Tim Ho Wan Singapore opens at Plaza Singapura


Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong's Michelin-starred Dim Sum restaurant opened the doors to its first outlet in Singapore on 10 April 2013 and is celebrating its official launch today, 28 April 2013. To commemorate the occasion, Tim Ho Wan Singapore is donating all proceeds from the sale of their famous BBQ Pork Buns under the "Buy-a-Bao for Charity" event today to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

Tim Ho Wan's Signature BBQ Pork Bun (Char Siew Bao)
Tim Ho Wan's Baked Bun with BBQ Pork @ S$4.50 for 3 pieces
One of Tim Ho Wan's 4 Heavenly Kings 添好運酥皮焗叉燒包 
 Receive between 1 - 10 buns for donations starting from S$2 on 28.04.2013

I was invited to a preview at Tim Ho Wan Singapore on 9 April and haven't been able to make it back since due to the insane queue! If you're lucky enough to secure a table, you absolutely have to try their famous Baked Buns with BBQ Pork, which is essentially Char Siew Bo Lor Bao albeit with a smooth surface. Listed on the menu as one of the 4 Heavenly Kings, ie. signature dishes, the buns are de rigueur when dining at Tim Ho Wan.

添好運酥皮焗叉燒包 Tim Ho Wan's Baked BBQ Pork Bun

Loosely translated to mean pineapple bun in Cantonese, there is no pineapple filling in a Bor Lor Bao. It derives its name from the cracked sugary crust on top which resembles the pineapple’s spiky skin. I loved the texture of the smooth, crumbly crust that breaks away to reveal a soft bun, that in turn tears open to reveal a juicy, tasty core of pork Char Siew filling. A Must-Try!

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Deep Fried Spring Roll with Crab Meat. 塞螃蟹春卷
Spring Roll with Egg White & Crab Meat @ S$4.20 for 3 pieces

Another item that is a Must-Try here is the Spring Roll with Egg White and Crab Meat. Encased within a crisp exterior of spring roll wrapper, the fluffy and soft egg white is well-seasoned and punctuated with juicy morsels of crab meat.

Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp & a wolfberry on top. #love 鲜虾烧卖皇 #dimsum
Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp @ S$5 for4 pieces

I love Siew Mai and was pleased that Tim Ho Wan Singapore's steamed pork dumplings were fresh, firm and juicy. Topped with a wolfberry instead of the traditional crab roe, it added a slightly sweet flavour to the Siew Mai. This is worth a try if you love Siew Mai.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Har Gao
Steamed Prawn Dumpling @ S$5.50 for 4 pieces

Another quintessential favourite dim sum, the steamed prawn dumpling aka Har Gao was well-executed with juicy, fresh prawns.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Signature Steamed Egg Cake. 添好運香滑马来糕
Signature Steamed Egg Cake @ S$3.80
One of Tim Ho Wan's 4 Heavenly Kings 添好運香滑马来糕

The Steamed Egg Cake aka Ma Lai Gou (loosely translated to mean "Malay cake" for politically-incorrect reasons) was a delightfully soft and fluffy steamed sponge cake which was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. If you happen to be buying this for consumption at home, you might like to slather on some lightly salted butter on a freshly steamed slice for a more sinfully pleasurable  experience. (NB: I usually prefer unsalted butter but Ma Lai Gou is a food item that calls for an exception)

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Pan-Fried Carrot Cake
Pan-Fried Carrot Cake @ S$4.50 for 3 pieces
One of Tim Ho Wan's 4 Heavenly Kings

Listed as a signature item, the Pan-Fried Carrot Cake was rather disappointing. Though it was made with copious amounts of fresh radish with lovely chunks of radish adding a bite to the cake, it was bland and could do with a little more lup cheong (Chinese waxed sausage) and salt.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Char Siew Cheong Fun
Vermicelli Roll with BBQ Pork aka Char Siew Cheong Fun @ S$5.50

I am generally not a huge fan of Cheong Fun that has been stuffed with Char Siew. This was fairly decent with soft, pliable sheets of steamed rice flour but is not a dish that I would queue over an hour for. If you love Char Siew, just order another plate of Char Siew Bao (within the limits set for your table - yes, they have a limit on how many plates you can order).

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Steamed Beef Ball with Beancurd Skin
Beef Ball with Beancurd Skin @ S$4.20 for 3 pieces

The bloggers at my table didn't like the steamed beef balls. Although I don't like overly-tenderized meat, which is unfortunately often the case with Chinese food, I thought the beef balls were fairly decent. They were not too salty and I was pleased to note that the taste of Chen Pi (陳皮 Traditional Chinese Dried Tangerine Peel) was subtle and not overwhelmingly strong  unlike the ones I've had in many other places. Excessively-tenderized balls aside, the beancurd skin that lay at the bottom of the plate was excellent! Soaked with the jus of the beef balls, the delicately soft sheets of beancurd skin are definitely worth trying.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore's Osthmanthus Petal Cakes
Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Petal Cake 杞子桂花糕  @ S$3.50 for 3 pieces

One of my favourite Traditional Chinese desserts is Osmanthus Jelly, especially when there is a hint of Chinese Wine (I'm guessing it's 桂花陈酒 Gui Hua Chen Jiu - distilled liquor with Osmanthus Flowers). The Osmanthus Petal Cake here was a little too sweet for my liking but was otherwise a lovely dessert that's packed with health benefits from the Osmanthus petals and Wolfberries (aka  Goji Berries & Tonic Medlar). Incidentally, Osmanthus is supposed to improve the complexion whilst wolfberries are packed with antioxidants and are supposed to be good for the eyes.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore at Plaza Singapura

Overall, the dim sum at Tim Ho Wan Singapore is well-executed but not worth queueing more than an hour for. Do try to visit during off-peak hours for a better shot at trying the dim sum and I hope the second outlet which is slated to open in Toa Payoh will help ease the queue up a little for everyone.

The dim sum at Tim Ho Wan Singapore's comparable to the original outlet in Hong Kong. I queued for close to 90 minutes at the Mongkok outlet on a chilly December morning some years back. The staff said we had to order in a hurry and get out quickly so they can turnover the table. We were starving so between the 6 of us, we ordered more than 20 items which arrived pretty much all at once. We had a wall of dim sum steamers dividing our tables making conversation difficult without having to move the steamers aside so we can see and hear each other. What was worse was that the food turned cold so quickly that we couldn't savour piping hot dim sum. Needless to say, the experience was less than ideal. There was a local next to us, who ordered in little batches in spite of the pressure from the staff. I think he had a much better experience than many of the diners there to the detriment of those in the line. I guess with dim sum, one should always pace yourself and enjoy the dishes when they're hot.

Tim Ho Wan Singapore
68 Orchard Road,
Singapore 238839
Phone: +65 6383-2828
NB: No reservations. Expect to queue at least an hour for a table. 
Operating Hours: 
Daily from 10 am to 10 pm
PS: Thank you, Tim Ho Wan Singapore and Brand Cellar for the hospitality.