Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Food: Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong Dim Sum 添好運 @ Plaza Singapura, Singapore

During our recent Singapore trip (okay, so it ain't exactly thaaaat recent any longer due to our procratination and other backlogged posts, but bear with us), I had a list of 3 things I wanted to do.

First #1, to taste my first ever Laduree macaron, next #2 to visit Gardens by the Bay, and last but not least, #3 to try the Singapore branch of the famous Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan which we missed out on when we visited Hong Kong in 2011.

I'm pleased to say we achieved all three. *happy dance* Needless to say, Adam was very patient with me that trip because #1 meant spending an unintelligible amount of our SGD on sugar shells, #2 was just to walk around and look at flowers, and #3 involved standing in queues for a long time. I do appreciate it all, ok! :p


Yup, and more queues
The crazy thing about Tim Ho Wan is that since its opening in Singapore till the time we visited in the middle of last year, the queues haven't eased one bit. Once we touched down at Changi Airport, we hopped onto the MRT and made our way to Plaza Singapore at about 12:30 pm on a working THURSDAY afternoon and the queue was still madness! I was about to give up hope until Adam suggested we have a drink and a quick bite somewhere else first, to tide our hunger before checking in again on the queue later.

I think the time we spent in the queue was approximately... 45 minutes perhaps? We people-watched instead to pass the time. Brisk office workers on their lunch break shaking their heads at us as they walked past, not fathoming the craze but yet still wishing they didn't have to work so they could do crazy things like this. A boyfriend waiting alone in the queue while the girlfriend only joined him much, much later, and yet he still sweetly greeted her. Shocked expressions from people who had just rounded the corner and saw the snaking queue... all in a day's queue at Tim Ho Wan

It's said that the original restaurant in Hong Kong, proud owner of 1 Michelin star and the distinction of being the cheapest Michelin starred-restaurant is nothing more than a hole in the wall. It doesn't seat many, queues are even worse than what we've endured here, and space is limited, nearly non-existent. I suppose we have it better in Singapore!

Once seated, there's no leaning back

Still, you may get in very close contact with other diners :p This was right next to me, where we sat in communal-style seating arrangements.

Tim Ho Wan has their famous dish of four (四大天王, loosely translated to be the "Four Heavenly Kings"), so we decided to order all four to try. The most famous and most talked-about one is of course their signature Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (SGD 4.50).

This is so popular that you're only prohibited to only ordering a plate of 3 for every diner you have. I overheard the table next to us trying to get some extra but they weren't allowed to.

What's so amazing you may ask? The moment you sink your teeth into these, you'll understand. There's a very slight sweet crisp to the top of the bun, like a polo bao and beneath that, you'll find a fluffy, pillowy soft bun encasing bits of piping-hot, sweet barbecued pork. 

It's just that good. We couldn't talk for a few seconds as we tried our first buns each... If I close my eyes, I can almost taste it in my mouth! Argh, this is pure torture.

The Vermicelli Roll  with Pig's Liver (SGD 5.50) is also another one of the famous four, but we didn't fancy this one as much. The vermicelli sheets (cheong fun) was not as smooth and slithery as we would have liked and I found the whole thing a bit bland, in general. I think this is a case of personal preference, or rather preference towards the Malaysian rendition of Hong Kong cheong fun that we're so used to compared to the authentic thicker Hong Kong ones.

The Pan Fried Carrot Cake (SGD 4.50) was also something I enjoyed, Adam not as much cause it isn't really his kind of thing. It got a bit much for 2 people to finish, but I enjoyed the pan-fried crispiness on the outside that brings that bit of fragrance, and the imperfect texture of the sweet radish strands coupled with savoury bits of meat. I never liked my radish or yam cakes to be mashed to a pulp with zero texture from its original form, so this wins points from me.

The sweet dish of Tim Ho Wan's Four Heavenly Kings was none other than a simple Steamed Egg Cake (SGD 3.80), also known to many as ma lai kou, a dish we both enjoyed nibbling at immensely. The cake was airy and soft, and it had such strong hints of brown sugar. Wonderful eaten warm. Although I haven't tasted many ma lai kou-s in my day, I daresay this is the best I've tasted thus far :p

Of course, we couldn't leave a dim sum joint without ever trying their siew mai or Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (SGD 5). It was decent siew mai, nothing to fault, but nothing to shout about either.

I also decided to try the Deep-Fried Spring Roll with Egg White (SGD 4.20) because I saw a Singaporean blogger raving about it. It turned out to be a bad decision, not because it was bad but because we were so full and could barely eat anymore when this arrived. Just a simple popiah with bits of egg white, carrots and turnip within, that would probably have been tastier had I not been so stuffed. -__-

Turnaround time for the tables are relatively quick because this isn't really a place you want to linger around for long, sipping on your tea because it's not exactly the most comfortable (also, you may feel guilty by the long queues outside, haha!) Service is also very fast, although that is to be expected of a dim sum restaurant. Now, if only the queues weren't so long, I'd return to Tim Ho Wan often for the amazing BBQ pork buns!

Tim Ho Wan @ Plaza Singapura | Site
Getting here: Take the MRT to Dhoby Ghaut Interchange, follow signs to Plaza Singapura exit
No. 68, Orchard Road
Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6251 2000
Email: [email protected]
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-10pm; Sat, Sun & PH 9am-10pm
Note: Since our visit, other branches have now also opened in Westgate, Bedok Mall & Toa Payoh

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