policy, I recommend going early before the white collared workers go out for their lunch. If you want to have dim sim for dinner you can as well as they're open to 10pm. A new queue system is in place where you get a number and instead of having to wait in line, you just have to wait for a SMS to come through when the table is ready. Perfect!

Don't forget the 7% GST and 10% service charge that is added on top of the mentioned prices.

68 Orchard Rd
Plaza Singapura 
Singapore 238839

Phone no: 65 6251 2000

Opening Hours
10.00am – 10.00pm (Monday  – Friday)
09.00am – 10.00pm (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday) 


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