Tian Tian Plus
Time Out says
A fixture for more than 30 years in Singapore’s Maxwell Food Centre, Tian Tian is regarded as one of the best chicken rice destinations in the Lion City. As well as boasting a loyal local following, the humble stall also has plenty of admirers outside of Singapore, evident by the crowds here in Hong Kong that have flocked to Tian Tian’s first-ever venture outside its home turf.
Located in Causeway Bay, the 60-seater restaurant has been aptly branded Tian Tian Plus, since it features signature items from Tian Tian and three other Michelin-recommended food stalls from Singapore, including The 50s, Lao Jie Fang and A Noodle Story. With its smooth marble tabletops and decorative accents in polished blacks and purples, the outlet in Fashion Walk also offers a more elevated dining experience than the hawker centre stylings of Tian Tian’s original location.
But does a fancy location translate to a positive dining experience? The answer is in the signature Tian Tian Hainanese chicken. The regular portion ($148) includes thick, deboned cuts from the breast and thigh. The meat is tender and succulent but, disappointingly, the skin lacks firmness. Fortunately, this is made up for by the excellent homemade condiments, including a thick and sweet dark soy sauce, minced ginger spiked with fragrant poultry oil, and a chili sauce that packs plenty of heat.
Chicken aside, Tian Tian Plus also offers a slew of dishes exclusive to Hong Kong. These are hit-and-miss. Marinated shrimps in Chinese yellow wine ($78), for example, are large and juicy, and the alcohol imbues them with a lovely, tannic quality. On the other hand, jellyfish head with cucumber in scallion oil ($68) is less successful and is over-seasoned to a fault. On the staff’s recommendation, we also try the sweet and sour pork ($88), which is served over dry ice for dramatic effect. On top of the visuals, the dish delivers on taste, featuring pieces of tender and evenly marbled pork shoulder enveloped in a brightly flavoured sauce and coating.
While we’re glad to have a Tian Tian in our own backyard, the frenzy surrounding the place is currently overwhelming. By the time we finish our meal, there are more than 60 people still waiting for a table. We suggest waiting until the hype dies down so that you can savour the premium experience that the restaurant has to offer.