Tim Ho Wan (添好运)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Tim Ho Wan 添好运 has been open in Plaza Singapura for a while now, and the fad has kind of died down a little. Riding on their success, they recently opened at another location - Bedok Point - an addition to the 4 other outlets scattered around Singapore.

Reading this on their website makes me very excited.
Tim Ho Wan, the hole-in-the-wall eatery in Hong Kong that defied all odds to gain an entry in the Michelin guide, has finally arrived in Singapore. Its dim sum have won the plaudits of food critics and the hearts of epicureans around the world.
Is it really worth the queue? I'm going to find out.

First, the surroundings:







Baked Bun with BBQ Pork 酥皮炬叉烧包 ($5)
The first dish, and one of their dishes in the 'Big 4 Heavenly Kings' series. 'Big 4 Heavenly' series consists of 4 dishes which they call their best of the best, recommended signature dishes to try at Tim Ho Wan.
And boy, this one did not disappoint. The meat was juicy and tender, well flavoured and goes exceptionally well with the puffed pastry exterior. Loved this one, and thumbs up!

Pan Fried Carrot Cake 香煎萝卜糕 ($4.80)
I did not like this dish. The carrot cake was served at room temperature, and was lacking in texture. I was scratching my head to understand how this is one of their 'Big 4 Heavenly Kings' dish.

Steamed Egg Cake 香花马来糕 ($3.80)
Honestly, I have no major gripe with this dish, but I would have liked it to be more fluffy. This is another one of their 'Big 4' dishes. Overall, this was just so-so, but one of the better dishes in the assembly of food I've ordered here. 

Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp 鲜虾肠 ($6)
The prawn fillings were succulent and fresh, the skin was smooth as well. But be sure to eat it with the accompanying sauce to have it at its best!

Prawn Dumpling 晶莹鲜虾饺 ($6)
Dim Sum should be served piping hot. While this one was, the dumpling skin sure didn't taste like it. It was a little too thick for me but the prawn ingredients were nice and fresh. 

Pork Dumpling with Shrimp 鲜虾烧卖皇 ($5.50)
I love Siew Mai, a.k.a Pork Dumplings with Shrimps. A lovely dash of colour as they used wolfberries to decorate the top of the dumpling. But no taste of the wolfberries were apparent during tasting. But overall, this dish was pretty alright.

Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce 豉汁蒸肉排 ($4.50)
This is also one of my dim sum meal staples. This dish is meant to be oily, and the oily sauce was lacking! I'm a sad girl. But the meat was tender and I would order it again if I'm here, if just to satisfy my cravings. 

Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling 青芥末明虾角 ($6)
A typical dish for me, and I felt that the wasabi mayonnaise was quite light - too light, in fact. 

Yam Dumpling with Chilli Crab Meat 辣椒蚧芋角 ($5.50)
This was a really interesting dish, so I was quick to order it. Not many people like yam, but I do. The yam was nicely done, with a lovely crisp exterior.
The chilli crab paste was, however, slightly lacking in terms of flavour. As the yam paste can be a little too rich, a well flavoured chilli crab paste might be the answer to balancing that out. 

It's a personal preference, but I do like my sauces a little more flavourful and stronger, so I can taste the essence. For this dish, that was what's lacking for me.  

Congee with Pork, Century&Salted Egg 金银蛋瘦肉粥 ($4.20)
I was looking forward to tasting this dish because it was one of my dim sum staples. But I was disappointed. The porridge was not fine enough, and the flavour of the salted and century egg is not strong enough. This is called century & salted egg porridge for a reason, and I believe the hints of these ingredients should present itself well enough to satisfy lovers of this standard dim sum dish.

Rice with Chicken, Sausage & Mushroom 腊肠北菇鸡饭 ($6)
While the ingredients tasted just as it should be, I would have liked that the flavour of the ingredients could have better merged with the sauced rice to give it the unique flavour that this dish has. What I understand is that this dish is cooked together with the ingredients, and the sauce in the rice soaks in the merged flavours and fragrance of these ingredients - chicken, chinese sausage and mushrooms. Unfortunately, it tasted like it was cooked separately and the rice was not fragrant enough in that sense. I did like that the chicken was tender and had good texture.

Glutinous Rice with Lotus Leaf 古法糯米鸡 ($6)
 Nicely wrapped, this oily dim sum dish is not easy to make. Here's how it looks once opened.
I did like how the dumpling was cooked just nice, and the meat used with the rice had retained its juiciness. 

Crystal Shrimp Roll with Century Egg 水晶松花虾卷 ($5.50)
Seeing this dish under the Chef's recommendation, I really wanted to try it. I took this photo right after it was served and the sauce was almost to the point of coagulation. After 5 minutes, the sauce did coagulate, so I wasn't imagining things. :( Thus proving the dish was served to us too late! 

Anyway, I didn't really enjoy this dish as I felt that the entire dish would be better off with the century egg sliced thinner and the dish being served warmer. Or hotter!

Mango Sago Pomelo 杨枝甘露($5)
One of my favourite desserts to have, but not at this restaurant. I love sago, so one gripe is that the sago was not soft enough, felt like it wasn't cooked enough.

Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake 杞子桂花糕 ($3.50)
Light and refreshing. I liked this dish, but I felt it should be served slightly more chilled. When served, it was close to room temperature and I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have if chilled.

So my conclusion?

No. It really wasn't worth the queue. 

Sadly, it is widely raved for, but I'm not feeling it and it definitely did nothing to wow me at all. Their wait staff were not so friendly and most were concerned about clearing the queue, and because it's so packed and so many orders had to be served out - some slower than the others, some important aspects (like the temperature of the food to be served, etc) were compromised, thus affecting overall food taste and enjoyment.

But I'm sure of one thing: If I do return, I will order takeaway with the baked buns with BBQ pork for their claim of this 'heavenly king' dish was the only one I felt was worth the mention and did not disappoint.

Average spending per pax: $20 - $30


Tim Ho Wan 添好运
Location: Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road #01-29A (The Atrium), Dhoby Ghaut, 238839