The one and only time I tried checking out Michelin-starred dim sum specialist Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong was a complete bust. My wife and I had tried stopping by the original Mongkok branch for an early breakfast before a full day of appointments. Unfortunately, the line was simply too long and after a little more than 30 minutes, we had to hightail it back to Central, sans dim sum.
When Tim Ho Wan opened here in Singapore in April this year, we also gave it a wide berth. While I really wanted to try it now that it was in my backyard (so to speak), horror stories of long lines and underwhelming food kept us away. But, at the end of the day, I was far too curious–and greedy–to stay away forever.
Fortunately, through a new found superfriend, I was given the chance to book the private room in the Plaza Singapura branch. Which is exactly what I did in order to celebrate the impending wedding of one of my colleagues. For both my colleagues and I, it was a rare treat. One of them said that the last time he visited, he’d waited in line for two hours. For the rest of us, it would be our first visit.
The seven of us ordered a real feast, trying a wide range of things. The much heralded baked charsiu bao lived up to all the hype. I was really surprised and really, really happy when I tasted it. The exterior crust was crumbly and light while the interior was filled with an oozy sauce, peppered with chunks of barbecued pork. Super yummy.
The other most popular item (of our little group) was the congee with lean pork, century egg and salted egg. We all commented how rare it was for salted egg to be included in this preparation, but how much of an excellent added dimension it gave this simple bowl of porridge. The pan-fried carrot cake was also excellent. I loved how light it actually was. Most versions can be a bit too heavy and stodgy. The steamed beef balls were also very good. And very authentic. Tasting them made me feel like I was back in Hong Kong.
Overall, it was a really fantastic lunch. There was nothing I can really complain about. And there was not a single item that was less than very good, with a couple that were really excellent.
Would I go back? Sure, so long as I can go at a time in which the queue is very short or I can round up enough friends to meet the minimum requirements of booking the private room again.
Tim Ho Wan
#01-29A, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6251 2000
Tim Ho Wan
450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6
Tel: +65 6483 2000