Review by: FeiEats
Hong Kong’s iconic cafe chain, Tsui Wah has finally made its debut in Singapore! Located at Clarke Quay, this first Tsui Wah outlet in South East Asia is a collaboration between Jumbo Group Ltd and Tsui Wah Hong Kong and coincides with their 50th anniversary.
Their Head Chef, Chef Ren has been stationed here since last year to recreate the dishes which made Tsui Wah a household name in Hong Kong since the 1960s. Many of the ingredients, like their tea leaves and curry spice mix had to be imported directly from Hong Kong while local ingredients have been meticulously sourced to ensure authentic flavours are kept intact.
What To Eat
The Crispy Bun with Condensed Milk ($4++) is the must-try dish. Chef had to work with a local bakery for 8 months to get the bun just right. The bun is lightly toasted so it is super crisp on the outside and pillowy light on the inside, then buttered and drizzled with condensed milk. It is amazing that something so simple should be the main reason to visit Tsui Wah. 4.5/5
I would also recommend the Pork Chop Bun ($7.50++). The same bread used for the Crispy Bun is also used here to sandwich a juicy and flavourful piece of fried pork loin. 4/5
There are no Japanese flavours in this Kagoshima-Style Pork Cartilage dish. The pork cartilage is also served with Fish Soup and Mixian ($8.50++) which is my favourite savoury dish. Both the creamy fish soup and tender pork cartilage had to go through long hours of cooking to get it to the right texture. It’s called “Kagoshima” because chef learnt the recipe from another chef from Kagoshima. 4/5
The XO sauce served with the King Prawns in XO sauce Noodles ($11++) is specially created for the Singapore outlet. I felt it would have been better if the sauce was already mixed in. They use specially sourced sea prawns which are good quality but I would have preferred the prawns grilled or sauteed instead of simply blanched. 3/5
The Lamb Chop Curry with Steamed Rice ($29++) we were told, is priced at a “loss” because the boss loves lamb chops and opted to use quality NZ lamb chops to entice more people to experience it. I thought the specially formulated curry of 30 spices was quite good. It has the pungent kick of our local curry and the smooth/shiny texture of a Japanese curry. Nonetheless, I still prefer my lamb chops just grilled and may try a different dish from the curry series next time. 4/5
The Luncheon Meat and Egg on white rice is a conundrum. We feel $9++ is too much to pay for “simple comfort food.” The chef explained that the luncheon meat they use can only be sourced by commercial buyers in China and the egg is cooked in way that is not browned and the yolk just a little runny. The accompanying soy sauce is also a specially selected premium soy sauce that goes well with the dish. I mused that purpose of this dish was to make the other dishes look a lot better in value. Chef was not amused. I think fans of this dish love it more for its nostalgia than value. You be the judge. 3.5/5
The Borscht soup with Thick Toast ($5.50++) was good again, not something I would specially go to the cafe to eat. However, I might order this classic Russian beef and vegetable soup on a rainy day. 3/5
If you still have the stomach and want to continue enjoying the bright cheery ambiance of this 140-seater cafe, you may want to order the Savoury French Toast Bites with Vanilla Ice Cream ($9.50++) to share. The bread is freshly cut and fried upon ordering. 3.5/5
What to drink
Their signature Hot Milk Tea ($3.50++) served in a cute smiley cup comes unsweetened and is best consumed with their Crispy Bun. The texture is quite smooth and I had mine “Kosong” (without sugar). You can have fun picking out one of the sugar packs printed with their own themed characters. 4/5
All the cold beverages are pre-sweetened and constructed with precision. The Ice Lemon Tea ($5++) has precisely 5 (~5mm ) slices of lemon. Chef Ren explained that 5 slices will slightly tip the balance towards a more lemony taste which is their intent. For someone who has learnt to drink Kopi-C-Kosong, the sweetness was just right, not bad! 4/5
I am not an Yuan Yeung (Coffee and Tea) drinker but I was unexpectedly won over by their Yuen Yeung (Cold) ($4++) that has a good balance of coffee and tea, with neither overpowering the other. I am glad to have succumbed to the Marketing and PR persons’ persuasion to try one for myself. 4.25/5
The same magic did not happen with the Almond Milk with Egg White (Hot) ($7++) though. I can however imagine that fans of this type of drink would like this freshly grounded Almond version that is a little frothy, milky and not too strong. 3.5/5
I confess that I am no “Cha Chaan Teng” expert. Nonetheless, Tsui Wah has brought Hong Kong Cafe food quality in Singapore to the next level but prices are relatively higher too. Big question is will I return with my family and friends to stand in the queue? Well, yes, if I am around the vicinity and looking for a cafe with quality food. I would certainly be back again if they decide to start serving baked items like Egg Tart and Polo Bun.
Disclaimer: This was a media tasting. That means that the food was provided but no fees were charged for writing the blog post.