Singaporeans are real suckers when it comes to good food, isn’t it? Myself included. I wasn’t brave enough to join the hour-long queues when Tim Ho Wan first came to Singapore but I’m glad to say that I finally did step into the holy grail of Dim Sum months afer their launch.
So, is Tim Ho Wan overrated or worth the queueing up for? Is it as affordable as they claim to be? Do they deserve the Michelin Star rating?
I think by now, at least 50% of Singaporeans and 100% of self-proclaimed foodies have tried and reviewed the famous restaurant serving this famous Hong Kong cuisine by now. But I’m still obliged to give my two-cents review because I simply love Dim Sum.
First dish: The famous Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, one of the Four Heavenly Kings Dim Sum, obviously.
This looks as delicious and handsome (and famous) as Andy Lau himself. As many of you already know, this is soft a char-siew filled pork bun topped with crispy crust made of egg and sugar. Savory I feel that this is a little TOO sweet in general for my liking but the texture, when eaten hot, is a great feeling.
Verdict: 3/5, worth a try and to order again.
Second Dish: Steamed Egg Cake
I can say I wholeheartedly recommend this dish. Perhaps like the smooth crooning music of Aaron Kwok, this egg cake tastes delicately sweet and fragrant and simply melts away in your mouth. I have never eaten a steam cake as soft as this. It is also a skill to eat with chopsticks, so I say, ditch it and go for the spoon.
Verdict: 5/5 (Woot!), Definitely must try and have again and again
Third Dish: Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver, the Jacky Cheung
Actually, this is a photo of the Prawn Vermicelli Roll but I also tried the Pig’s Liver one. Out of the two, I prefer the Pig’s Liver version because it is unique (I’ve never had it at other dim sum restaurants before) and the chewy texture of pig’s liver cooked just right combined with the smooth vermicilli roll is simply amazing. Really surprising for someone that does not usually eat pig’s liver. I think it is worth the Four Heavenly King’s title.
Verdict 4.5/5, try it even if you don’t eat pig’s liver!
Fourth Dish: Steam Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce
I guess you were expecting the carrot cake, the last of the Four Heavenly Kings Dim Sum, but I found it too soft. And I don’t really like carrot cake anyway. So, onwards to a dish I actually love: Chicken Feet! Having tried almost all the chicken feet dishes in Singapore, this ranks very near the top. Delicious, savoury, smooth and sticky is what I would like to describe it as.
Verdict: 4/5, a little expensive for 1 1/2 chickens’ worth of claws but still do try!
Fifth Dish: Steam Rice with Beef (maybe)
This is simply wierd. It says “beef” but the meat looking thing under the sunny-side up does not taste like or feel like beef. Imagine a soft, mushy, gooey meat patty that is slightly salty. That’s basically it.
Verdict: 1/5, don’t waste your money on this.
Sixth Dish: Black Bean Pork Ribs
We always, ALWAYS, order pork ribs whenever we eat dim sum so this is like a tradition for us. Our preference is a more meaty, less fatty rib. The THW (Tim Ho Wan) version is rather soft, as if it is overly-tenderized. It has a very nice sauce that tastes like the usual savoury black bean sauce with a tad of citrus. In fact, I’m starting to think that Hong Kong dim sum tend to be on the soft, eldery-and-young-children-friendly-type.
Verdict: 3.5/5, not too bad,
Seventh Dish: Boiled Lettuce, the Pièce de résistance.
Saving the best for last, This. Is. The. Best. Dish. Of. All. My husband and I are crazy about our vegetables and this is seriously oh so good. Yes, it IS boiled lettuce and I think that’s why it shines. It is the way they can make something so simple, so delicious. You can taste the freshness of the lettuce, it is lightly sweet and not the least bitter. And it also has just the right crunch.
Verdict: Need I say more??? Seriously??? 5/5 of course!
Finally, here is the entire menu. I really think that Tim Ho Wan is really worth a 30-min wait if you have not yet tried. I admire the way they efficiently deal with the crowd and how fast and ethusiastic their staff are. You can see that they are very trained and professional. As for critics who find them expensive, bear in mind, you are eating in a restaurant setting, with service staff, so compared it with other restaurants, it is actually quite affordable. The two of us spent about $40 in total. I will certainly be back (when the queues are not too long)!