Tim Ho Wan at Hong Kong Fortress Hill

Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong (添好運 / 添好运)- The One Michelin Star Dim Sum

English Address (Google Map): 2-8 Wharf Road, Seaview Building, North Point

Chinese Address: 北角和富道2-8號嘉洋大廈地下B,C及D鋪

Opening hours: 10am to 9.30pm

Scroll to the end for address and opening hours of other Tim Ho Wan Branches

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Firstly, i will bore you with a little bit of history of Tim Ho Wan (添好運/添好运). The main chef Mak Kwai Pui (麥桂培) of Tim Ho Wan was originally from a well established restaurant  under the Four Season group – Lung King Heen (龍景軒). He later opened Tim Ho Wan in year 2009 that offers 5 stars hotel Dim Sum at street price.

In less than a year, Tim Ho Wan was awarded one star by Michelin. By then, it already has a reputation for selling the best dim sum in Hong Kong. As we know, it had created a storm when they opened their first branch in Singapore.

I used to visit their branch situated between Prince Edward and Sham Shui Po station and that is the branch that was awarded the Michelin star. I remember it was not exactly a great experience. The place is really really cramped and the waiting time is crazy, and service is below average. My conclusion then is they are great for the Polo Char Siew Bao.

When i visited Hong Kong this time, I didn’t have the intention to visit Tim Ho Wan but i got some free time on hand and the location is rather near my hotel so i thought , “Ok I’ll give it another shot”. I visited their Fortress Hill branch for supper at around 8.45pm.

This branch is at least 4 times bigger than the one that I visited and it’s much more spacious and well decorated. It was almost full house but i still manage to get a table instantly. I only ordered a few items, and surprisingly, all of them hit the right spots.

Tim Ho Wan's Menu: Click to enlarge

Tim Ho Wan’s Menu: Click to enlarge

Char Siew Polo Bun (酥皮叉烧包)

The Polo Char Siew Bao is fluffy soft and topped with a thin layer of not-overly-sweet sugar crust. The Char Siew is covered in a warm thick and rich gravy. The bun’s crispy texture complement the Char Siew perfectly.

This is the exact item that was awarded with one Michelin Star and just one serving is always not enough. This is still the best item at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong. However, i do hope that they can be more generous with the Char Siew fillings though. This dish cost HK$18 (S$2.90) while it cost S$5.25 in Singapore.

Beef Ball with Bean Stick (陈皮牛肉球)

This dish is pretty good as well for it’s soft steamed and well marinated minced beef. There is a well balance of fatty and lean beef in this combination and the steamy hot beef ball taste really fresh.

There are also Bean Sticks (Tau Kee) placed beneath the meat ball and they absorb the natural sweet meat sauce during the process of steaming. This meat ball is my second favourite dish of the day. This cost HK$16 (S$2.60) while it cost S$4.90 in Singapore.

Steamed Malay Sponge Cake (香滑马拉糕) 

This is one of the four heavenly kings of Tim Ho Wan and it’s well known for it’s soft fluffy texture. I had this in Singapore’s Tim Ho Wan and i actually like it, but it comes at a costly price tag of $4.45 nett.

For the same item, it only cost HK$15 (S$2.40) and therefore makes this dish much more enjoyable than having it in Singapore. The steamed cake is served piping hot and i enjoy the fluffy spongy texture with a eggy light brown sugar taste.

Beancurd Skin Roll with Meat and Prawn (美味鲜竹卷)

The ingredient of the Beancurd Skin Roll taste very fresh and flavourful and the shredded vegetable wrapped in the chewy Beancurd Skin actually enhances the overall texture.

The gravy that comes with it has just the right level of saltiness and does not overpower the main lead. It cost HK$20 (S$3.20) while it cost S$4.65 back in Singapore.

Conclusion

Actually I myself was quite surprise that the experience of visiting Tim Ho Wan’s Fortress Hill brand is vastly different from the previous visit (5 years ago) of the Sham Shui Po Branch. Comparing Hong Kong’s price to Singapore, their signature Polo Char Siew bun is mark up by a whopping 80%. I always have this philosophy that the taste of food is somehow link to the price and waiting time. For this visit, there is zero waiting time and realising Tim Ho Wan’s affordable price, everything appears to be better.

Their century egg congee is not the most flavourful. Those who enjoy something light may enjoy this porridge much.

For those who are already a fan of Tim Ho Wan, then this is a must-visit for you. And for those who think that Singapore Tim Ho Wan’s price is too exorbitant, this will be your chance to enjoy a better quality Tim Ho Wan at a much cheaper price.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Map and Directions

Actually Tim Ho Wan is between the Fortress Hill and North Point Station but it’s more straight forward to walk from Fortress Hill.  It’s about a 7 to 10 minutes walk.

