Food Review: Tim Ho Wan at #01-29 Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839

Friends and colleagues: "So how was Tim Ho Wan?"

Me: "Actually it's just OK only."

Unfortunately, that is my opinion of Tim Ho Wan dim sum restaurant in Singapore, in a nutshell.

Everyone was really excited when it opened in Singapore last Wednesday, given all the hype of the 1-star Michelin restaurant brand arriving to our shores.

I was very very fortunate to be invited by the PR company to try out Tim Ho Wan before it opens - it totally made my day when I received the invite. I'm thankful for that. Perhaps if I had to queue on my own for two hours I would give the place an even more unfavorable review.

But what the media invite gave was a chance to give the place a fair and objective review. I also did not try the HK original branch so I have no benchmarks other than the dim sums in Singapore.

Here's the price list for your reference. 
Prices are definitely not as cheap as the one in HK. It is more similar to Singaporean dim sum prices in restaurants like Imperial or Crystal Jade.

Of course the most famous item from the chain was the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (3 for $4.50). I've heard that the Char Siew Bao was really just the one special item in the HK branch.

It is really good. Above average. But I won't say it is to die for. I do like how the powdery coating outside is a puff for the soft bun interior, that wraps the char siew pork. The sauce on the char siew was slightly too overwhelming and strong, but it gives it the flavour. 

Next on the list of the 4 Heavenly Kings (or must-order) is this strange looking cake called the Malay Cake, or Steamed Egg Cake ($3.80). It reminds me of the kueh my parents buy as offerings to our ancestors. But it was really fragrant, fluffy and fun to eat. Not too sweet. Good as a dessert.

Next up, the Vermicelli Roll with Pig Liver ($5.50). Some pieces were already taken from this plate here. But in any case, I tried it and even though the vermicelli is really soft, I didn't think it was anything special. The pig liver as stuffing as interesting, but I would prefer the usual char siew or prawns.

What I really liked, to my surprise, was this. The Pan-Fried Carrot Cake ($4.50) was a surprise hit for my tastebuds because it was like nothing I've ever tasted. Instead of being made with flour and radish, this seemed solely made with soft steamed radish chunks made into a square. The radish was slightly bitter, but had an inexplicable fragrance and sweetness. Really really good. Perhaps I would queue half an hour for it. Or do a takeaway from their takeaway counter, if I have a craving.

By then our table had filled up considerably. The folks were really generous to allow us to order whichever dish we like!

The next few items are really really just normal, so I won't say much about it. I do like the fact that they are very fresh, which is one of the most important things for the founders of this restaurant.

I would draw your attention to this - the Spring Roll with Egg White (3 pcs for $4.20). After coming back from Hanoi just the weekend before, I had thought nothing of the spring roll and was even hesitant to eat it. But I did, and I was so pleasantly surprised at how well this was done. It was crispy, and filled with such flavourful fillings, each bite was a joy. YUM!

Lastly for dessert - the Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake (3pc for $3.50). It's cold and refreshing, but again, rather average.

And here's me with Chef Mak Kwai Pui! It must not be easy to set up another restaurant overseas - and they did it with such success. A huge congratulations to the team.

You know what? I would still recommend this place and give it a thumbs up. I do feel that the dim sum is above average, ingredients are fresh and prices are alright. Plus the Carrot Cake and Spring Rolls did it for me. But I would just want to manage your expectations on the Pork Bun, and the overall hype of the place. Don't let it get to you!

Tim Ho Wan
#01-29 Plaza Singapura, The Atrium @ Orchard
68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6251 2000

  1. Actually, the malay cake has traditionally been a snack, not a dessert.

    Since you compared THW with other dim sum restaurants in Singapore, and you think THW is just ok, which dim sum restaurant in Singapore would you rank above Tim Ho Wan?

  2. Hey, thanks for letting me know about the malay cake! I thought it was really special that they have that on the menu.

    I think restaurants like Canton Paradise, Crystal Jade, Royal China, Ah Yat at Turf City, The Cathay Restaurant and Victor's Kitchen does a pretty good job with dim sum. On a lower cheap and cheerful grade there's also Swee Choon and Tak Po (Chinatown).

    I won't say they are above, but I would say they are on par, depending on the item ordered as well.

  3. Food is so-so, overprice, not so fresh ingredients, Char Siew Pau is worth it but not actually to queue for. Over-hype!!! There are better dim sum places in S'pore and you don't have to queue so long for it.
    Honest personal opinion only.

  4. After reaching there there was a long queue. Ppl take so long to order. Sign at entrance showing "No reservation, No takeaway". I still prefer my usual tim sum places Suntec City, Prima, Geylang, Harbourview & Marine Parade & Bedok hawker centre