I’ve heard and read a ton of things about Tim Ho Wan, created by Chef Mak Pui Gor, the former dimsum master at the Four Seasons Hotel’s Lung King Heen. The first branch seated around 24 people, opened in Mongkok, offering high quality dim sum at low prices. Its fame reached new heights when it received a Michelin one-star rating, making it the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong .
I had planned to eat there last August but got dissuaded by the notoriously wait times of up to 2 hours. I did not know then that they had opened a new and bigger branch in Sham Shui Po. Last December, I checked out the internet and discovered the birth of a 3rd branch in Hong Kong Station, right beside tony IFC mall.
Irene and I left Lauren with my brother in law and sped off to IFC Mall initially and when we inquired with their concierge was met with a curt reply that Tim Ho Wan was not in IFC Mall and was pointed towards the MRT Hong Kong Station.. They must have answered lots of inquiries about this.
So we finally found the place and found a queue already in front. Irene went and got us number 83, at that time they were serving number 58. We were given order sheets, available in English and Chinese, containing 31 items. We looked it over and started our marking our orders and after about 15 minutes, our number was called probably because it was just the 2 of us making it easier to seat us.
The place is crammed with people and you will not only be sharing tables with other people but literally rubbing elbows with them. I had to consciously tuck them in lest I accidentally hit my seat mates.
In just a couple of minutes, our orders came out, steam arising from the tower of dimsum on our little bit to table real estate. People expecting spacious dining and super efficient service should look elsewhere.
Mun Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce (HK425 or around P150). Irene picked this one since I don’t eat chicken feet. Her verdict was that the sauce was delicious but the chicken was a bit tough and she still preferred the ones she had at Shang Palace.
Pan Fried Turnip Cake (HK$14 or around P84). Another dish I seldom eat but I tried it anyway. I liked it, bits of meat in between julienned slices of radish molded into a cake. I think I’ll start eating this from now on.
Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce (HK$14 or around P84). This is my staple dimsum dish, I can’t resist ordering it. The flavor was nice but I’ve had better in Zen restaurant in Admiralty.
Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumpling (HK$22 or around P130). The skin was nice and translucent, offering a peek into the shrimps enveloped inside. The taste was very good but I would have wanted the shrimps to be crisper.
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (HK$18 or P105). This is Tim Ho Wan’s signature dish, Char Siew Bao, so we definitely had to order one. The dish arrived looking a deceptively demure with its light yellow outer shell sitting on a plastic plate. Irene and I each took a piece (be careful as its very soft) with our chopsticks and took a bite. Time seemed to have stopped for a moment as we tasted the crispy sweet outer layer first then the salty sweet BBQ pork injected itself. WOW, we both looked at each other and was flabbergasted. The buns tasted that good. This in itself warrants return visits to Tim Ho Wan, if you only order one dish here, order multiples of this.
Steamed Beef Ball with Bean Curd Skin (HK$14 or around P84). Around this time, I realized I ordered a little too much but what the heck, eat away. The firm beef balls were very tender inside with strong coriander flavor. the bean curd were also a joy to eat, soaking up the flavors from the steaming.
Steamed Egg Cake (HK$14 or around P84). This was soft and tasty, but I was honestly not very familiar with this one. Irene said it was very good.
Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake (HK$12 or around P72). A jelly like dessert with both Goji berry (commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine) and Osmanthus. A healthy end to the meal, goji berries are packed with antioxidents while Osmathus flower aids digestion. Not too sweet but a bit medicinal due to the ingredients, I’ve always had a liking to jellies.
Take out is available and is quite fast, less than 10 minutes, we know because we took out 3 orders for my brother in law.
Despite the hype, our expectations were met by Tim Ho Wan. There were some things that were not that exemplary but the Bake Pork Bun more than makes up for anything. We are already looking forward to our next baked pork bun from Tim Ho Wan, whenever that may be. I can finally say I’ve eaten at a Michelin starred restaurant considering they often cost a lot, the prices at Tim Ho Wan are very reasonable considering its cachet.
So if ever you find yourself in Hong Kong, I highly recommend a meal at Tim Ho Wan or at least take out the Baked Buns with BBQ Pork – Char Siew Bao.
Tim Ho WanConcession Hall 12A,
Level 1 MTR Hong Kong Station