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Tim Ho Wan Singapore

Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013

When I heard about the opening of the famous One Michelin Star Tim Ho Wan in Singapore, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to go anywhere near it for another 6 months, but somehow last night Justin announced that we were going to wake up in the morning to make our way down, and just like that in the spirit of YOLO-ness, we ended up first in line for the queue of Tim Ho Wan on the second day of its opening at 9:05am!

I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the restaurant layout was bright, clean and cheery, quite unlike its Hong Kong counterpart according to our double dates Weiru and Edwina, who've been there before!

Mad queue starts to build up. So glad we came early! It gets even worse after we sit down, and when we leave, there is still a queue. I'd say if you wish to brave these few opening days, if you don't come early, you may as well not come at all!

That said, I must commend Tim Ho Wan for being super prepared to deal with the crowd. Minutes after we sat down and submitted our orders, we were served with our first dish!

According to their menu, this is the BBQ Pork Buns ($4.50++ for 3 pieces), or what is better known as Bo Lo Pau! It's apparently super famous, and I can see why! Warm and crispy on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside! There is also a hint of Chinese wine in the meat. Yum! We order 3 portions, just cause we are here.

Next up we have the Vermicelli Roll with Pig's Liver ($5.50++), which really is Chee Cheong Fun stuffed with Pig's Liver. The boys like it a lot, but Edwina and I don't really because we're not fans of liver, and it tastes "smelly" and too strong.

They have four flavours in total, in which we had 3 of! The Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp ($5.50++) is a much preferred option in my opinion, though relatively safe. It was stuffed with fresh prawns and pieces of ginger, with hints of Chinese wine again. Yum!

Last of the Tim Ho Wan Chee Cheong Fun family is what they call the Pork Vermicelli Roll ($5.50++), which is the char siew version of it, also much safer and preferred. The meat is sweet and tender, drenched in chinese sauce. Also a yum!

You can't eat proper dim sum without having your Har Gao and Siew Mai! I found the prawn in the Har Gao, or Prawn Dumpling ($5.50++ for 4 pieces) was so fresh you could taste it. Although looks wise, I've seen better folded ones, and I'm not sure why on earth there is some glutinous rice zhap on one of them, I liked it a lot just because of the freshness.  Likewise, the Siew Mai, or Pork Dumpling with Shrimp ($5.00++ for 4 pieces) was super fresh, with a little twist to it. Instead of the usual dressing on top of eggs, they put a wolfberry instead. Interesting.

The Carrot Cake ($4.50++) was the most underwhelming dish out of all. While it was pretty unusual because of the defined turnip strips (rather than the usual solid mash of turnips), all of us found it pretty bland and, like typical Singaporeans, ended up dousing it in chilli sauce.

Then came the fried stuff!! I've never been a fan of Spring Rolls ($4.20++), but the Tim Ho Wan rendition was decent. Light and crispy since it was fresh out of the deep fryer, and stuffed with all kinds of fresh veggie to make you feel better about eating fried food.

This here was my favourite - the Beancurd Skin Roll with Shrimp ($5.50++). Also piping hot with a succulent prawn hiding in between the crispy thin beancurd skin! We order another round of this because it's so delish.

Wah we really did eat a lot, looking back at the pictures. The Beancurd Skin Roll ($4.00++) was not another not so well received one by me, though Justin liked it a lot. I'm not a fan of soft beancurd skin, but if you like it, it's worth a try! Inside was prawn, if I remember correctly. Oops. It was that memorable I guess!

Justin has the Beef Balls with Beancurd Skin ($4.20++) which I don't eat, since I'm Buddhist, but he describes it as having an "interesting flavour" with a hint of lemongrass, and "not as meaty as you expect it to be."

And last but not least, I was looking forward to eating this the most after seeing pictures of it online! The Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake ($3.50++) looks super pretty in photos, like yellow crystals embedded with wolf berries and what seems like pieces of flowers. Sometimes, I don't know what on earth I am eating. I honestly was disappointed with the taste of this because it was a little strange for my palate. It was like super sweet honey like with a bit of Chinese herby, but really, I guess you'll have to try it yourself to understand!

Two issues of contention that I just have to share with you guys before you all plan to brave a trip down within the next few weeks of its opening!

1. After ordering our first round, we were not full enough, and upon requesting if we could order a second round, we were told by the waiters that we would have to wait for more than an hour to get our second round, which really doesn't make sense from a business perspective because we are buying more stuff, AND it was obviously a ploy to try get us out of the restaurant faster. Anyway, we decided to risk the wait, and within 1 minute, our items came, calling their bluff. Sheesh!

2. I wanted to take away some Bo lo baos for Melissa, and when asked, the staff told us that the take away counter was closed, understandably because of huge demand in the restaurant itself. But yet, when we were lining up to pay, we spotted several people walking out with paper bags from Tim Ho Wan, and when asking the cashier about take aways, he told us the same story that the take away counter was closed. But when we pressed him further that we saw someone doing takeaways, he stumbled and said that actually, they did give out paper bags to people who wanted to take away food. Wtf???

I suppose inconsistencies and teething problems are expected, considering this is just the second day of their opening. That said, I still find their service supremely efficient and well prepared to cope with the huge demand. I'll probably be back some time in the far future once all the hype has died down!

Tim Ho Wan
68 Orchard Road
#01-29 Plaza Singapura
The Atrium @ Orchard
Opening hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm daily