翠華 Tsui Wah – Hong Kong’s Famous Cha Chaan Teng is in Singapore!
翠華 Tsui Wah, Hong Kong’s pride and joy, is possibly one of the most loved “Cha Chaan Teng”(港式茶餐廳) in the country. There are Singaporeans who flock to Hong Kong specially for Tsui Wah. Boasting over 60 outlets in Hong Kong, Macau, and the People’s Republic of China, the tea restaurant chain has opened its FIRST EVER outlet in Southeast Asia, right here in Singapore! Set in a 140-seater in Clarke Quay, Tsui Wah is modelled after the outlets in Hong Kong, serving a menu of wholesome and delicious Cantonese dishes made with only the freshest produce. We’re extremely excited to share with you 11 of our favourite picks from the restaurant.
Tsui Wah started off as a cafe with a simple menu which captured the very essence of Hong Kong’s local cuisine. They pride themselves on offering the best possible, be it coffee, tea, or French toast. Once you’ve settled down in your seat, begin with the Borscht with Thick Toast ($5.50), which sees a bowl of Borscht that is prepared daily using the original Tsui Wah recipe of more than 30 years. Unlike the traditional European cuisine which uses beetroot as its main ingredient, Tsui Wah’s version is prepared using mainly tomato, cabbage, onion, carrot, celery and beef chunks. The soup is stewed for about 3 long hours before being served hot. I half expected it to be sour but it was, in fact, pleasantly tangy. Count on the warm buttered toast to make this a pretty enjoyable starter!
Everything counts in the first impression. Tsui Wah did themselves proud with its King Prawns in XO sauce with Tossed Noodles ($11), which was an eye–pleaser. Each portion fetches you a plate of egg noodles, along with a house–made XO sauce that’s served separately. I urge you to add the XO sauce quickly after being served to prevent the noodles from clumping together. Mix well, and you get nicely separated noodles which are smooth and springy. While the XO sauce elevated the aroma of the egg noodles to give it a light taste, I was hoping for it to have a richer, umami flavour. We’ve saved the best for last, and that is the king prawns which add a luxurious touch to the noodles. Patrons would be excited to learn that all the prawns are meticulously sourced and selected to ensure quality and taste. True enough, the prawns were executed well – retaining a sweet and succulent mouthfeel.
One of my favourites was the Braised Abalone Rice with Diced Chicken and Kale ($14), which is prepared using the original recipe from Tsui Wah. I was blown away by the texture of the rice. Think a mix between Singapore mui fang and congee. I was surprised (in a good way) at the mushy texture of the rice. Coating every grain was a generous serving of abalone sauce, which added a savoury, albeit salty, edge to the entire dish. I am sure the dish would be extremely palatable if the saltiness is balanced out. Every bite comprised generous amount of diced chicken, which elevated the dish. The taste of the kale was barely discernible though. Available exclusively to Tsui Wah, we are sure that you are getting a true taste of Cantonese cuisine with this dish.
How can we forget to order ourselves the iconic beverage that represents Hong Kong’s food culture – an invigorating cup of Hong Kong Milk Tea (hot/$3.50, cold/$4)? Served in a preheated cup, the hot tea carries a mild and light flavour derived from premium tea leaves imported from Tsui Wah Hong Kong. The tea is brewed daily and kept up to 30 minutes to ensure optimal freshness and quality. Evaporated milk is also mixed in to give it added richness. You might want to add in your own sugar if you prefer a sweeter beverage, because the tea is served sugar–free. The Signature Crispy Bun with Condensed Milk ($4), which is Tsui Wah’s reinvention of a classic Hong Kong snack, really made my night. Each freshly baked bun is coated with a layer of butter and condensed milk. The irresistible treat is crisp yet sweet on the outside, and amazingly fluffy inside.
The Tsui Wah Signature Pork Chop Bun ($7.50), which comprises a juicy and thick slab of pork chop sandwiched in a wheat bun, is an excellent recommendation. It’s definitely your go–to choice if you’re craving Hong Kong staples. For it’s price point, the portion of the pork chop bun was measly. However, what it lacked in portion it made up for in taste. The homemade gravy gave the pork chop added zest, which kind of reminds us of those pork chop buns you can get from traditional cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong.
Unique to Tsui Wah’s impressive menu is the Kagoshima–style Braised Pork Cartilage with Tossed Instant Noodles ($9.50). Tsui Wah makes this dish by following a recipe created by a Japanese chef from Kagoshima, Japan. Diners can expect soft and tender stewed pork cartilage that is marinated in a mouthwatering sauce. Exclaim “oishi!” as you slurp up the delicious sauce and the springy instant noodles together. If it wasn’t for slightly saltiness, I would have gone for a couple more mouthfuls. Tsui Wah has also successfully taken this dish to the next level with the Kagoshima–style Pork Cartilage in Fish Soup with Mixian ($8.50), where you’ll find mixian cooked to a springy perfection that pairs perfectly with the melt–in–your–mouth pork cartilage.
Another excellent main course to indulge in is the Lamb Chop Curry with Steamed Rice ($29). The curry is prepared using a secret recipe that dates back to the 1960’s. Stewed for more than 6 hours each day, combined with over 30 types of herbs and spices, I was not surprised to find the curry exceptionally rich and velvety smooth. Diners would be excited to hear that Tsui Wah uses Australian fresh lamb rack, which tastes absolutely succulent. The taste was slightly inconsistent, with some parts nicely cooked while others parts gamey.
End off the experience at Tsui Wah with Savoury French Toast Bites Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream. Expect each cubed toast to be freshly cut upon ordering and prepared daily. Diners can also go for the Continental delights, vegetables, and more importantly, their traditional Hong Kong ala Carte dishes, rice and noodles, as well as desserts. Situated conveniently along the Singapore River, Tsui Wah promises a lovely dining experience.
翠華 Tsui Wah (Singapore)
Address: 3A River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #01-03, Singapore 179020.
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm daily.
This was an invited tasting.
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