Tim Ho Wan

tim ho wan's famous cha siu bao

Dear fellow tasters,

On the third day in Hong Kong, my friend suggested that we tried a one Michelin-starred dim sum place, called Tim Ho Wan.  Wow, of course I was thrilled and curious about it.  I suppose this would be my first time going to a Michelin-starred restaurant.  So, using google map to traverse the streets of Mong Kok, we managed to find the restaurant, simply by noticing the queue forming outside the shop.

There was a numbering system in place and we had to get a number and waited for our number to be called to get inside.  When we arrived around noon, the current number was 40 something and we got number 74, which roughly translated to around two hours of waiting.  There was an order card to to choose what we wanted from the menu but filling the card only took ten minutes or so.  The rest of the time, we waited outside the shop, went to the market nearby and browsed around the complex.

When 74 finally got called, we were very excited because we already felt hungry and tired from all the waiting.  Inside, the place looked just like a regular dim sum shop, not really spacious, a bit cramped, nothing fancy.  Thankfully, it was nicely air-conditioned.  Then, it was more waiting for the food because apparently the dim sum was made fresh upon order.

What appeared first was Tim Ho Wan’s signature dim sum, the baked barbecued pork bun (cha siu bao), which didn’t last long on the plate.  Some people say this bun is one of the reasons they received the Michelin star and sure it lived up to its reputation.  The outer crust was sweet and crispy while the soft inside mingled perfectly with the flavorsome cha siu.  A scrumptious delight.

The next item served was the vermicelli roll stuffed with beef served with soy sauce which tasted pretty good, followed by the glutinous rice dumpling (lo mai gai).  The lo mai gai was huge in portion and easily filled the three of us.  The pork, mushroom, and Chinese sausage (lap cheong) fillings were very tasty.

Then came the classic steamed fresh shrimp dumpling (har gau).  We ordered two baskets of these and were not disappointed.  The translucent skin was delicately thin and the generous shrimps inside tasted fresh, sweet and crunchy.  Meanwhile, I also finished a portion of steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce all by myself because my friends are not really a fan of this.  The chicken feet didn’t really stand out but still quite enjoyable.

The last batches of our orders that appeared were the stuffed green pepper, steamed beef ball with bean curd skin, and steamed pork dumpling with shrimp (siu mai).  The first two were quite tasty though not really memorable.  The stuffed green pepper was a bit oily while the beef ball had a nice coriander flavor in it.  However, the siu mai was definitely a winner.  Instead of minced finely, the pork chunk and shrimp in the dumpling were still intact, creating a juicy and textured bite with delectable taste.

Probably the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan did deliver delicious dim sums.  And guess what, the bill only came to less than HKD 200 for three.  The long queue was something to expect with all the Michelin hype and publicity about it.  It was bearable but if I were to go back there, I would do that earlier in the morning or late in the afternoon when it’s less busy.

Enjoy eating your dim sum!

The taster’s notes:
Favorite dish – char siu bao, lo mai gai, har gau, siu mai
What to try next time – more char siu bao and other items on the menu
Food rating  4 star
Price rating $
Ambiance rating  2 star
Service rating  2 star
Damage less than 65 HKD/pax

Tim Ho Wan
2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 23322896

2 responses to “Tim Ho Wan

  1. Wow, from the exterior I wouldn’t think of it as a Michelin star resto. Finally taste prevails over appearance, ga kaya banyak bgt resto di Jakarte. Tempat” kaya gini nih yang timeless. Ngiler siomaynya, if its as you described, ‘still intact’. YUM!

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