If I have to queue an hour for food, Tim Ho Wan's Baked Bun with BBQ Pork would be one of my few choices.
|Baked Bun with BBQ Pork SGD 4.50 (for 3 pieces)|
The Michelin 'inspectors' never failed to pique any foodie's interests, especially when they awarded the much sought-after Michelin Stars to hole-in-the-wall-kind-of-places like Tim Ho Wan in the densely populated Mongkok of Kowloon, Hong Kong or Sukiyabashi Jiro, a closet-size sushi bar in Tokyo which inspired the cinematographically beautiful movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
Often dubbed as the world's cheapest Michelin Starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan is an anomaly because the Michelin Star is known to gravitate towards mostly elegant and posh restaurants steeped in French or western cuisine. So, one Michelin Star for dim sum cuisine really must mean something is worth checking out there. I didn't waste my chance on my trip to Singapore recently and headed to one of Tim Ho Wan's first international branches.
I was easy to find, because of the strategic location, on the Ground floor and within 50 metres from the Taxi Drop-Off at Plaza Singapura. Another spot on hint was the long human caterpillar waiting at the entrance. The real challenge is, waiting for your turn to get a table inside the perpetually busy restaurant (even more so during the weekends). I've come too far to back out, so I sucked it up and got in the line, like a refugee lining up for the day's ration. The restaurant Captain handed me a 2-sided paper menu on a mini clipboard and a pencil to mark my orders, simultaneously warning that she will only admit our group only when everyone is present. It was not difficult to pick the nicest-sounding stuff from the 35 plus items, but the absolutely must-try is the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork.
60 minutes later..
The legendary Baked Bun with BBQ Pork arrived at our table, looking brown and piping hot, fresh from the oven. My brother effortlessly pried the bun apart, only to reveal the glistening red-brown filling. As I took my first bite, I finally understood why everyone far and wide are willing to queue an hour for it. The bun is light and crispy, didn't stick inside the mouth like most steamed pork buns and the filling hits the perfect level of sweetness and texture. I had never been a huge fan of BBQ pork buns because they were usually overly sweet or sticky in the mouth or too chewy, but Tim Ho Wan's tasted amazing.
We ordered plenty of other items, one from each sections and we are all impressed by the taste of all the dishes, hence I won't single out any items in particular. But if you can only have a few items, your choices should fall on the Big 4 Heavenly Kings, consisting the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, Vermicelli Roll with Pig's Liver, Pan Fried Carrot Cake and Steamed Egg Cake.
|Chinese Tea SGD 1.20 | Barley Water SGD 2.00|
|Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg and Salted Egg SGD 4.20|
|Dumpling with Spicy Sauce SGD 4.80 (for 4 pieces)|
|Pan Fried Carrot Cake SGD 4.50 (for 3 pieces)|
|Steamed Prawn Dumpling SGD 5.50 (for 4 pieces)|
Steamed Garlic, Mushroom, Spinach Dumpling SGD 3.80 (for 3 pieces)
|Glutinous Rice Dumpling SGD 5.00|
|Rice with Chicken, Sausage & Mushroom SGD 6.00|
|Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp SGD 5.50|
|Front: Steamed Prawn Dumpling SGD 5.50 (for 4 pieces)|
Back: Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp SGD 5.00 (for 4 pieces)
|Dessert: Yam Puree with Sago (hot) SGD 3.50|
We only paid about SGD 80+ for the feast above and the 5 of us left the place with happy full tummies. For the kind of delicious and filling food and this price, I am SO willing to queue again at any given time!
About Tim Ho Wan
The name is in Cantonese, which means 'add good luck' (no doubt it does!). Other basic facts can be found here.
For your information, Tim Ho Wan's Singapore outlets have rather strict rules:
~ Walk-in only
~ Those coming in groups have to ensure everyone is present before they will be admitted inside the restaurant
~ No reservation
~ No take away
*) Prices are subject to 10% Service Charge and 7% GST
Plaza Singapura: 10.00am – 10.00pm | 09.00am – 10.00pm (Weekend and PH)
Toa Payoh: 11.00am – 10.00pm (daily)
1. Olympian City 2 | 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui | Shop 72, G/F | Ph: +861 23322896
2. Seaview Building, North Point | 2-8 Wharf Road | Shop B, C, & D, G/F | Ph: +861 29795608
3. Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po | G/F, 9-11 | Ph: +861 27881226
4. Hong Kong Station | Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, Central | Shop 12A | Ph: +861 23323078
1. Orchard: Plaza Singapura #01-29A | 68 Orchard Road | Ph: +65 63329298
2. Toa Payoh: ERA Centre Toa Payoh | 450 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #02-02