Tim Ho Wan is the cheapest restaurant in Hong Kong with a Michelin star. And it’s precisely for this reason that Tim Ho Wan was definitely on our checklist of Hong Kong must-do’s.
After visiting the Apple Store in IFC Mall in Central in the morning, we proceeded right away to Sham Shui Po, which was certainly a quiet neighborhood compared to the bustle of Mong Kok.
|Sham Shui Po neighborhood and the first sign of Tim Ho Wan|
Tim Ho Wan is located almost at the end of Fuk Wing Street. The restaurant doesn’t have any English signs and we were only alerted that we were already in Tim Ho Wan because we researched in advance its distinct green signage, plus the fact that there were clusters of people waiting to get a table. Unmistakably, we have reached the famed Tim Ho Wan.
We were there at around past 11 on that Sunday morning and waited about 15 minutes to get a table, which was actually a short time compared to the usual waiting time of bloggers we have read about. Our waiting time was just enough time for us to order and take pictures.
|Waiting in line at Tim Ho Wan’s Sham Shui Po branch|
After getting a number, we immediately asked for a copy of the menu in English, and proceeded to tick off the dimsum items that we wanted. As soon as our table number was called, we had to give to the receptionist our order slip so we didn’t lose time in picking our order. (Click to enlarge menu)
If you haven’t researched in advance on what to order, the placemat at the table shows pictures of their bestsellers and you can just point at the pictures to the server.
As expected, the tables were really tiny. And we had to sit in super close proximity to the couple beside us.
The restaurant was pretty full even at that pre-lunch hour. It was a really good idea to be there for an early lunch.
We were also allowed to bring in and consume drinks from outside (bought at a nearby 7-Eleven).
We ordered just enough for the two of us and the food were all good. But of course, there were standouts. And the must-order specialty item of Tim Ho Wan is without a doubt the char siu bao (HK$14), which are labeled “baked bun with BBQ pork” in the menu.
Unlike the familiar siopao (steamed buns) here in the Philippines, the char siu bao are baked and the buns have a slight sweetness which goes perfectly well with the savory taste of the barbecue pork filling. They were served to us super hot which only enhanced the taste of the buns. They were super yummy! I would go back to Hong Kong in a heart beat just to be able to eat Tim Ho Wan’s char siu bao again.
We also ordered a variety of steamed dimsum, including crystal dumplings or “steamed dumpling in chiu chow style” (HK$10), steamed spareribs with black bean sauce (HK$12), and steamed pork dumpling (HK$20). These were no ordinary dumplings. While they served our orders quickly, everything was still served steaming hot and super fresh. It was dimsum taken to a higher level, really.
Another specialty is the “glue rice dumpling”(HK$20) or is actually glutinous rice with chicken and mushrooms wrapped in lotus leaf. This was very good too.
We also ordered the steamed beef ball with bean curd skin (HK$12) and fried noodle with soya sauce (HK$12)–not pictured since our table probably filled up at this point and I no longer had any attention to taking pictures!
Actually, we ordered more than enough and yet the food was so good that we were able to finish everything! And we topped off everything with double boiled red dates (HK$12) for dessert.
All in all, we spent a total of about HK$129 (or about less than P800), which was really a steal, considering that everything tasted great and let’s not forget, this restaurant has a Michelin star!
If you have just a few days in Hong Kong and are asking which dimsum place to go to, I can definitely say that Tim Ho Wan should be on top of your list. A Michelin star, hot and great-tasting food, and of course, at super cheap prices—how can this be not one of your must-dos?
The only question that I think one needs to answer is, “which Tim Ho wan branch?” The original branch in Mong Kok is supposedly the most authentic and some say the food there is better, but it comes with the price of super long queues (some say up to 2 hours!). On the other hand, the newest branch that opened is in the MTR’s Hong Kong station, which also has long lines but since it’s located in mall-like surroundings, you won’t get the authentic ambiance of a Hong Kong dimsum place. Given all of the above, I would recommend going to the Sham Shui Po branch, which is the perfect balance between the other two branches. The Sham Shui Po branch is open from 10 AM to 10 PM.