Tim Ho Wan needs no introduction.
Having opened its first Singapore outlet in Plaza Singapura just in the middle of last year (and also it’s first overseas outpost), Tim Ho Wan has quickly expanded to open 3 more outlets in Singapore by the end of 2013. What’s more impressive is that it has actually got every corner of Singapore covered! North: Toa Payoh; South: Plaza Singapura; East: Bedok Mall; and West: Westgate.
Extremely strategic-al, but pretty remarkable I’d have to say hahaha.
And no matter which part of Singapore it is in, Tim Ho Wan seems to have an invisible magnetic force that attracts crowds and crowds of people from all walks of life – old and young, working and retiree, male and female… And there will always be the longest queues you can ever find for a restaurant in Singapore. Well, how can you resist high quality Dim Sum at such affordable prices? Plus its uniquely amazing, one-of-a-kind Baked Bun with BBQ Pork … You just got to have it, at least once (but you’ll keep coming back for more after that first bun), no matter the circumstances.
I was fortunate to be at Tim Ho Wan’s Westgate grand opening ceremony and also got to taste all of its new creations that cater specifically to Singaporean’s palates. While some specials will only be available at certain outlets during specific months, these dishes are on rotation and patrons can try them at different Tim Ho Wan outlets during different months. Also, Tim Ho Wan plans to constantly introduce irresistible dishes throughout the year to keep us all on our toes.
Yam Dumpling with Chilli Crab Meat ($5.00). This was quite unique, as chilli crab is no doubt a Singapore favourite. However, I felt that the yam had overpowered the chilli crab flavour. There needs to be a little bit more crabmeat filling and that distinct chilli flavour to give it a kick.
Jade Wanton in Laksa Soup ($5.00). This was pretty interesting. The laksa soup was quite well executed and the Jade Wanton, or simply just a vegetable dumpling, was huge and delicious. If I’m not wrong, instead of soy sauce and ginger, the laksa soup is supposed to act like a sauce for the dumpling. However, while we are normally used to the soup and spices coating each and every strand of beehoon noodles, it wasn’t the same with the dumpling itself. The soup simply slide off the dumpling skin, leaving the dish quite unharmonious I would say. Don’t get me wrong, individually, the laksa soup and wanton were both delicious. They just don’t go together.
Both the Yam Dumpling with Chilli Crab Meat and Jade Wanton in Laksa Soup are currently available at the Bedok Mall and Westgate outlets.
Phoenix City Quail Eggs ($5.00). These are basically siew mai, just prawn instead of pork, topped with a slice of quail egg. There was a substantial amount of meat and it was juicy and flavourful. But I didn’t actually think there was anything special besides the addition of the quail egg, which I thought was probably unnecessary.
Crispy Salad Fish Rolls ($4.20). I actually wonder how they assembled this dish. The batter was thin and exceptionally crispy. Sinking in, you are greeted with a burst of sweet salad sauce that tasted almost like a more liquid-y version of the thousand island sauce. But at the same time, I felt that the fish flavour was being masked.
Both the Phoenix City Quail Eggs and Crispy Salad Fish Rolls are currently available at the Toa Payoh outlet.
Dace Fish Paste Soup with Lettuce ($6.00). A pretty hearty dish! The fish paste was quite delectable. It was quite tender and soft, nothing like the usual bouncy fish cakes/balls. Also, I loved how the broth was clean and just really soothing.
This dish is currently available at the Plaza Singapura outlet.
Steamed Chicken with Fish Maw ($5.50). The chicken was extremely succulent and moist, and the fish maw seems to melt in your mouth. A simple, yet flavourful dish.
Braised Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce ($5.00). To be honest, I’ve never eaten chicken feet. I’ve stayed away from it because I’ve never mastered enough courage to try it. Well, this was my first time trying it. I have read that the best way to eat chicken feet is to bite off each knuckle and chew off the skin and cartilage, being careful of the sharp nails that might be there. Now before you cringe, the skin was quite chewy and the bones itself was quite tender I would say and I can absolutely understand why it is a popular dish in many Chinese restaurants. But in the mean time, I’ll keep myself contented with the chicken meat itself :p
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork ($4.50). Saving the best for the last, this is Tim Ho Wan’s marquee dish, and also the dish that has earned the plaudits of many food critics. Sink you’re teeth into the slightly crispy and buttery exterior, and you’ll be greeted with juicy and tender pieces of pork all smothered with a sweet BBQ sauce that has just a hint of saltiness. The bun itself was soft and chewy and it is simply amazing how they can get all the different textures and flavours into one single bun. While I personally think that the one I had in Hong Kong had a slight edge, this itself is the most divine Char Siew Po Luo Bao you can ever get in Singapore.
Both the Braised Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce and Baked Bun with BBQ Pork are permanent items on the menu of all the outlets.
Besides food, I do think that Tim Ho Wan has one of the speediest and systematic service as compared to many Dim Sum places. Dishes are constantly coming out, yet in an orderly and timely manner. And that is something commendable because many a times we often get our orders forgotten, or experience that long wait between one dish and the next.
2013 has been a very stellar year for Tim Ho Wan. Not only is Singapore fortunate to have 4 Tim Ho Wan outlets just within 9 months, and also in different regions of the country, Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong has also retained its Michelin star for the fourth year running. This restaurant is the place to visit at least once in your life time, even if it meant queueing up for hours. But you’ll never be disappointed with what they have to offer.
Tim Ho Wan (添好運) Westgate
3 Gateway Drive, #01-13/14
Thank you Tim Ho Wan and the team from Brand Cellar for hosting the invite!