Are Tuan Tuan’s Pork Buns Really Better than Tim Ho Wan’s?

November 15, 2019

When I bit into my first Tim Ho Wan pork bun a few summers ago in Hong Kong, I instantly regretted it for I knew that the sinful, Michelin-starred porcine bun would be a dish my heart would ache for back in Manila. But as it goes with matters of the heart, there is no stopping a person when he or she falls in love. It was like being in a long distance relationship with a once-a-year reunion where I would lavish the THW pork buns with my full and undivided attention, taking advantage of every moment to sink my teeth into its crisp, sweet exterior.


Now that Tim Ho Wan finally opened in Manila, I expressed my joy with a sigh of relief and an hour and half worth of line-up time at the Mega Fashion Hall branch. Was it worth the wait? Yes, definitely. But a little shy of a month ago, my Instagram feed started piling up with photos of what was to be THW’s Pork Bun rival—the pork buns from Tuan Tuan, a newcomer at the SM Mega Fashion Hall whose use of Black & White Milk—a signature Hong Kong staple—was more than enough to convince me that this could be the real deal. But it was the pork buns I was really after.


You get three buns for PHP 128, and they are served with the crumbly surface, slightly golden and exhaling its final, heated breaths from the oven. It is tempting to demolish at an instant, but take your time—this is something worth relishing down to the last, meager crumb.


It’s usually the fillings of a bun or a sandwich that become the talk of town, but in this case, it is the reverse. Tuan Tuan’s salty-sweet pork filling is predictable, but the bun—that fragile, delicious bun—is worth singing praises and writing sonnets about. It deflates upon the first bite, but it has a unique chewy texture that hints on mochi and secures the pork filling tightly inside its hollowed little cave. It is so addicting, and each fleck of the sugary crumble that does not find its way to your mouth is heartbreak. Though the pork could use a bit more sauce, every good thing about the bun makes up for any loose ends. These buns are so damn good, I might’ve just found my new favorite.

Have you tried Tuan Tuan’s Pork Buns? How do you find them in comparison with Tim Ho Wan’s? Where’s your favorite restaurant to get pork buns? Tell us your thoughts with a comment below.

The author of this article did not accept any form of cash advertising, invitation, sponsorship or payment. It was paid for by the author or, and the views represented are purely the writer’s own.

Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie

Address: 3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas

Mikka Wee Mikka Wee

Mikka Wee is former editor of and was part of the team until she got whisked away to Singapore in 2016 where she worked in advertising and eventually found herself back in the food industry. She currently does marketing work for two popular Singaporean dessert brands and is a weekly columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s lifestyle brand, She has always been crazy about travel, food, and her dog Rocket.

16 comments in this post SHOW

16 responses to “Are Tuan Tuan’s Pork Buns Really Better than Tim Ho Wan’s?”

  1. Edhil says:

    Hi Mikka, I find Tuan Tuan’s buns better than Tim Ho Wan’s (excuse for Tim Ho Wan’s fans). I love the crust, the texture, and of course the price. 🙂 We frequent SM Megamall as it is just across the office and I have moved on with THW’s buns in favor of TT’s. 🙂

  2. Pepper Reader says:

    Ohhh! Excited to try! Thanks for sharing this. Milk Tea + Crusty Soft pork buns = must try combo!

  3. sarah says:

    and off i go

  4. Volts Sanchez says:

    How am I supposed to lose weight with ALL THIS DELICIOUS FOOD?

  5. Adrian De Leon says:

    No wonder they have long lines too. Their queue isn’t quite as insane as their neighbor Ippudo, but it’s nothing to scoff at (and still shorter than THW’s). Can’t wait to try their pork buns.

    Oh, and I also heard that their signature halibut noodle soup can go toe to toe with some of the better ramen bowls in the city. 🙂

  6. Albert-Jan Santillana says:

    My wife loves THW which I find too sweet for my taste. I love Tuan Tuan’s more. The sauce of the pork BBQ is just the way I like it.

  7. wanderingtribe says:

    love tuan tuan’s more now. shorter queue and you can have them to go. not like thw’s where they don’t allow you to order takeaways.

    • mike says:

      I think THW allows it now. When their Glorietta branch opened we took home 6 boxes after we finished eating there.

      Ps – I don’t think THW was able to retain the Michelin star since 2012 or 2013. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  8. Anna says:

    I just tried eating at Tuan Tuan for dinner and wow, their pork buns are to die for! And OMG, their noodles left me speechless! It’s like a cross of laksa and ramen, I kid you not. (You can even add mini xiaolongbaos as toppings). Will definitely come back!!

    • Anna says:

      And oh, I also wanted to try their coffee but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sleep so I ended up ordering their cold milk. I was expecting it to taste like a normal fresh milk (like Harvey Fresh or something) but theirs was a bit thick and sweet – perfect if you’ll be ordering the spicy Szechuan noodle base.

  9. mike says:

    Hello, Mikka. I have to disagree with your criteria for judging the goodness of Tuan Tuan’s cha siu pao. It is the filling that makes or breaks it. The exterior is secondary to the taste of the filling. I like TT’s because it is less sweet and is meatier. Although both are great (including THW), I have to say they both are inferior to several cha siu pao’s I have tasted in little known eateries in HK. These lesser known ones are a well-kept secret among HK’ers and have not been featured in English blogs. 🙂

  10. boboy go says:

    It’s better than THW’s buns. Not too sweet, just right.

  11. Nate Nate says:

    their coffee reminds me of my grandma’s blend of instant coffee and condensed milk… not sure if hardcore Starbucks coffee drinkers will like it…

  12. D says:

    No they’re not. This review really makes me doubt your integrity or competence

    • Benjamin Canapi says:

      Just because you don’t agree with a review does not give you the right to question the “integrity or competence” of the writer. Seriously, what’s wrong with you?!?

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