Anyone who frequently drive through the main road of Ayer Hitam town will have at least an inkling to Tang Chuan Kopitiam or bun shop. In fact, it is so famous amongst Singaporeans that they won’t blink an eye to cross the border for Tang Chuan’s big pork bun.
Most of the time, Tang Chuan will be so packed that we won’t even fit into its shop. We had tried many times to try their signature pork bun whenever we pass by Ayer Hitam, but I simply lacked the patience to wait.
This time, we’re in luck. We were on our way to Johor Bahru on a weekday and it was (surprisingly) a quiet morning for Tang Chuan. We even had the time to admire the photographs hung the wall. There were Singaporean celebrities and a food critic with curly long hair, mostly holding a thumbs-up and bearing broad smiles.
Other than pork buns, Tang Chuan has a few (just a few) dim sum on their menu so we ordered for some, just to make this trip even more worthwhile.
Loh Mai Gai or Glutinous Rice with Chicken tasted very normal. Actually, too normal to make any impression on us.
Now, I wished the Siu Mai was normal. It wasn’t and its pinkish solid hard meat wasn’t too pleasing to our mouths. It might sound like my taste-buds were nit-picking again, but the gamey pork taste is stronger than it needed to be.
The Tau Foo Pok with Minced Pork (bottom) is probably the best among the dim sums we ordered, thanks to the tau foo pok which balanced off the pork taste.
Tang Chuan’s signature Big Pork Bun fall far below our expectations. The gamey pork taste is even more distinct in the bun than the siu mai. As might be expected, my father-in-law removed the filings and munched solely on the bun skin. While I know taste is subjective, I can’t help but wonder how on earth anyone would love the buns.
As we were leaving, a group of Singaporean ladies arrived and started to order for the big pork buns in bulk. This left me wonder if they genuinely like Tang Chuan’s bun or were merely victims to the over-hyped portrayal of the food. Nonetheless, we left the shop without asking, but silently swore that we won’t be back again.
Er… if you really need to visit Tang Chuan, here is the address:
Kedai Kopi Tang Chuan (东泉包店)
Address: 763, Jalan Batu Pahat, Ayer Hitam, Johor
Estimated GPS: 1.917571,103.179409