Tag Archives: Yum Char
Tim Ho Wan | Hong Kong’s Michelin Star Dim Sum Restaurant Opens First International Outlet in Singapore
Dubbed as possibly the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world, Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong has earned a reputation for serving up quality dim sum that are made-to-order with an extremely affordable price tag, but not without first braving the long queues that start even before the restaurant itself opens.
Serving up to 2 000 baskets of dim sum everyday in each of its four outlets back in Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan is set to bring the dim sum frenzy to Singapore when it opens its first international branch today, 10th April 2013 at the Atrium of Plaza Singapura. Chef Mak Kwai Pui, the heavyweight behind the Tim Ho Wan brand says that he hopes to introduce authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum to Singaporeans through this new venture.
The 100-seater eatery space at Plaza Singapura is modest and seems hardly able to accommodate the large crowds of Tim Ho Wan’s fans it is estimated to attract with its opening. To cope with the high volume demand, this Singapore branch, much like its predecessors, will also not take reservations but cater seats via a first-come first-serve basis. But fret not, a SMS queue system has been implemented so you need not physically stand in line and wait for your turn.
Alternatively, the takeaway counter will hopefully take some of the heat off with its express service for customers who would rather avoid the queue and bring home their dim sum to enjoy.
Introducing the ‘Big 4 Heavenly Kings‘ which first put the flagship store in Hong Kong on the map- the Steamed Egg Cake, Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver, Baked Bun with BBQ Pork and Pan-Fried Carrot Cake, are MUST ORDERS here as well.
Delicate, moist and soft, this Steamed Egg Cake $3.80 was easily one of my favourites. Though it could probably be taken as a dessert as well, with its subtle sweet notes and spongy texture, the simplicity and lightness of this traditional dim sum delight was what won me over.
The Pan-Fried Carrot Cake (3 pcs) $4.50 could not have fared better. Sizeable chunks of sweet juicy radish pan fried with a thin crunchy outer layer and a contrasting comforting softness inside, this was delectable and good to eat on its own, without any additional condiments on the side necessary.
The entrance to Hakkasan along Bruton Street is easy to miss. With its heavily tinted glass floor to ceiling panels and black sturdy wooden door, you would almost walk right past it without even knowing. But look out for the two extremely friendly ‘bouncers’ dressed in black at the door and you are at the right place. Walking in, you will find that this upmarket fine-dining restaurant is sleek, elegant and almost mysterious. Lighting is dimmed, service staff ladies are dressed in oriental fuschia dresses and the lingering whiff of sandalwood incense draws you in.
Opened by successful restauranteur- Alan Yau, the man behind Busaba Eathai, Yauatcha and the Wagamama Japanese chain, this modern contemporary Chinese restaurant earned its Michelin star back in 2011 despite only opening the year before. Reservations are highly recommended as we soon found that even on a weekday night, every table was occupied.
Dim Sum Platter 15
An exquisite and stylish platter of fusion dim sum delights which impressed with presentation and aesthetics. We were psyched to find out if the taste justified its appearance and it definitely did! The platter came with two serves of Scallop Shumai, Har Gau, Prawn Chinese Chive Dumplings and Duck Dumplings so that made sharing convenient as we could both try one of each.
I personally enjoyed the succulent and fat piece of sweet steamed scallop in the shumai and the sprinkle of cod roe on top while my sister picked out the Prawn Chinese Chive Dumpling as her favourite because of those shredded crab meat and extremely flavoursome broth encased in the green skin. Overall these larger than usual dim sum are certainly not bite-sized, making you feel that you are actually getting more than what you are paying for!
Golden Fried Soft Shell Crab with Red Chilli and Curry Leaf 13
Extremely golden crisp on the outside, while still maintaining that sort of mushy consistency inside, this soft shell crab was delightful and unusual with those subtle hints of spice from the chopped red chilli and curry leaves that it was fried with. But dont worry, I am sure that even those with low or no tolerance for spicy food will enjoy this.
Originally one of the first Cantonese teahouses established here in Singapore, Mouth Restaurant is a household name with the older generation when it comes to freshly made Hong Kong dim sum and authentic Cantonese cuisines. I asked my parents if they had heard of Mouth Restaurant and they both said yes without hesitation and were in fact surprised that it was still around.
Yes, Mouth Restaurant is still thriving till today and have been for the past 25 years in the heart of Chinatown, not only because of the high benchmarks they have set for their food but also because of their willingness to evolve with the times. Brothers Daniel and Stevie Wu, who play a key role in constantly striving to maintain and improve the standards here at Mouth, have recently launched a spanking new menu featuring many mouth-watering (no pun intended) and creative dishes which I am absolutely sure will be a hit.
A key ingredient used during this innovative culinary journey that the Wu brothers had set on is Squid Ink. Squid Ink is believed to have many health benefits, one of which is the ability to slow down tumor growths. And being advocates of healthy eating, the brothers sought to include this wholesome dark pigment into their new menu. Read on to find out the different ways Squid Ink has been ingeniously used by Mouth Restaurant in Chinese cuisine.
