Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tim Ho Wan

I have never tried Tim Ho Wan till today, often being repelled by their snaking long queues, irregardless of the time. Even at three in the afternoon, there would still be a frustratingly long queue in front of the restaurant. However, since I had lots of time to kill before my parents would join me for dinner at Bedok Mall, I decided that hey, why not just give it a go? So I queued. What I didn't realise was that THW seats patrons based on a who's-here-and-who's-not basis. Basically, if all members of your party are present, you will get a seat, even if you are behind fifty other hungry diners(-to-be). Well that was terrible news for me, so I ended up waiting close to forty minutes to be seated (thank you, full carparks).
Thankfully, our food came quickly, about five minutes after placing our orders!
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Glutinous rice dumpling ($5) was one of the best dishes we ordered. The rice was sticky, bursting with flavour from the chicken (or was it pork?). The generous bits of meat (pork, chicken and Chinese sausage) and mushrooms were delightful with the sticky rice. The diners at the table beside us ordered one serving of this each! On hindsight, we should have done that as well... This is totally worth the calories.
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I apologize for the poor quality of photos in advance, reason being that everyone was too eager to eat. After all, which is more important, photos of food or the eating of food? (It's the eating)
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Prawn dumplings ($5.50 for 4)
The prawn dumplings (or har gow) were good, but a bit pricy. The prawns were big and juicy, and the skin of the dumpling was thin. The secret to a good prawn dumpling lies in the recipe of its skin, and I think Tim Ho Wan has nailed it.

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Deep-fried bean curd skin roll (I forgot the price) was meh. Then again, I'm not a big fan of this so I guess I'm not the best judge.
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Of course, no visit to Tim Ho Wan is complete without the Baked BBQ Pork Buns ($4.50 for 3). These are the best-sellers of Tim Ho Wan, and rightly so.
The skin of the bun is thin and crisp, sweet yet savoury. The filling is actually oozy! Like a molten lava cake, the fluid state of the char siew filling was the icing on the cake. It was so delicious, I was tempted to order a second serving!
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Pan-fried Carrot Cake ($4.50 for 3) was unremarkable as compared to the other stellar dishes we sampled. The pieces of Chinese sausage embedded in the radish kept the dish interesting, but other than that, it tasted pretty average.

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Steamed Egg Cake ($3.80) is soft and extremely fluffy! Press it down and I'll bet it will pop up again. This cake is rather like a sponge cake, except much lighter. I don't really see how this is a dim sum item, though. I'm not an expert but I'm pretty sure this leans more towards desserts.
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The Yam Dumplings with Chilli Crab Meat ($5 I think) were one of the three special items featured. I love yam so I may be biased when I say that this was absolutely delicious! The chilli crab meat was piping hot and didn't quite complement the yam that well. But I was too busy enjoying the yam to notice. As you can see, I really like yam. A real lot.
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(the cross-section of the yam dumpling with chilli crab meat)
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To end off the lovely meal, we had the Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake ($3.50 for 3).
It tasted surprisingly sweet and not at all gross (personal taste) like I expected Chinese medicinal-sounding herbs to be. It actually tasted like Western kind of jelly!
The total bill was about $48, which makes it about $12 per person. We weren't exactly full at the end of the meal, but I guess that's all right since it's never good to over-eat. I doubt we will be back again in the near future though, since the queue is pretty off-putting and the prices aren't all that cheap. However, I do imagine myself buying the glutinous rice or the baked BBQ buns as take-away on occasion as a treat, perhaps.
Tim Ho Wan is also a place you should visit for "the sake of it" so I would definitely recommend this to first-timers. But for repeat patrons, well...that would be entirely up to them.

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