So I did an impromptu dimsum raid at the newly opened Tim Ho Wan dimsum joint at Toa Payoh. Figured the queue wouldn’t be as long as this Michelin-starred dimsum restaurant from Hong Kong is extremely popular and its first outlet in Singapore at Plaza Singapura is notorious for a very long wait to be seated. Strictly no reservations! Same goes for the Toa Payoh location but it wasn’t as bad; got there 615pm and seated by 645pm.
From the Tim Ho Wan website:
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.
Now without having to hop on a plane, local aficionados can savour the famed Baked Bun with BBQ pork: the marquee dish that transformed the eatery into a mecca! The pork buns are enticing and here is why: the exterior is crumbly and fluffy and the inside — barbecued pork with oozing sauce — boasts a sweet-salty taste. The pork buns make up one-fourth of the Big 4 Heavenly Kings. The remaining three, the Steamed Egg Cake, Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver and Pan Fried Carrot Cake are also available at the local branch.
The tables were small though, and we ordered so much at one go – pretty much everything on the menu – the bamboo steamers had to be stacked in order to make room. I finally understood what the hype about the famous Char Siew Bun was all about, the crispy layer on top was really good and the Cantonese-style barbecued meat filling was sweet and juicy. This was definitely the best that I’ve ever had.
Other items on the menu weren’t too bad either and I enjoyed the Liver Rice Roll (cheong fun) as well as the Steamed Ma Lai Gou (spongy egg cake) very much. I didn’t like the Steamed Beef Rice so much as I felt the soy sauce didn’t have enough oomph. The Fried Spring Roll with Crab Meat and Egg White were a-okay, I wasn’t crazy about them. All the steamed dumpling varieties – staples such as Har Gow and Siew Mai – were alright; I’ve had better and I’ve had worse.
Crispy Char Siew Buns.
Liver Rice Roll.
Pan-fried Turnip Cake.
Ma Lai Gow (Steamed Spongy Egg Cake).
Uhm… I don’t know what this is called in English, I know it in Cantonese as Hum Sui Kok (鹹水餃).
Prawn Rice Roll.
Crispy Prawn Dumplings with Wasabi Sauce.
Dai Pai Tong Cheong Fun.
Steamed Ground Pork in Beancurd Sheet.
Spring Rolls with Crab Meat and Egg White.
Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings).
Shrimp and Spinach Dumplings.
Glutinous Rice Wrapped inLotus Leaf.
Steamed Minced Beef Rice.
Unfortunately, we ate so much we couldn’t fit dessert. I, for one, was in pain from eating so much dimsum! Price-wise, I suppose Tim Ho Wan might be on the high side ($40/person for a truckful of bite-sized items?) then again, my friends and I did binge without restraint. One may argue that the price is justifiable for the quality of food and I can’t disagree with that. All in all though, Char Siew Bun definitely stood out and if there’s one item that you MUST absolutely order after getting seated at Tim Ho Wan, this would be it. I’d also go for the Ma Lai Gou/Steamed Spongy Egg Cake again!
One very, very full table of dimsum. Seeing all that food on our table, people would have thought we were having a free-flow dimsum buffet or something. :P Incredibly, we polished nearly everything off and even packed extra Char Siew Buns to go.
The name of the restaurant itself is kinda cute. Tim Ho Wan 添好運 in Cantonese means “add good luck”. And whatdayaknow… within the first week of Tim Ho Wan’s Toa Payoh opening itself, our impromptu raid certainly brought significant cha-ching, cha-ching into their cash register in one short hour. Hur hur. How could they not love us, eh?