Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tim Ho Wan Singapore at Plaza Singapura!

I'm sure many have heard of the famous Michelin Star Dim Sum Restaurant in Hong Kong: the one and only Tim Ho Wan! This modest dimsum eatery has gained so much popularity in Hong Kong that one has got to queue for hours just to get a spot in the restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan has opened its very first overseas outlet, where else.. but in Singapore! Super exciting news for dim sum lovers like myself, because I've only heard raves about Tim Ho Wan, but never had a chance to visit Hong Kong to try it!

Forget about traveling all the way to Hong Kong just for "authentic" dim sum. Now, you can get a taste of the famed Baked Bun with BBQ Pork at Tim Ho Wan Singapore's newly open outlet at Plaza Singapura!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura
I jumped at the opportunity to attend a media tasting session at Tim Ho Wan Singapore the day before its official opening.. All my friends were so envious, and I can't say I blame them hehe! Thank you Brand Cellar for the invite! ;)

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura
Just so you know, Tim Ho Wan Singapore officially opens TODAY, 10th April!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Dining
The interior of the restaurant is pretty old school and fuss-free, and sits a hundred customers.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Menu
There's quite a large selection available on Tim Ho Wan Singapore's menu, and we hear that they will be unveiling special dim sum that's been adapted to local taste in time to come!

I was so excited to try the dimsum and had extremely high expectations.. After all, Tim Ho Wan is known for being the One Star Michelin Dimsum Restaurant in Hongkong! Michelin standard, no joke.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Dim Sum
We couldn't wait, and practically ordered every thing that looked tempting on the menu. Each order is made fresh, so you can be ascertained of absolute freshness, as well as the best texture and flavour for every dish!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Teochew Dumpling
Steamed Dumpling Teochew Style (S$4 for 3)

The first dish to arrive piping hot at our table was the Steam Dumpling Teochew Style. These dumplings had a nice soft translucent skin that wasn't too thick or tough, but I found the filling rather unmemorable, and I wouldn't order it again.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Steamed Egg Cake
Steamed Egg Cake (S$3.80)

One of Tim Ho Wan's "Big 4 Heavenly Kings", this egg cake resembles our local "Huat Kueh" but had a slightly more cake-like texture. We heard that this was the hardest dish to perfect in our local climate due to the high humidity and temperature, it took the kitchen quite some time to get the dish right! I'm not a big fan of Huat Kuehs so I only tried a bit of it. It was a little unimpressive in its flavour and texture because I didn't find it fragrant or soft enough, especially once the cake had cooled down and lost its freshly steamed softness.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Prawn Dumpling
Prawn Dumpling (S$5.50 for 4)

I loved this one: Har Gao can be a hit or miss in many of our local dimsum restaurants, and can often be lackluster if the prawn is not fresh, or if the dumpling skin is too hard and thick. This one was neither, and had a nice juicy filling with quite a generous portion of crunchy prawns in it! Yum! Ordered another two portions of this cos one wasn't enough for our table!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Beef Balls
Steamed Beef Balls with Beancurd Skin ($4.20 for 3)

This one sounded very very promising from the menu, but the actual dish did not live up to my expectations, I could hardly discern the flavour of beef, and I felt that it tasted more like starch rather than meat. The beancurd was bland as well, and I had to use a generous amount of chilli in order to spice this dish up. Decent still, but nothing to shout about.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Char Siew Pau
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork ($4.50 for 3)

The dish that I was waiting for: the famous char siew pau! This is DEFINITELY a must-order! One cannot step into Tim Ho Wan Singapore without ordering at least 2-3 portions of this delicious BBQ Pork Bun. With its crumbly soft exterior that has a slightly sweet taste to it and the flavorful char siew oozing out of this bun, it is utterly addictive, and I believe I finished off 3-4 buns all by myself! It is super melt-in-the-mouth goodness! No wonder this is their star dish. Two thumbs up!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Baked Bun BBQ Pork
Just take a look at the char siew oozing out of the bun! Trust me, it's near orgasmic. Everyone on my table agreed as well!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Siew Mai
Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (S$5.00 for 4)

This was another of my favourite dishes, it tastes especially good freshly served from the kitchen, with its firm skin and tender juicy meat filling! I liked the portion size too, it was just right. Not too big nor too small. Siew Mai is my must-order dish at every dimsum restaurant, and Tim Ho Wan Singapore's version definitely fared amongst the better ones I've had in Singapore.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Spring Roll
Spring Roll with Egg White (S$4.20 for 3)

I don't generally enjoy deep fried spring rolls, but this one was a pleasant surprise that stood out from the norm! Instead of the usual radish fillings that we usually have, this spring roll came with egg white and carrots. It sounds bland, but was surprisingly tasty! I loved the contrasting texture of the spring roll skin that was fried to a crispy and crunchy finish, together with the soft egg white filling. Mmmmm.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Chee Cheong Fan
Vermicelli Roll (Chee Cheong Fun) with BBQ Pork (S$5.50 for 3)

This was one of the dishes that I felt slightly let down by. I absolutely love a good chee cheong fun, and I found this one a little too tasteless. The sheets of vermicelli were too thick, and thus it did not absorb the flavours of the char siew filling and savoury sauce well. Strangely enough, the Pig's Liver version fared better, with the cheong fan taking on a stronger and richer flavor, probably due to the pig's liver.

