Hong Kong: Tim Ho Wan 添好運 (*)

8 Jun

I’m not sure if this place needs any further introduction. But since this is probably my favourite Dim Sum place in Hong Kong so far – and I’ve tried a few of the popular ones – here goes.

Tim Ho Wan is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant (awarded 1*) in the world despite its less than present ambience and service. The owner Pui Gor was a previous chef of Lung King Heen of Four Seasons and believed that good quality Dim Sum should be made affordable for the masses – hear, hear! We arrived at 940am feeling smug with ourselves for coming before opening hours (10am), but a long queue was already present – we would definitely be in the second or third seating (each is about 20 pax).

A mad mob forms around the wait staff who gives out/calls for queue numbers. We were in the third seating and given a time to report later. When we came back, we had to wait again and by the time we went in we probably waited for almost 2 hours! Needless to say, we were famished and a little grumpy (you have been warned). We also had to share a table with another couple (from Singapore too).

Spot the star! While I’m not a big fan of the Michelin guide, I think that by including the very affordable and local Tim Ho Wan is symbolic and a move in the right direction. Wonder if our hawker stalls would make it on the list when Michelin comes to Singapore ;)

The menu/order chit. While many complain that it’s limited, almost all the usual Dim Sum items are there so I’m not sure what the fuss is. Please note that some of the English translations don’t really make sense though.

We started with a bowl of Congee with Lean Meat and Preserved Egg. I thought it was a little watery, but flavourful.

My sisters-in-law love their veggies so this was Steamed Spinach Dumplings with Garlic.

I thought the Glutinous Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf was quite tasty.

I quite liked the Steamed Rice Roll with Shrimp as the rice roll was thin and moist, and the prawns sweet and crunchy.

This is probably their signature dish, the Baked BBQ Pork Buns. It was AWESOME. I don’t normally eat Char Siew Baos, but I was a convert instantly. All Char Siew Baos should be made like that!

The pastry was so buttery and fragrant, and the honeyed char siew filling so sweet and delicious. Perfect.

The Pan Fried Turnip Cake was good too! Gee, could this place really deserves its star?

I’ve had many better Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce in Singapore, but this was decent too.

The Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (Siew Mai) was moist and tasted quite porky. Quite good since a lot of places do bad Siew Mai. No pictures of the Steamed Shrimp Duplings (Har Gao) which was better than average and had quite a thin skin, but wasn’t awesome.

This looks like brains doesn’t it? :P Supposedly another of its signature dishes, Steamed Beef Balls with Orange Peel and Beancurd Skin. I thought it was quite interesting and the doneness of the beef was just nice.

And we ended with the Osmanthus Jelly with Goji Berries. Hands down my favourite Chinese dessert ever. I could eat this everyday as I love the subtlety and fragrance of osmanthus (something like jasmine). The flavours in this one was quite prominent – they must have infused a lot of osmanthus flavour as otherwise you probably can’t taste anything.

When the bill came, we were surprised that it cost us only about 7 SGD per person (there were 4 of us) for all the above dishes! Yes granted that the HKD is quite weak against the SGD now, but that’s still insanely cheap and the quality was well worth at least 4x the cost in my books. Every dish was at least above average and in fact mostly good. While it may not the best Dim Sum in HK (though I’m not sure what is), but for the affordable price it’s definitely the best option and you won’t walk away feeling disappointed. Granted that you don’t have ridiculously high expectations just because it’s 1*. Must trys include the baked char siew bao and the jelly. If you are hardcore enough, I would recommend queueing up from about 9am to get the 1st seating; and if you can’t be bothered – you can also do takeaway and skip the wait.

Price: $ (<10 SGD per pax)
Location: Shop 8, Taui Yuen Mansion Phase 2, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok, Kowloon. There are 2 more locations in Sham Shui Po and IFC Central.
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm
Tel: +852 2332 2896

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