Monday, January 06, 2014

Tim Ho Wan (添好運) - Worth the Michelin Star Reputation? @ Toa Payoh Central (ERA Centre)

Tim Ho Wan's grand opening in Singapore was back in April 2013 yet i have not been totally enthusiastic to visit any of its outlets after hearing quite a number of negative feedback.

But, my weekly temple visitation with my mom brought me to Toa Payoh central a week ago. As mom must be quite sick of having cheng mun chee kee for breakfast, i decided to bring her to the dim sum restaurant's second outlet in ERA centre (formerly known as Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre) instead.

Heng the queue was short! Even though it was another thirty minutes to its opening, i was half expecting a lengthy queue numbering more than thirty outside the restaurant.

Our stomachs were growling and it didn't help to see mouth watering pictures lined up along the queue poles, motivating hungry diners again and again to wait patiently for their turn!

10am - we were the second group to get in! It's finally time to try the world's cheapest Michelin starred dim sum restaurant right here in Singapore! 

Don't be mistaken by the last photograph; the level of Tim Ho Wan's popularity was still going strong and the eatery quickly filled up after we were seated. Before we knew it, the whole place was bustling with noise and activity!

Pan Fried Carrot Cake
This was nothing befitting its impressive title as a renowned member of Tim Ho Wan's big 4 heavenly kings; strips of carrot cake were felt as i chewed although there wasn't any exceptional flavour that particularly caught me by surprise.

Steamed Egg Cake
The soft fluffiness caught my immediate attention and the first thing that came to mind as i took a bite of the steaming hot cake was gula melaka! However, according to ieatishootipost, ordinary white sugar was used to make the batter and its brown tinge actual came from two days of fermentation. Not too bad, not too bad. 

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork
Oh my god, this was to die for!!!! I love Crystal Jade's polo bun with char siew and thought that was already very good. This baked bun from Tim Ho Wan took things a few more levels up!

Despite messing up my mouth like a child who hurriedly chomp down his favourite biscuits, i totally loved the delicious combination of thin, flaky crust and savoury char siew filling. Heard the ones from Canton Paradise are better but before i literally sank my teeth into one, Tim Ho Wan's version is still the best! 

Vermicelli Roll with Prawns
Out of the four kings, the only one we didn't had was vermicelli roll with pig's liver. However, i could not resist having the common one with prawns. It was alright and i had much better ones at Mayim!

Beancurd Skin Roll
With pork and prawn filling, this was yet again another average item on the menu. Okay, i admit i have always preferred crispier beancurd skin! 

Spring Roll with Egg White
I am a huge lover of egg white but that obnoxious egginess i desired so much was missing from this deep fried item. Furthermore, i think i still like my usual spring rolls with sweet, crunchy vegetables.

Mom thought differently and preferred this version better. Oh well, just note that it tasted nicer when cold though.

Har Gow
The initial first bite almost resulted in extreme discounting of this dim sum item typically served in dim sum restaurants; the texture of its skin was just way too thick!

Only when i managed to bite into the prawny middle was i mildly taken aback. It was nothing like the common ones from other dim sum restaurants and featured a taste that could likely be the increased addition of mashed Chinese chestnuts.

Siew Mai
Very moist with a tinge of sweetness (thanks for the Chinese wolfberry); me very like the uniqueness in them!!

Glutinous Rice Dumpling
The actual Chinese wordings were translated into Lo Mai Kai, a classical dish in the typical dim sum spread. Hence, imagine my bewilderment when i saw this big piece of wrapped lotus leaf!

Friends would know i am not a big fan of lotus rice and it was the same sentiment i had for the above!

It was ingredients rich but the taste was too strong tasting for my liking! p.s. i think there were parts of internal organs like liver in the sausages. Yucky! To be fair, it's just me!

Osmanthus Cake
Served cold, the jelly (not cake in my opinion) was not overly sweet and would be the darling for the older generation. What i particularly fancied were the natural palatableness of Chinese wolfberries and fresh bites of osmanthus flowers! Yummy! Those warm ones from Peach Garden paled in comparison!

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Overall, there were hits, and there were misses. Pricing was kind of steep for dim sum fare and this was one major grouch for many Singaporeans who have been to the original store in Hongkong. Bet i would do the same if i ever visit sham shui po in the future! 

Location
Block 450, Lorong 6 Toa Payoh,
#02-02, ERA Centre

Map
As above

Price
Pan Fried Carrot Cake - S$4.50
Steamed Egg Cake - S$3.80
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork - S$4.50
Vermicelli Roll with Prawns - S$5.50
Beancurd Skin Roll - S$4.00
Spring Roll with Egg White - S$4.20
Har Gow - S$5.50
Siew Mai - S$5.00
Glutinous Rice Dumpling - S$5.00
Osmanthus Cake - S$3.50
Chinese Tea - S$1.20 per person
[Subject to GST and Service Charge]

Menu / Ordering List
As above

Additional Information
Like many restaurants nowadays, you have to ensure that everyone in your group is present before a table would be allocated to you. I don't know about you but i honestly thought this was a great policy!

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