From what I know, the chefs are still perfecting this dish, as they have had to work with different machines from the ones that were used in Hong Kong, so I do hope that this dish will be much better the next time I visit Tim Ho Wan Singapore!

Five different variations of Vermicelli Roll (Chee Cheong Fun) are available at Tim Ho Wan Singapore: BBQ Pork ($5.50), Shrimp ($5.50), Beef ($5.50), Black Pepper ($5) and the signature Pig’s Liver ($5.50), which is one of the "4 Heavenly Kings".


Pan-fried Carrot Cake ($4.50 for 3)

The last of Tim Ho Wan's "4 Heavenly Kings", the Pan-Fried Carrot Cake had a soft texture with generous bits of fresh radish in it to really bring out its flavor! I felt that it wasn't sturdy enough, because it fell apart a little too easily when I tried to pick it up with my chopsticks, and I would prefer it to be just a little firmer.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Osmanthus Cake
Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake ($3.50 for 3) 

We finally ended off the session with a nicely chilled tonic medlar and osmanthus cake that had a flowery fragrance to it and was quite enjoyable! It was just a tad sweet for my taste, but I liked the cold gelatinous texture that was soft and smooth.

My overall verdict:

Although some dishes did not quite live up to the hype, I definitely left Tim Ho Wan Singapore with an extremely satisfied tummy, and enjoyed a huge number of the dishes! I will certainly be back for the BBQ Pork Buns, as well as some of the other tasty dishes like the Siew Mai, Har Gao, and Fried Springrolls.

Because every single dish is made-to-order, it really makes a difference to the freshness of their food. You can taste the difference in texture and flavour!

I believe that the standard of the food at Tim Ho Wan Singapore will only improve in the months to come, because some of the recipes are still being tweaked in order to get the best taste and texture, due to the differences in humidity and climate on our tropical island as compared to Hong Kong.

One more thing, you have got to try their specially made chilli sauce because it went extremely well with all of the dishes! :D

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Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Opening
Brought YZ along as my plus one.. He's one lucky boyfriend! :P

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Table
Our table of hungry people: Vel, Fred, Evonne, YZ and myself! We were quite startled by the amount of dishes that we ordered when they starting serving them one by one on the table! :X But we finished almost everything!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Bloggers
With mai gorgeous Evonne! ^.^

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Bloggers
And one with Melissa, Vel and Evonne. This was after dinner, and we were trying so hard to keep in all the exploding tummies!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore Plaza Singapura Chef Mak
We were so honored to get to meet Chef Mak Kwai Pui himself, and he was so down-to-earth and humble!

Thank you Chef Mak for bringing the most delicious Char Siew Pau ever to our little island! With my limited command of Cantonese, all I could tell Chef Mak was, "Char siew pau hou hou sek ah!!!!"

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Tim Ho Wan (Singapore) is located at:

#01-29 Plaza Singapura The Atrium @ Orchard 
68 Orchard Road 
Tel: +65 6251 2000

Opening Hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm 
(First-come-first-serve basis; no reservations)

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Outfit:
TheVelvetDolls Stitched Porcelain Bustier
TheVelvetDolls Isabella Maxi Skirt
Prada Saffiano Lux

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You have gotta go down to Tim Ho Wan Singapore, and please do yourself a favour and order the orgasmic BBQ Pork Bun!!! I'll be dreaming about it tonight. Heh.

One good news is that Tim Ho Wan Singapore has implemented a queue system that allows patrons to come and get a queue number, if the waiting time is too long, they can go shopping instead of having to wait in line! A notification will be sent via SMS when the table is ready, which I think is fantastic, you won't have to waste any time queuing! There is also a takeaway counter at Tim Ho Wan Singapore, with a take-a-number queue system and electronic indicator display to facilitate the waiting process.

With the tasty dimsum at such affordable prices (starting from $3.80), Tim Ho Wan Singapore is surely going to be a huge hit on our islands!

“Bao Day” on 28th April
Tim Ho Wan believes in giving back to society, and on 28th April 2013, they will be organizing the Bao Day and charity event, where they will only be selling their famous pork buns! All proceeds will go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and aid underprivileged children in Singapore.

Stay in the loop with Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Facebook page too!

xoxo

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