It did take a while for Tsui Wah 翠華 to be here in Singapore. Long overdue.
While there are many “Cha Chaan Teng” in Hong Kong, Singaporeans do have this particular liking for Tsui Wah and it is not uncommon to find many of us there (oh, the accent) there.
(Click PLAY for highlights of Tsui Wah Restaurant Singapore)
The flagship Tsui Wah Restaurant at Hong Kong Central is a favourite among many, and has become a default resting place for my friends after half a day of shopping.
Plus it is opened 24 hours, good for clubbers at Lan Kwai Fong.
The other popular branch is at Hong Kong International Airport. And while prices there are higher, we would still grab some Milk Tea and food there while in transit or before flying home.
I do need to highlight, especially for those who have yet to visit the place, that Tsui Wah has always been known to be a casual eatery. The food are more comforting and fuss-free, rather than “gourmet”.
Now that Tsui Wah is finally right in our backyard (in a way), how does it fare?
Its first outlet is located at Clarke Quay (facing the riverside) – a good choice of location especially when Tsui Wah Singapore intends to extending opening hours into the night. (Also read: 5 NEW Clarke Quay Restaurants)
It has also extended its operating hours to 1:30am daily, serving a supper-exclusive menu from 10:30pm which includes fiery favourites like Mala Soup 麻辣烫.
Tsui Wah in Singapore is a joint venture between Tsui Wah Holdings Limited and Jumbo Group Ltd – famous for its chilli crab dishes.
The contemporary-styled restaurant has a seating capacity of over 140, with an al fresco dining area which faces the riverfront. Here are 10 of the recommended Tsui Wah Singapore food and drinks:
Crispy Bun with Condensed Milk ($4)
There is joy in having the simple stuff.
Just freshly baked bun coated with butter and condensed milk, but there was a right amount of crispiness, fluffiness and sweetness when done right.
Must be eaten freshly out hot.
However, during a return visit, the bun tasted overly toasted, and not sweet enough. Just something not quite right about it. Strange, one day it was bliss, the next day it wasn’t.
That shows that it is hard to achieve consistency in even the simplest things.
Tsui Wah Signature Pork Chop Bun ($7.50)
A tender piece of pork chop sandwiched in a wheat bun, with zesty homemade gravy and crisp lettuce.
The key difference I find would be the texture of the buns. In Hong Kong and Macau, the exterior is typically crustier and mildly firmer, but this bread here was softer and fluffier – which I did not mind.
Surprisingly, the pork chop was both thin and succulent. I only wished that the slice was bigger, also because I was missing those from Macau in which the pork chop was substantially ‘vaster’ than the bun.
Beef Brisket and Tendon Curry with Steamed Rice ($13)
Interesting, this dish is called “Malaysian Beef Brisket Curry with Rice” over in Hong Kong, but the word “Malaysian” has been left out here. (Understandably, I do not spot any Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice in the local menu here as well – this has been one of the Top 10 at Tsui Wah.)
The signature curry is stewed for over six hours, using more than 30 different herbs and spices.
I find that the taste is more or less there, say about 70% similar to Hong Kong’s, except that the dish could be served even hotter, and beef brisket softer.
Chicken Wings with Sweet Soy Sauce ($11)
I am so glad that this Cantonese classic can be found here because it is not that common in Singapore, marinated with sweet soy sauce with that tinge of bitterness. (Maybe ‘bitterness’ is not the best word, but there is this pleasing end-note to the soy sauce that makes it appealing.)
Similar to the curry dish, I wonder why leave out the “Swiss” from the Swiss Wings dish. After all this is what it is called back home right?
It could have been a great way to learn more about Hong Kong’s unique food culture and its naming.
King Prawns in XO Sauce with Tossed Noodles ($11)
A potentially delicious dish, but lacking both in sauces and ”har zi” (prawn roe) as you can see the noodles was quite minimally peppered with it. Thus slightly on the dry side.
The prawns were plump and fresh though.
Kagoshima-Style Pork Cartilage in Fish Soup with Mixian ($8.50)
The dish is named after the hometown, Kagoshima, of the Japanese chef who shared the recipe with Tsui Wah.
The stewed pork cartilage was marinated with a special sauce till soft and tender, and the fish soup was satisfactorily flavourful.
Boscht Soup with Thick Toast ($5.50)
Hong Kong Milk Tea ($3.50)
A decent rendition served in the iconic cup. Tsui Wah’s HK Milk Tea combines premium Ceylon tea leaves with a touch of Holland’s Black & White evaporated milk in a preheated teacup.
I am more used to Hong Kong’s siap siap version, which has that soft lingering tea-bitterness, while this version is milder – which I did not mind.
Iced Yuen Yeung ($4.00)
Loved the proportion of coffee and tea, which made a harmonious balance. Perhaps too much ice, so it got diluted while I was halfway through the meal.
Coke with Lemon ($5.00)
Some of you may be happy it serves up HOT Coke with Lemon as well, which happens to be a popular cold remedy in Hong Kong. If only there was ginger inside.
All in all, though it is still not quite the actual thing, I am glad that quality of Tsui Wah Singapore is more or less there, and that signature items of Milk Tea and Curry Beef Brisket did not disappoint.
However there would always be that something missing, as what makes Tsui Wah “Tsui Wah” is the vibes – the super fast service, the Cantonese chattering, and impatient service staff (LOL).
When asked for ”Any more feedback?”, I went, ”Faye Wong’s Cantonese songs, please?”.
Tsui Wah Singapore – Clarke Quay
3A River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #01-03, Singapore 179020.
Opening Hours: 11am – 1:30am Daily
Other Related Entries
Tim Ho Wan Singapore (Plaza Singapura)
Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore (Holland Village)
Honolulu Café Singapore (Centrepoint)
Xin Wang Hong Kong Café (Kovan)
Seoi Gor Café 水哥冰室 (Holland Drive)
* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. This review was first written after a media invite, then updated after Daniel’s Food Diary made an anonymous visit and paid for the food.