How long is the queue at Tsui Wah Clarke Quay, the new Singapore outlet of the famous Hong Kong tea restaurant or “cha charn teng”? We dislike long queues as much as we like to try new places. We had seen photos of the long queues on weekends and so we thought that it would be safe to visit Tsui Wah at an off-peak time – lunch on a weekday when Clarke Quay is usually quite deserted. But it seems that Tsui Wah has great appeal even on a weekday. There was a medium length queue of about 20 people. We decided to give it a miss and had lunch at Liang Court. We returned after lunch for a small bite and to recce the queue situation for future visits.
The management at Tsui Wah Clarke Quay had thoughtfully prepared containers of ice cold water for customers while they wait for their turn. When we returned at around 2.15 pm, the queue for indoor dining had shortened to less than 10 people, but it was a queue that never ends. People turn up and join in dribs and drabs. The outdoor area was open and tables were available without waiting. Our estimate was that the queue for an indoor table at lunch time weekday at Tsui Wah Singapore was around 30 minutes and around 15 minutes in the mid-afternoon after lunch.
The air-conditioned dining area was the preferred area and was packed. The outdoor area was also available but there were hardly any takers. We did not see the logic of queuing outside for a table inside when we could just get a table outside straightaway. Not as cool but there is a direct view of the Singapore River.
Tsui Wah Clarke Quay Menu
Here are pictures of some portions of the Tsui Wah Clarke Quay Menu.
We only ordered a couple of snacks to munch on. The Borscht with Thick Toast ($5.50) was a bowl of soup with a piece of buttered toast. The toast was nicely toasted but remaining fluffy inside. Borscht is a type of soup popular in Eastern European countries. This one seemed like tomato soup with vegetables. We did not detect any meat taste in the soup but did come across some small pieces of meat. It was actually quite a pleasant dish.
We tried a cold vesrsion of the famous Tsui Wah milk tea ($4). The first impression was that it tasted like iced tea (teh peng) from our local coffeeshops. But we noticed that the taste of tea was stronger and distinct here. A more pricey and tasty version of our common teh peng.
We also tried the other famous dish – crispy bun with condensed milk ($4). The ones we were served did not look as attractive as the picture in the menu. There was no criss-cross condensed milk pattern. The buns had a sweet buttery taste which reminded me of the toast we used to make by placing slabs of butter on bread, then sprinkling sugar on top and popping it into the oven till the butter and sugar melts and blends.
Overall, it was an interesting experience at Tsui Wah Clarke Quay. We did not eat enough to form any conclusion about this new restaurant. But the items did taste interesting in that they were familiar yet presented in a slightly different way. It deserves another visit. Probably 3pm on a weekday might be the best time.
Tsui Wah Singapore Branch
Block A, #01-03 Clarke Quay
3 River Valley Road,
Tel: (65) 6250 9270
Mon, Tue, Thu, Sun: 11:00–01:30
Wed, Fri, Sat: 11:00–04:00
Nearby MRT Station: Fort Canning
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog