Dim Sum Review: Tim Ho Wan at Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 319394

Was kindly invited again to Tim Ho Wan's second branch opening at Toa Payoh a couple of weeks back! I love that it is much nearer to where I stay, so perhaps one day in the future when the queue is not so insane I can go there for dim sum with my buddies.

It's right at Toa Payoh Central on the second floor of ERA Centre, which is a short 5 min walk away from the MRT. The restaurant itself is about 3/4 the size of the original at PS - could seat perhaps 100? Hence queues would be expected.

As the hottest dim sum franchise in Singapore, of course they are not contented to just open a second branch and serve up the same things. They have introduced instead SIX new items on the menu, with 3 being September specials and 3 permanent items on the menu.

Well, let's talk about the three September specials first then. I am glad they are just.. limited time offers because honestly, they are not that great.

First up, the Fried Noodle with BBQ Pork and Soy Sauce ($6). It was a really really mediocre fried noodle which I can get anywhere else. We were all quite puzzled as to why it is in a dim sum menu, though it is very typical HK, it is not a typical.. dim sum dish. Skip it!

Next was the Deep Fried Dumpling with Salted Meat ($3.80). This looked really strange when served. When I bit into one, I found out it is actually mostly hollow inside, with a smidge of salted meat which was not particularly tasty. Again, it is a weird dish for me. The combination somehow felt wrong. How about stuffing loads of egg mayo inside the fried dumpling? I bet that will taste great :P

Last of the three non-permanent specials - the Steamed Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce ($5). As I am not a fan of chicken feet I did not try the dish, but apparently it was quite good according to my dining partners so... perhaps the only one you could check out.

Do you dare to eat chicken feet or are you too chicken to do it?

Next we go to the 3 new permanent items on the menu that is exclusive to TPY branch. How did they fare?

First up, the Vermicelli Roll with Sweet and Sesame Sauce ($4.20). Sorry but this was really average for me. Maybe it was too plain? For some reason I don't find their chang fens that great, even the liver one in PS. Plus it was cold already when I had it (my fault!) which did not help. If you do order these, eat them immediately. 

Next, and one of the favorites of the night -- the new Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling ($5) which was obviously made with Singaporean palates in mind. And it worked! Why do Singaporean palates love wasabi, prawns and fried stuff? I don't know. But it was really yummy.

One of the reasons why could be due to the explosion of textures and taste. The prawn was juicy and complemented the fried shell, coated with a wasabi that delivers a mild kick.

The last new permanent item would be the Mango Pomelo Sago ($5). I am sad to report that it is a miss for me. I was really excited to hear about it because it is such a HK dessert which everyone loves, but when we had it, it was too watery, sweet and had very little mango. Clearly, THW is not a dessert place. For the price, go somewhere else for your mango pomelo fix.

Well, hits and misses aside, let's check out some of the oldies. Are they still goodies?

The first would be the famous BBQ Pork Baked Bun ($4.50) of course.

They. tweaked. the. recipe.

... and I am happy to report that I loved this new iteration of it!

During the tasting at PS I reported that the bbq pork was too thick/overwhelming. Well, seems like feedback did make its way into the kitchens because the new BBQ bun at the TPY branch had a much lighter char siew filling. It was less sweet and cloying. 

However they have adjusted the sweetness of the bun so now that is sweeter than before, which is not an issue for me (but if you don't like sweet buns, it might be a cause of concern for you). It was a great tweak which made the bun so much more enjoyable. Definitely order this at TPY!

The next was actually my top favorite at the PS branch - the Pan Fried Carrot Cake ($4.50).

I was slightly disappointed with the one at TPY. It wasn't the same carrot cake I had before at PS, because this time round the carrot was more condensed and became more of the traditional style whereas the previous one was a bit different. However, it is still a very good solid piece of carrot cake.

Then we have the Steamed Egg aka Malay Cake ($3.80) which was really fluffy. I didn't really like it though. Feels weird to have cake amidst dim sum. Just my personal preference.

Next are two items which I adored. Notice how the pendulum swings? I know!

The Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg & Salted Egg ($4.20) was such a comfort food and classic dim sum dish, I had the feeling I was home when I ate it. It was the dish that helped glue all the dim sums together for me. Really well-done, balanced taste and texture.

Of course, the Prawn Dumplings ($5) were flawless. Crystal clear skin that's thin and crispy around juicy bouncy prawns. A must-order.

Then we have the Steamed Spinach Dumplings with Shrimps ($3.80) which I was not particular to, because I would have preferred chives instead, but the gentlemen at the table really enjoyed them. 

Lastly, the Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake ($3.50) as well for dessert. This time round there is wayyy more of that red stuff you see inside. Though generous, I found the cake too sweet again and not very refreshing despite the potential to be. If only it is lighter.

Despite so many misses, I reckoned the hits still tilt the scales to a thumbs up. I only caution that flavours there are on the VERY heavy side, so be careful what you order, in order not to end up being very thirsty after the meal. Get the congee, the bbq pork bun, carrot cake and the prawn dumplings for a really good dim sum meal which does not hurt your wallet! 

Tim Ho Wan (添好運)
ERA Centre, 450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 #02-02, Singapore 319394
+65 64832000
Daily: 11am - 10pm

Thanks to Tim Ho Wan and Brand Cellar for the invite!

1 comment
  1. Haha this totally reminds me I should write my THW review as well. Yes I loved the crispy skin BBQ pork buns at TPY as well, never tried the PS one though. Was a tinge sweet, but the chef said that was their intention so that you will eat more baos. hmm food for thought.