1. Come out from Exit B of Fortress Hill Station

2. Walk straight and turn left at a junction to Power Street

3. Continue walking straight until a T Junction and turn right on City Garden Road

4. Continue walking straight. City Garden Hotel will be on your left.

5. After passing City Garden Hotel, walk a little bit more and Tim Ho Wan will be on your right.

Scroll to bottom to see address and opening hours of other Tim Ho Wan branches

Other Tim Ho Wan Branches

Olympian City Branch

Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui [大角咀海庭道18號奧海城二期G樓72號舖]

Opening hour: 10am to 9.30pm

Sham Shui Po Branch

11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po [深水埗福榮街9-11號地下]

Opening hour: 8am to 9.30pm

Central Branch

Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall) , Central [中環香港站12A鋪(IFC地庫一層]

Opening hour: 9am to 9pm

Tseung Kwan O Branch

Shop 49, G/F., POPCORN 2, 9 Tong Chun Street, Tseung Kwan O [將軍澳唐俊街9樓POPCORN 2期地下49號] O

pening hour: 10am to 9.30pm

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Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, one of the Best in Singapore

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice

Address (Google Map): 71 Seng Poh Road #01-49

Opening hours: 7.45am to 2.30pm or till sold out and closed on alternate Tuesday

Introduction

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice needs no introduction for all Hainanese Curry Rice lovers. Loo’s, one of the most well-known and popular Hainanese Curry Rice vendor started its operation since 1946. It was situated opposite Tiong Bahru Market and it just moved to a new location not long ago at Seng Poh Road.

I reached there on Saturday 12pm and the queue is already crazily long. You don’t see such queue even at the cafes along Keong Saik road. It seems like our local dishes still have their charm over the recently booming cafe culture.

Hainanese Pork Chop

Unlike Beo Crescent Curry Rice, Loo’s Hainanese pork chop is crispy, but not as crispy, but it manage to retain it’s crisp even when it’s cool. The pork chop is rather thick and you get a good crunch with every mouthful. Like a traditional Hainanese pork chop, it’s drizzled with a light tomato gravy. The pork chop is well flavoured and marinated. Most importantly, It is not greasy, and it’s not hard to understand why every table has a portion of their pork chop.

Braised Tofu

This is apparently another favourite. The tofu is lightly fried to brown and is accompanied by a good serving of meat sauce. Unlike some tofu that has a strong and unpleasant bean taste, Loo’s tofu is very sweet and smooth and is especially good when it goes with the meat sauce. A good amount of sesame oil is added to enhance the fragrance and the rich and salty nature of the sauce added a good flavour to the tofu.

Braised Cabbage (Chap Chye)

Braised cabbage, the spirit of Hainanese Curry Rice, is really simple without any fancy sauce. This cabbage is cooked till the appropriate softness and Tang Hoon  (glass vermicelli) is added while it absorbs the braised sauce. It’s not overly soft nor tough and it’s a dish whereby one get to enjoy the natural sweetness of the cabbage without the sauce overpowering the main lead. This dish is not fantastic by itself though.

Luncheon Meat and Potato in Tomato Sauce

This dish is not special in any way but it tasted really homely. It tasted like a dish from my primary school canteen which is mostly made up of bottled tomato sauce. It’s definitely not something a ketchup/tomato hater will like.

Yong Tau Foo

The braised pork belly was sold out and while I was pondering what to order, the auntie recommended this Yong Tau Foo and said it’s “Ho Jiak” (taste good). So I went along with it and I love it. The green chilli, bitter gourd, wrapped fish meat is coated with thick salty black bean sauce and it gains my favour instantly.

Curry Rice

And finally, my review for the curry rice. At first mouthful, i thought their curry is more salty than any others and is more sweet than spicy. I was anticipating the curry flavour but the fragrance of their curry only comes a little while later. I thought the curry fragrance is not strong enough but still ok as it gets a little better with every mouthful. Comparing to Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice, i prefer Beo Crescent’s curry a little more.

Conclusion

Guess the price of two rice, pork chop, Yong Tau Foo, luncheon meat and potato in tomato sauce, braised tofu and braised cabbage? $9.00. Isn’t that quite reasonable?

Although i prefer Beo Crescent’s curry and pork chop, i like the rest of the dishes better and thought they taste better in general. It is a tough choice between the two but i think i will choose Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice.

For friends who wish to find a nice air con place to chill after a sumptuous lunch at Loo’s you may want to consider visiting Drips Bakery Cafe that is only around the corner at Tiong Poh Road.

Drips Bakery Cafe

Drips Bakery Cafe

Address: 2 Tiong Poh Road #01-05 Singapore 160082

Operating Hours: Sun – Thur: 11:00am – 9:30pm Fri & Sat: 11:00am – 11:00pm

Introduction

This place is recommended by my colleague who had high rating for their sandwich where the bread is freshly baked everyday. Drips bakery cafe offers a good range of pastries, tarts, cookies and cakes as well as hand crafted coffee.

