This Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant from Hong Kong hit Singapore shores amid a storm of hype more than a year ago but the husband and I had only just visited it recently when we were at Plaza Singapura. There wasn’t a long queue on a late Saturday afternoon, that was why we decided to go for an impromptu ‘yum cha’.
In just under a year, Tim Ho Wan had also opened another 3 outlets in Toa Payoh, Bedok Mall and Westgate which were strategically located around the island which I thought was a wise move so the never-ending queue at its first original PS outlet (that really put us off) seemed relatively shorter and more manageable now.
As we were waiting for our table which didn’t take long, we were given an order chit so we could place our orders without wasting time.
The iced barley drink was light & refreshing and didn’t taste overly sweet. However I didn’t enjoy the Chinese tea because it was pu-erh (the only choice available and I’m not a big fan of it) plus it was a watered down version. I’d still prefer the provision of a tea pot with tea leaves steeping in hot water so we could adjust the strength of the tea to our preference. It’d also be nice to have other options of tea.
The moment the husband noticed this on the menu, he was already flagging to me to tick this off the chit, lol. Well, these were just the standard deep fried prawn dumplings except that wasabi mayo dressing was drizzled over them with a touch of fish roe on top.
Every dumpling was fully filled with fresh, crunchy prawns and then beautifully fried to a lovely golden brown so the exterior was warm and crispy while the inside remained moist and juicy. Though the unique selling point of this item was supposed to be the wasabi dressing, it really failed to excite my palates much because there wasn’t any kick to it. The taste of wasabi was just weak.
We opted for a shrimp filling instead of their signature pig’s liver. I must admit this was one of the best cheong fun I’d ever eaten. The skin was so velvety smooth and soft that it could just slip down your throat. And the sauce was a flawless balance of sweet and salty that really lifted every mouthful of this cheong fun. The crunchy whole prawns within the layers gave additional texture to the dish. Seriously speaking, even if the cheong fun was served plain, I would have enjoyed the same.
Another winning dish for me. While the exterior looked like firm slabs, the carrot cake itself was wobbly soft, almost like custard. And the best part was, it wasn’t starchy at all as there were plenty of shredded radish so it wasn’t predominantly rice flour and water. The husband thought it tasted bland but I liked how it was subtly seasoned so I could taste the natural sweetness of the radish. Surprisingly, it paired pretty well with the worcestershire sauce and chilli sauce (condiments provided on every table) too. Another plus point – it wasn’t greasy though it was pan-fried.
And these were what we came here for. Probably also the most famous Heavenly King which Tim Ho Wan thrived on. Unlike the usual char siew buns which are steamed and white in colour, these buns are made like bo luo bao (菠蘿包) with a slightly sweet crusty top.
This was a drool-worthy bun! Absolutely scrumptious to the max. The exterior was a little crunchy but the bun inside remained soft and pillowy. The BBQ pork filling was so moist and flavoursome too. Totally rocked!
I like spinach so I ordered this as I wanted more steamed items. These dumplings were similar to shui jing bao (水晶包) as the skin was transparent, a little thick with a chewy texture. It was decent, nothing to rave about.
This was another signature Heavenly King which unfortunately didn’t quite wow me. I’ve loved ma lai gao (马来糕) since I was a kid and I can still get pretty good ones from many local kueh kueh shops. This steamed egg cake was soft and airy just like any sponge cake but it lacked that familiar sweet fragrance so this was just bland and ordinary. Not worth the carbs, really.
What is dim sum without siew mai? This took a long while to arrive but were served piping hot, all freshly made. The dumpling was meaty with bits of crunchy prawns but nothing spectacular. I’d still prefer the siew mai from Yum Cha which still sits on my number 1 spot.
It’s a pity we cannot take-away the cheong fun, otherwise I’d definitely pack some to go together with the BBQ pork buns which I think are the most remarkable dishes of this entire meal. It’s a typical HK dim sum establishment that’s always crowded and noisy, so service wise, it isn’t top-notch but sufficient to get the meal going. Will I be back again? Yes, but not if the queue is long.
Tim Ho Wan @ Westgate
3 Gateway Drive
Tel: 6686 2000
Tim Ho Wan @ Bedok Mall
311 New Upper Changi Road
Tel: 6246 2000
Tim Ho Wan @ Toa Payoh
450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6
#02-02, Toa Payoh Hersing Centre
Tel: 6483 2000