Steamed Colourful Har Gao
Ever since Paradise Dynasty started the colourful xiaolongbao craze, it has become a norm to see steamed baskets of coloured dumplings. But the hype has since died down and colourful xiaolongbaos have become a thing of the past. Colourful Har Gao on the other hand? Definitely a novelty.
These brightly coloured prawn dumplings are one of Mouth Restaurant’s newest addition to their Dim Sum menu. Using only natural ingredients of Spinach, Pumpkin, Carrot, Sweet Potato and of course Squid Ink to colour and flavour the thin starchy and usually translucent skin, these are not your regular dim sum har gao. The flavours are subtle as Daniel explains that they wanted to avoid overpowering the true sweetness and juiciness of the fresh succulent prawn encased inside. This dish is eye-catching and a great table conversation starter and I would certainly recommend it.
Steamed Squid Ink BBQ Honey Pork Bun
Another Squid Ink infused dim sum delight, I really enjoyed how the addition of the Squid Ink to the dough mixture had made the overall texture of the bun a little more dense and substantial. The rustic grey colour was a nice change from the usual white fluffy exterior that we are so often used to. And the honey marinated pork pieces wrapped inside was so tender, sweet and simply delicious. For someone who does not usually eat cha siu bao, this won me over and I am craving for one of these even as I am writing about it right now.
Squid Ink Chee Cheong Fun
You would think that by the third course, I would already be getting used to the jet-black appearance that the Squid Ink infusion had lent to the overall dish but I was almost taken aback when this third course was served because its appearance was definitely unconventional.
Highly reputed for only serving the best of traditional Teochew classics and favourites, East Ocean Teochew Restaurant is no stranger to the Teochew cuisine and Dim Sum scene here in Singapore. Popularly known for their original location back in Shaw House (they have since relocated to Ngee Ann City), where they have resided since 1992 when they were first established, East Ocean is your one-stop destination for good authentic Hong Kong styled Teochew cuisine.
A definite hit and favourite with the locals, it is necessary and almost a MUST to make reservations prior to coming here. After hearing about the huge crowds on the weekends and how even with reservations, waiting is still mandatory, I told myself a weekday trip down was definitely in order instead.
I did however still take precautions and made a reservation for four on a Friday afternoon. I was the first of the group to arrive and was half expecting myself to have to sit outside and wait for the rest of the party to arrive before we were allowed to our table (a common practice most popular Chinese restaurants seem to insist upon) so I was pleasantly surprised when the lady directed me straight to my table and politely asked if I would like to order some tea first while waiting for my friends. Another waiter even proceeded to place an empty chair next to me and offered to put my bag there so I could sit more comfortably. I was very impressed with these little thoughtful gestures because we all know how curt and non-existent service can be at Chinese restaurants.
The whole group finally arrived and we proceeded to order. As usual, we started with the classics…
Steamed Ha Kau $5.80
Clear translucent skin that was so delicate but not fragile enough to break when you picked it up with the chopsticks. The prawns encased inside were huge and very fresh. This was a sure pass for all of us.
The Steamed Beancurd Skin Roll $5.80 was chewy and filled with shreds of carrots, turnips and mushrooms. The broth that it was steamed in was flavoursome and very tasty too!
Primed as one of the more authentic Cantonese restaurants, Yan Ting provides a top notch dining experience in one of Singapore’s luxury 5 star hotels on Orchard Road at the St Regis.
The restaurant located at the corner of the second level of the posh and luxurious hotel has a hardly noticeable entrance but walking through the doors gives one a totally different experience. Greeted by a beautiful chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling, the main dining area is not too big but cosy and comfortable. The tables are adequately spaced apart with plush arm chairs for the extra comfort while dining. It’s obvious that Yan Ting strives for quality experience instead of quantity where restaurants try to squeeze as many tables as possible into a given space. Booth seats are also available for couples for that extra privacy which is a nice touch. This is also precisely why reservations are a must given the limited number of seats available.
While Yan Ting is well known for their weekend dim sum brunch buffet at $98++ per person, I personally wanted to spend a little less first and decided to try out their ala-carte dim sum menu on the weekdays instead.
The Steamed Shrimp and Scallop Dumplings $6 were the first to arrive at our table and it was a great first impression to the remaining dishes to come. Both the scallops and prawns were fresh and the portion generous. The translucent starch skin on the outside did a perfect job at holding the ingredients of the dumpling together without being too heavy and thick. With the added parsley leaf and orange roe atop the dumpling as garnishing, this was definitely both an aesthetically and taste pleasing choice.
Next was my dim sum staple- Steamed Crystal Shrimp Dumpling $6 and this was good! Perfect prawn to skin ratio and the dumplings were beautifully wrapped with obvious skill given how fragile thin the skin was. One of my favourite Har Kao places to date. It pleases me when dim sum places get their staples right.