Initially, i wanted to drop by at a cafe at Yong Siak Street only to find most of them are really crowded and a little noisy but i am in a mood to find a quiet place for a good cup of coffee after my lunch at Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice and i am glad that i did.

At Drips Bakery Cafe, the tables are well spaced apart with a high ceiling. There are also sofa seats at the other end of the cafe that is situated below a sun roof. I did not opt for the sofa seat as it was at 1.30pm and sunlight is directly shining onto the sofa.

 

The ambiance is very relaxing with light music playing at the background. Perfect for a great afternoon chill out session! They do not have a fixed menu which i think they will just wipe off an item from the menu black board if it was sold out for the day.

Fruit Tarts

I heard that the pastry chef from Drips Bakery Cafe was once with Shangri-la. We were fortunate to be able to try the tarts freshly prepared from the kitchen. The mango and blackberry tart cost me $8.00 which i think it’s a little pricey but taking account that they are actually quite generous with the fresh fruits, it’s still reasonable.

When the tarts were brought out from the kitchen, everyone started crowding at the counter and most of the tarts were snapped up in no time. I thought the crust taste very similar to a butter cookie but the best part of the tart is the cream filling. I like the smooth texture of the cream and for the fact that it’s simply not too sweet.

Sandwich

Drips bakery cafe offers some sandwich choices like Smoked Salmon, Virginia Ham, Vegetarian and Honey Low Fat Ham. For a meat lover like me, of course i opted for a Ham sandwich – The Honey Low Fat Ham. There’s only one option for choice of bread which they call it the “Baked Bread”.

The veggies are really fresh and i particularly like how they toasted the tomato to mild warm before serving. And for the bread, the edge of the bread were really crispy and soft on the inside.

Conclusion

Fresh tarts, fresh bread, spacious, relaxing, good cappuccino are all the reasons that i have to come back to Drips Baker Cafe again. I actually wanted to try their buns like their curry bun and their Macadamia Tarts but after eating a plate of curry rice, a sandwich and a tart, my stomach gone already. So probably i will pop by in near future and to try out their sandwich of a different flavor and hope that their bread is as good as this time!

Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice

Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice

Address: 40 Beo Crescent

Operating Hours: Daily: 6:30 till sold out (At about 3 or 4pm). Closed on Wednesday.

Introduction

I had heard people raved about this curry rice that is situated in the neighbourhood of Beo Crescent. You can easily spot this place by looking out for a long queue forming outside a coffee shop. The old school stall has no sign board and everyone calls it the Beo Crescent Curry rice. TheM 67 years old boss opens his stall early in the morning before the sun rises and closes his stall when most of this dishes are sold out at about 3 to 4pm.

Hainanese Pork Chop

Their famous pork chops are on the must-try list of every foodie. Remember to order the Pork Chops separately so that it will not be soaked in the curry sauce. Oh god. This Beo Crescent Curry Rice Pork Chop is indeed crispy! If you prefer your pork chop to be slightly thicker and a little bit more chewy, like Scissors Cut Curry Rice Pork Chops, you may not favour this. But for me, this is what makes their pork chops unique. Beo Crescent Curry Rice pork chop easily found itself into the must-order list for my next visit. I think the secret to the crispiness is the method of preparation. The pork chops were sliced into small and thin slices and coated it with a generous amount of flour mixture and logically, with that amount of flour coating, it should make your pork chops really crispy.

Fried prawn

Basically the marinate and the flour coating taste very similar to the the pork chops and is not difficult to guess the texture too. Yeap. Crispy! Except for the tail, the other parts of the prawn were deshelled which makes it easy for diners to feast on them. The prawn is definitely not overcooked and i can taste the freshness of the prawn.

Braised pork

The pork belly is well braised and the fatty portion comes off easily without much effort, but not to the extend to melt in your mouth. What is a Hainanese Curry Rice without braised pork belly?

Minced Pork Patty

The dish taste rather decent, Ok and probably should be the dish for me if i want to have a healthier meal. The unique thing about the Beo Crescent Curry Rice’s version is the slight difference in texture compared to the ordinary minced meat patty. They minced the meat till it’s really fine that you almost can’t taste the fiber of the meat. Just imagine a giant pork ball but much softer. This dish is a little bit salty for me and I will leave my stomach to try other dishes for my next visit.

Conclusion

Like most of our hawker centres or coffee shop food, apart from cheap and good, it’s still cheap and good! I ordered two plates of rice, one with pork belly and long bean, and the other one with cabbage and fried prawn, and ordered a plate of pork chops and a portion of minced pork patty and it cost me for S$9.50. How good is that?

Despite having 20 people in the queue and waiting for about 20 minutes during lunch time, it was well worth it. This stall was around since 1990 and I heard that the children of the stall owner has no interest to take over the stall so it’s a pity that such a traditional hawker stall will no longer be available in the near future. Be sure to pop by and try it out soon!