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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St. Marc Cafe – Simple and delightful pleasure

St. Marc Cafe (Vivo Branch)

Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk #01-108-110 Vivo City

Opening hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Mon to Thu, Sun) 10:00am – 10:30pm (Fri, Sat)

St. Marc Cafe (Marina Square Branch)

Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard #02-105/184/185 Marina Square

Opening hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Everyday)

Introduction

There are two branches in Singapore and i personally prefers the Marina Square branch as it is more spacious with a larger seating capacity, so there’s no or little waiting time to get a seat. This branch is only opposite Lady M Confections. I was attracted by the colorful display of their desserts outside their shop and decided to have a try.

Click to enlarge

St. Marc Cafe mainly serve bread, pasty, sandwiches, soft serve and their most popular Chococro and Little Fuji. Their soft serve dessert mainly range from S$6.30 for the little Fuji to S$8.80 for their Choco Banana Split. I thought St. Marc Cafe is an ideal place to have rest and to re-energise myself with a quick sugar boost.

St. Marc Cafe’s items are not exactly the most premium or the most special of all. However, their simple and yet delightful dishes are the reasons why i re-visited this cafe again. It’s the piping hot Chococro chocolate filling that attracted me back, and the crispy biscuit-like crust of the Little Fuji that made me want to visit this place again.

Little Fuji – S$6.30

I actually think this is one of the star of the show of St. Marc Cafe. Many people are either ordering this Little Fuji, or the Choco Banana Fuji, with added chocolate sauce and banana.

So what exactly is the Little Fuji? It’s a freshly toasted buttery flavor croissant dough with soft serve with caramel sauce. There is always at 5 to 10 minutes of waiting time for this Little Fuji and to collect at the counter when it’s ready.  Therefore Little Fuji is always served piping hot and it’s duper crispy.

It’s arguable that the ice-cream taste a little like McDonald’s but what does it matter when the combination of the croissant with soft serve is too good to nitpick.

The Signature Original Chococro (S$2.40)

By the name Chococro, it actually stands for Chocolate Croissant. Best part about this? When it’s freshly out from the oven, or at the minimum, it’s warm.

Somehow a pastry can’t go too wrong when there is warm molten hazelnut chocolate and warm crispy croissant involved.  This is quite an ideal snack to go with a cup of latte even if you are feeling a little full from a meal. The portion is just right, and the chocolate is not too greasy so it’s almost always a good time to have a Chococro.

Seasonal Flavor – Matcha Daifuku Chococro (S$2.60)

Daifuku (大福) literally means “Great Luck”. Daifuku is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweetened red bean paste. So a Matcha Daifuku Chococro is a actually a confection within a pastry. I initially thought the white filling is green bean paste but i think it’s actually mochi, and was stuff into the croissant together with the red bean paste and matcha cream. This is a rather interesting flavor which is not easily found elsewhere. Catch it before there’s a change in season.

Salsa Egg and Custard Bread (S$3.50)

Apart from sweet stuff, St. Marc also offers some savory items like sandwich and bread. There are actually plenty of ingredients in the Salsa Egg Bread – salsa sauce, mayonnaise, bacon slices, pepper and whole egg. It’s almost as good as it looks and only too bad the egg is quite well cooked. It would be best if the egg is only half cooked with the runny egg yolk. The price is also not exactly the cheapest in it’s class.

Custard Bread with Almond Flakes (S$2.60)

This bread is rather pricey at $2.60, but you will be able to tell the difference between a $2.60 and $1.50. The warm creamy custard flows out from the bread upon cutting it into two. Comparing to ordinary custard, this one has a stronger and aromatic milk taste. The bread’s texture is similar to Barcook’s Raisin Cheese but a little bit softer. This or Chococro at the same price of S$2.60? After some consideration, Chococro will be my choice! But this is actually not bad too.

Conclusion

I still ordered their Little Fuji or Chococro for my subsequent visits. I personally prefer their croissant dishes rather than their bread. St. Marc Cafe’s ambiance is very similar to Starbucks or Coffeebean kind of ambiance and can reasonably sit for as long as i like. The one thing i like about St. Marc Cafe is their patrons can get free cold water from their water dispenser. This means that i can get to rest in this cafe, and spending only S$2.60 on one Chococro, and to rehydrate myself for free.

Once again, i need to emphasis that St. Marc cafe is not offering the most special kind of pastry, or the nicest pastry in Singapore. Their dishes are some very safe recipe that can’t go wrong easily. I personally like them for the reasonable price and the overall comfort offered to their patrons. Sometimes, life’s simple pleasure can be the best kind.