Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Taste of Tim Ho Wan

The previous year was a good year for the local food scene, with the entry of famed international names adding more flavor, and quite a lot of buzz, to an increasingly competitive landscape. One of those much anticipated names is Tim Ho Wan, with their signature Big 4 Heavenly Kings and authentic dimsum...  

Tim Ho Wan brings one of the world's best signature dimsum dishes to the metro, offering both authenticity and superior value for a winning combination and a unique dimsum dining experience.

The lines for lunch or dinner continue to be as long as the day it first opened. And that pretty much says a whole lot about Tim Ho Wan. And founding chef Mak Kwai Pui's line of traditional Cantonese dimsum. Tim Ho Wan still is the place for the metro's best authentic dimsum. Have a pot of Jasmine Tea ready for your dimsum feast at Tim Ho Wan... 

Before you try Tim Ho Wan's Big 4 Heavenly Kings, or their signature bestsellers, get a taste of their modern update on dimsum with the Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling (P 140), a crispy, deep-fried dumpling filled with prawns drizzled with creamy wasabi and topped with briny fish roe. The crispy dumpling offers contrasting textures with its crunchy outer layer, followed by the soft and flavorful filling. The wasabi cream adds an interesting and mildly sharp layer of flavor, complementing the subtle notes of the prawn filling. As with all of Tim Ho Wan's signature dimsum, the wrappers are thin and light, allowing you to taste more of the filling. 
Vermicelli Roll with Pig's Liver (P 140), a personal favorite, and the first of the Big 4 Heavenly Kings. It's one dish that you either hate or love because of the liver's distinct gamey flavor, there's no middle ground. I enjoy the taste of liver, and this dish enhances the flavor of the liver with a light soy sauce. The tasty notes of the liver are mild, blending well with the subtle flavors of the soft, velvety smooth, and chewy vermicelli roll for a unique dimsum experience. The delicate texture of the thin and soft wrapper is simply perfect, adding to that unique Tim Ho Wan experience. Other Vermicelli Roll variants include the BBQ Pork, Beef, Shrimp, and Sweet Sesame.
Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce (P 120), with tender and buttery soft pork ribs steamed in its own juices with black beans, topped with chili for a soothing layer of heat. Each bite-sized morsel, with its thin layer of fat, delivers subtle yet rich and clean flavors, punctuated by the nutty black beans and the spicy kick from the chili. The richness of the pork is perfectly tempered by the black beans and chili for balanced flavors. At Tim Ho Wan, the flavors are noticeably more subtle and not overpowering, just the way authentic dimsum should be. One more bite, and another cup of hot Jasmine Tea...perfect.  
Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork & Shrimp (P 120), soft beancurd stuffed with a savory filling. I also enjoy bean curd in all shapes and forms, and this one is yet another favorite.  Your chopstick skills are put to the test with this dish, but then again, it's all part of the fun at Tim Ho Wan. The soft and silky smooth beancurd skin adds its own nutty notes to the pork and shrimp, and the overall clean flavors blend together so well, without the usual overly seasoned taste found in most local joints. Tim Ho Wan does not use any MSG at all, with all the clean and fresh flavors coming from premium ingredients.  
Beef Ball with Beancurd Skin (P 120), blends the bold flavors of beef with the subtle nutty notes of beancurd for another comforting combination. Soft to the bite, each bite releases the beefy juices followed by the distinct texture of the beancurd. But the flavors remain subtle, yet leaving a rich mouth feel that progressively intensifies with a second and third bite. It's a heftier little plate, both filling and satisfying. Dab a little chili sauce and take another bite... 
Pan-Fried Carrot Cake (P 145) is another example of contrasting textures and flavors, with its seared surface adding a layer of crispness and a hint of smoky notes blending with the soft texture of the cake. Bits of radish add even more texture and flavor in every bite. The second item of Tim Ho Wan's Big 4 Heavenly Kings, the Pan-Fried Carrot Cake is another must-try dish to complete your experience. A dip on light soy sauce or chili boosts the flavors of the dish.
Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (P 150), a familiar dumpling prepared the traditional way. The metro offers thousands of versions of this ubiquitous dumpling, but Tim Ho Wan's own take clearly stands above the rest, with its delicate paper-thin wrapper and juicy filling. A bite releases a burst of juicy flavors, and you'll want another bamboo steamer. Each dish is made-to-order, retaining the fresh flavors and texture fresh from the steamers.    
Prawn Dumpling (P 160), the classic dimsum with fresh and plump prawns. Probably the most popular dimsum in the metro, it's also a good gauge of the establishment's dimsum prowess and mastery. At Tim Ho Wan, the prawns are stuffed in the thinnest and softest dimsum wrappers, contrasting with the fresh snap of the prawns releasing a subtle briny sweetness for a perfect prawn dumpling. All of Tim Ho Wan's dumplings are freshly made to order, adding to the quality of the dumpling. And it becomes immediately apparent why Tim Ho Wan is a Michelin Star establishment. Add some chili oil or dip it in some light soy sauce, or simply take it as is for clean and pure flavors. 

Any visit to Tim Ho Wan won't be complete without the iconic Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (P 145), the third dish of the Big 4 Heavenly Kings. This is the dish that built Tim Ho Wan, and earned its distinction as the world's most affordable Michelin Star establishment. The signature outer layer is crumbly yet light, with a crispness that seems to melt in your mouth. Inside, the soft and fluffy bun absorbs the sweet and mildly salty BBQ pork. Once served, you need to immediately take a bite to experience its flavors at its very peak.

As you gently break and open a bun, steam rises releasing a fragrant aroma. The first bite sends the buttery notes of the bun followed by the savory pork filling. The tedious process in preparing each bun, the use of the finest ingredients, and the skill and experience of Tim Ho Wan's dimsum masters are evident in each and every bun. Simply put, it's perfection in a bun. And the quality is consistent with every succeeding order.

An order of the signature Steamed Egg Cake (P 85) rounds up your feast with Tim Ho Wan's Big 4 Heavenly Kings. Soft, spongy, and fluffy, the distinct flavors of the salted egg add a unique richness to the steamed cake, contrasting with a caramelized and pronounced muscovado-like sweetness for balanced flavors.

Cap your feast with Tim Ho Wan's unique Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake (P 90), a vibrantly colored jelly that's not too sweet yet very refreshing...

...or the creamy Mango Pomelo Sago (P 90), a sweet and tart dessert with taro pearls, mango, and pomelo. Tim Ho Wan takes your dimsum to a whole new level, bagging a Michelin Star along the way. You still have to wait for a table, but that's all part of the experience. And it's definitely worth the wait.

Tim Ho Wan is located at the Ground Floor, SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City or call 470-8836 for inquiries and more information.

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