Thursday, October 15, 2015

Singapore Food blog - Tim Ho Wan 添好運 @ Plaza Singapura

Location: Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Plaza Singapura branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Prawn Dumpling (晶莹鲜虾饺) (SGD6), Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (鲜虾烧卖皇) (SGD5.50)

Every time I walked past Tim Ho Wan in Plaza Singapura, I was amazed by the sheer amount of people willing to brave the queue to get a taste of dim sum. Of course the fact that they advertised themselves as a Michelin star restaurant from Hong Kong did help push up the hype that generated such a loyal crowd. Me, who despise long queues, did not get the oppurtunity until a day when I saw that the queue was just the length of a few customers. So naturally I availed myself the chance to sample a taste of a 1 star Michelin restaurant specializing in dim sum.


Queuing up for a spot in the restaurant may take up to an hour especially during dining hours of a weekend. Tim Ho Wan does help alleviate any impatience by having stools readily available and having its staff manage the queue by taking orders right before your turn is up. On this they really do a good job compared to most other restaurants with a similarly length of waiting diners.

If there is one thing Tim Ho Wan really brought with it from Hong Kong, it is the floor space. Space is at a premium and seats are so close to each other that we almost piped in to our neighboring diners' conversation, thinking that we were seated together. Navigating around the place definitely require some skill and patience.

You cannot go wrong with Prawn Dumpling (晶莹鲜虾饺) (SGD6), usually order whenever dim sum is mentioned. Chewing into their succulent prawn filling through the translucent crystal outer dough is a heaven sent.

Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (鲜虾烧卖皇) (SGD5.50) is another one of dim sum's usual order. Theirs are nicely done with a succulent prawn topping a similarly juicy pork.

The main reason we came was because we expected a good dim sum spot but we were sad to say Tim Ho Wan fell short of our expectations. That is not to say they are bad. So far my favorite dim sum haunt is still Imperial Treasure Nan Bei, so my wish was that Tim Ho Wan could offer something better. Unfortunately that was not the case, and it seems that their offerings are just hype.

They offer a decent enough fare but nothing to scream about, and I had tasted dim sum that is done better. To their defense however, I did not try their Big 4 -  Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (酥皮焗叉烧包) (SGD5), Pan Fried Radish Cake (香煎萝卜糕) (SGD4.80), Steamed Egg Cake (香滑马来糕) (SGD3.80) and Vermicelli Roll with Pig's Liver (黄沙猪润肠) (SGD5.50), so I may missed some plus points for the restaurant.

Despite all that negative opinions, the casual diner in us still enjoy the basic dim sum dishes - Prawn Dumpling (晶莹鲜虾饺) (SGD6) and Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (鲜虾烧卖皇) (SGD5.50), both of which were decent enough. Other dishes which we ordered felt average, meeting the minimum standards of our finicky taste buds.

I have tried their Steamed Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp (鲜虾菠菜饺) (SGD3.80) but am indifferent to it. This could be a vegan's choice if not for their shrimp. Just like the others, the shrimp is fresh and succulent but its ratio unsatisfying.

I have to say that I am disappointed with Rice with Beef and Fried Egg (煎蛋牛肉饭) (SGD6). The beef paste is a gluey patch which acts as a cover for the steaming rice, its texture starchy and unappetizing, its taste almost bland if not for the briny soy sauce poured over it. If not for the fried egg topping I may not even bring myself to finish this dish. I do not know what I expected when I placed the order, but this is not what I had in mind.

Vermicelli Roll with BBQ Pork (蜜味叉烧肠) (SGD5.50) would have been better if the skin is smoother, the whole roll more flexible. Its inner filling of BBQ pork does taste nice though.

Beancurd Skin with Pork and Shrimp (美味焖鲜竹卷) (SGD5) is of average taste and texture, its succulent shrimp and pork fillings winning the day but the gravy in which they lie in not too impressive.

Store front

In general, Imperial Treasure Nan Bei still wins out as our favorite restaurant for dim sum. In my opinion, Tim Ho Wan's fare is decent enough but not so much to get me into the queue for a second round. Trying their dishes only earned me the claim of ever dining in a Michelin star restaurant but not enough to satisfy my taste buds.

Environment:          Dim sum in a mall!
Suitable for:             for small groups. not for large groups
Price:                           occasional (SGD10 - 20 per meal per pax)
Food score:                  5/10
Food:                            3.0/5.0
Service:                        3.0/5.0
Value:                           2.5/5.0
Ambient:                      2.0/5.0

Operating hours:   (Mon - Fri)                            10.00 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
                                        (Sat, Sun, Public Holiday) 09.00 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Directions:                Disembark at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station and make your way up the escalator. Head towards the new extension wing (it is further from the escalator from MRT once you reached the Ground Floor) and it is on the first floor. The long queue is unmistakable.

Website:                    Official homepage of Tim Ho Wan Singapore and Facebook page
Contact:                    +65 - 6521 2000 (phone) (Plaza Singapura branch)
E-mail:                       -
Address:                    68 Orchard Road, #01-29A Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839.

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