Ok, so this post is for the late bloomers. What? There’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer okay? We just like to take things slow and have no urgency to “keep up” with the rest of the world okayyy? Yeah, this coming from someone who just stepped foot into Tim Ho Wan for the first time since it landed in Singapore this April.
We wanted to catch Thor at 12.55pm at Plaza Sing, then come out to a late lunch at 3+. We thought the queue wouldn’t be so bad at that time. We were right, technically. The queue wasn’t as bad as compared to the lunch time queue which stretched all the way out the PS entrance, but we were still at the end of a double snaking line. At 3pm on a Monday afternoon. (<== this is a fragment. I had a hard time typing it. Do not copy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, congratulations, you live a much better life because you’re not infected with the dreaded disease which is “grammar Nazism” which plagues thousands of unfortunate human beings each year. ==> This is a potential run-on. Do not copy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, congratulations, you live a much better life because you’re not infected with the dreaded disease which is “grammar Nazism” which plagues thousands of unfortunate human beings each year.)
My real personality is coming out. I am not really just a housewife who cooks! I told you I had a past life, right? Did you believe me then? No? Ok la ok la, I’m joking. I am just a housewife who cooks. By the way, “just” and “housewife” should never appear in the same sentence because there is NO SUCH THING as “just a housewife”. This in itself is a major oxymoron. A housewife is very 神圣 ok? Your mother never tell you? (Sorry, I’ll try to stuff my alter ego back in the closet after this post. She’s running a bit loose right now.)
What was I saying? Oh, Tim Ho Wan. Almost forgot.
So we got in line at 3pm and waited 45 minutes before we had our table. The picture above shows what the sitting looks like. I know you came from Hong Kong but really need to make it so squeezy like cha chan teng style not? I didn’t mind la, actually. #justsaying. I love Hong Kong. Whenever I eat at cha chan tengs I purposely squeeze with other people even though there are empty seats available. They don’t even bat an eyelid. (this story is unreal. but I really love Hong Kong!) Ok, so what did we order?
The first item that arrived was the Baked Buns with BBQ Pork ($4.50 for 3). This is pretty unique.. like char siew polo bun but not like char siew polo bun. It was warm and crispy and so fluffy soft at the same time. How is this even possible? It kinda reminded me of Roti Mum. (I chose to link Roti Mum because although it is a knock off, it is local and I love IMM.)
The char siew was sliced in a decent size and not in super huge chunks like 人肉叉烧包。Jason ranked it his #1 choice out of the 7 items we ordered.
The second item was the Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg & Salted Egg ($5.50). I thought the addition of salted egg was a bit strange. It came chockful of ingredients but became watery too soon. Jason raved about it and ranked it his #2 favourite, but I was not a fan.
Then came the Glutinous Rice Dumpling ($5). I think they should rename it Lotus Leaf Rice because it caused alot of confusion for my brain. The English name made me think it was bak chang while the Chinese name 古法糯米鸡 had me convinced it was lor mai kai and should have come in aluminium packaging. It came with generous pieces of tender chicken, a lonesome piece of mushroom, and a stuffed liver (?) sausage which was also in our Ibu Oka Babi Guling rice in Bali. I liked it the same way I like the $2.50 version from the coffeeshop downstairs my house.
And all of a sudden, my world started to whiz by as the rest of our orders arrived at the same time. The Steamed Egg Cake ($3.80) was my favourite of the lot. I rank it #1 out of every item! The cake was soft and airy, the gula meleka flavour was subtle but rich once you allow it to merge with your palate, the serving was quite generous, and the colour I like! What a genius item. Absolutely loved this.
The Pan Fried Fried Carrot Cake ($4.50 for 3 pcs) was also okay and I felt it was a tad oily. I would have liked it more if it was just a little bit more crispy at the edges, but that’s just me. This is one of Tim Ho Wan’s “Heavenly Kings” along with the char siew buns and steamed cake and I struggle to understand why. It was good, but not outstanding.
We also ordered Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp ($5.50), which came with the elusive yellow chives! Now I know why I can’t get yellow chives. They all go to Hong Kong. This dish was very, very good. The shrimps were crunchy and firm; the flour rolls soft but not overly so. The soy sauce was perfect and wasn’t too heavy, and the sweet yellow chives made all the difference. I even dunked the Fried Beancurd Skin with Shrimp ($5.50 for 3 pcs) into the soy sauce. The combination went even better than the suggested Worcestershire sauce combi. I think they should get married, these two.
One notable mention: the service was excellent. The queue was moving like well-oiled machinery, the food was served quickly, Jason’s Chinese tea refilled constantly, and the service was prompt and always delivered with a smile. It was a great meal if just for the service alone. The bill came up to $42.61 including 1 refillable Chinese tea and 1 cold barley drink. I would rank my favourite in this order:
#1- Steamed Egg Cake ($3.80)
#2- Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp ($5.50)
#3- Baked Buns with BBQ Pork ($4.50 for 3)
#4. Fried Beancurd Skin with Shrimp ($5.50 for 3 pcs)
#5. Glutinous Rice Dumpling ($5)
#6. Pan Fried Fried Carrot Cake ($4.50 for 3 pcs)
#7. Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg & Salted Egg ($5.50)
The queue was almost ending (about 10 people in line) when we finished our meal at about 4.30pm. Moral of the story: go at 4+ if you don’t want to queue for too long. We thought we could get away with less queuing at 3pm but 45 minutes isn’t what I would call a short wait. Would I go down to Tim Ho Wan specifically again? I think not, but if I was in the area and the waiting time was acceptable (10-15 minutes), I would get in line just for the 马来糕 and 鲜虾肠, and probably try the beef balls! Remember to dunk the fried beancurd skin into the vermicelli roll soy sauce. Thank me later!
Tim Ho Wan
68 Orchard Road #01-29A
450 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
10.00am – 10.00pm
09.00am – 10.00pm (Weekend and PH)