Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Tim Ho Wan, want or don't want?

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Have you seen the long queue outside Tim Ho Wan, the Hong Kong cafe right at the Plaza Singapura's new extension wing?

I bet many of you shoppers must have seen it and maybe had even tried a couple of their dishes.

So is Tim Ho Wan worth the wait? We have seen plenty of media coverage of how long the diners have to wait. The longest being 1.5 hours of their time. Surely there's a better use of time huh?

Had decided to pop by and decide for ourselves if the wait is truly worth it. Tim Ho Wan actually meant increasing good fortune in Cantonese, so we hope it's for our good fortune and not just the owner's good luck :)

We arrived at Tim Ho Wan : 7:20 pm, waited around 15 mins before the waitress signaled to us that we can now enter the cafe.

Took a quick look at the "Menu". No picture, no chef recommendation, no diner's favorite. However, there was this "heavenly kings" section where they listed their so called signature dishes. So we ordered 3 out of the 4 (Char siew bun, chee cheong fun with liver and Malay sponge cake), hoping they will be nice. Besides that, we had also ordered some siew mai, congee, beancurd skin related dish and some spring rolls.

The service delivery was amazing. Once we had submitted our orders, our 1st dish was served almost immediately. 1st up, Century egg + lean meat + Salted egg Congee. By the look of it, it looks normal, nothing very different from those we always had at the hawker centers. But once you had tasted it, you might want to take a 2nd mouth and eventually finish up the whole bowl all by yourself.

The 2nd dish, Char Siew Bao. The crust and the looks of it changed my perception of Char Siew Bao. To be honest, i didn't like Char Siew Bao since young, but this bun had just made me wanna try it.

I took a bite at it and was amazed by it. It was awesome. It got me all excited, since this is mentioned as the top 4 dishes of the shop, i cant wait for the other 2!

The 3rd dish, Spring roll stuffed with egg white. Looks like a normal spring roll to me. Didn't expect much as it was not 1 of the top 4 dishes. Ate the 1st piece, didnt like it. Thought it was a little blend. Next please.

The 4th dish, Siew Mai!! I was kind of anticipating it since this is a Hong Kong Cafe, my expectation of it simply rises by 2 notches. The looks of it doesn't look very tempting. Well, took a 1st bite and thought it was very blend. So took the 2nd piece and it's the same taste. Decided to mix it with some soya sauce and it is actually pretty ok after that. But how can a siew mai be so blend? To me, this dish simply failed, big time.

Next, Beancurd skin stuffed with pork and shrimps. This dish looks rather nice. So i quickly took a piece. It's nice. But i wouldn't say it's super nice. Just much better than the previous 2 i mentioned.

Ok, 6th dish, finally the other big 4 appears. Chee Cheong Fun with pig liver. Hmmm, should i be happy? The Chee Cheong fun looks tasty but i am unsure about the liver. Took a piece of it and the verdict was out immediately. I think the prawn one would be a better choice. The Chee Cheong Fun is nice, very smooth but the ingredient within disappointed me big time.

Last dish to end our meal, Malay style sponge cake. My wife enjoyed it but felt she was a little full so didn't finish it. I took a small piece and didn't liked it. End of the reign of the big 4 dishes.

I went on to observe the service attitude of the waitresses and found that they will greet their customers only if they are dressed in formal attire or they are Caucasians. Not sure this considers as a form of culture there but i am sure service should be based on the customer's outward appearance. As i received the greeting from the staff, i was rather pleased with their service :)

So the verdict for me. 3 dishes impressed me but if you have to try 1 or maybe 2, just go for the Congee and the Char Siew Bao. You will not regret your choice. For my foreign readers, you might want to join in the queue when you are here in Singapore too (if time permits), it is located within Plaza Singapura (opposite Dhoby Ghaut MRT station)

Have a great day ahead!!

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