Tim Ho Wan : Michelin Star Dimsum in Plaza Singapura

"I'm craving for bola-bola siopao with no salted egg."

This was what I suddenly told my friend I in the middle of our Facebook chat. Of course, I's natural reaction was "huh?" While Singapore has a very strong Chinese influence, sadly dimsum is quite hard to find still in this part of the world. Thus, whenever the craving for a delicious bowl of congee or some steamed dimsums comes about, it normally would take me days before I can finally find a place that will answer to these cravings. Where oh where are all the delicious dimsums in town?

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This is also the reason why I was literally jumping with joy when I found out that Hong Kong's famous Tim Ho Wan finally opened in Singapore. Now, we finally have real good Hong Kong-style dimsum and it's just a few minutes away from my office! Well, that is if I have the patience to line up and wait everytime.

Tim Ho Wan opened it's first branch in Plaza Singapura early this year and yet everyday you'll see a long queue that would snake outside the restaurant. Estimate waiting time is from 30 minutes to an hour. I highly recommend that you go at odd hours (eg: 2PM, 4PM, 8PM) so as not to wait so long. They have opened two more branches since -- Toa Payoh and Bedok and I also saw a line forming in front of the Bedok outlet. Quite a similar sight when you go dine in their Hong Kong branches.

I'll tell you why everyone loves Tim Ho Wan:

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First, they have one of the yummiest congee in town. I love the Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg & Salted Egg (S$4.20). Nothing beats the perfect combination of salted and century eggs. The rice was so fine and the congee stock was really flavorful. It surely brings back good memories of visiting Hong Kong and having a bowl of congee with you tiao (deep-fried dough fritters a.k.a. bicho bicho) every morning.

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Secondly, because the Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp (S$5.50) is such a perfect comfort food! I love how the shrimp stays so crisp and plump making it a great contrast to the soft and silky cheong fan wrapper.

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We also loved the Prawn Dumpling (S$5.50) a.k.a. Hakaw which was very similar to the Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp only it's steamed into tiny bite-size pieces. It's quite expensive though but I guess adding shrimps to a dish makes it more pricey.

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The next reason why Tim Ho Wan is such a hit is because of these babies we'd call -- Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (S$4.50). I'm not a fan of siopao or any kind of Chinese buns, however after having a bite of these sweet, savory baked buns I was instantly a convert. Just to tell you how delicious these are, Tim Ho Wan Singapore actually has a rule of limiting one order of Baked Buns per person and take out orders are not allowed too. Don't worry though as one order will give you three big baked buns making the S$4.50 price tag a great deal.

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For those looking for some rice to go with your meal, I suggest that you skip boring steamed rice and try the Glutinous Rice Dumplings (S$5). We just love how it's so fragrant and they have generous packed it with chicken and mushrooms. Yum!

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We've been to Tim Ho Wan three times already this year and we make it a point to try a new item each time. During a recent visit with Pan, we had the Carrot (Radish) Cake (S$4.50). Sadly nothing too amazing about it as I even find it quite bland.

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During another visit, we tried the Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimps (S$4) as this is Paul's favorite dimsum. Sadly, it paled in comparison vs. all the other beancurd skin rolls that we've tried back in Manila. Needless to say, it failed to impress Paul himself.

We were greatly impressed with a number of dishes while some were just ho-hum and boring. However, do make sure to leave some space of dessert as I was able to discover two delicious dessert items that you just have to try!

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First was the Steamed Egg Cake (S$3.80). In Manila, this is more popular called "Malay Cake" by the local Hokkien-speaking Fil-Chi. I'm not quite sure why it was called such but both Paul and I loved this as we would have this to snack or dessert as we were growing up. The trick is to quickly eat this as soon as it's served on your table. That way the cake stays moist and very fluffy.

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The next discovery was the Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Petal Cake (S$3.50) is such a refreshing dessert perfect to end your meal. I got to say that it does have an acquired taste and when we ordered this during a dinner with my in-laws, it was only me and my cousin-in-law J who loved it! Everyone had a small bite and pushed their piece away. It has a gelatinous texture while not as silky though. What I love about it is that it's not very sweet and it has this cooling effect while eating it.

Tim Ho Wan's menu is very limited so I recommend that you stick to the best-sellers. Each order is quite filling so do make sure not to go overboard when ordering. Over-all, I'm so happy that we can now enjoy Hong Kong-style dimsum whenever the craving strikes and this surely saves us from the expensive airfare given that Hong Kong is so far away from us now.

Tim Ho Wan now has 3 branches since they first launched in April.

Visit Tim Ho Wan at 01-29A, Plaza Singapura (near Dhoby Ghout station), Singapore. They also have a branch at the new Bedok Mall and in Toa Payoh (ERA Centre). 

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