Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tim Ho Won - Hong Kong

"You want to WHATTT???" was my first reaction when my partner (who normally does not wake before midday in HK) told me that he wishes to line up at 8am for this dim sim place. I was flabergasted. First, lining up at 8am for a shop which opens at 10am? Second, you want to wake up how early?!?!?!?!

Well, it never happened. Instead, we got to Tim Ho Won at 11am. We took a ticket and although we were warned by relatives that we might not be able to get a spot before 3pm, the lovely ticket lady said that just a half-hour wait was on the agenda.

So what's all the hype about Tim Ho Won that is making my sleepihead partner wanting to wake up early? Tim Ho Won is one of HK's one Michelin Star restaurants. In fact, it is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. They don't allow takeaway (as they are scared that once you take it away, the quality is less good and will reflect less well on their dim sims), and there's only about 20 odd seats inside.

Tim Ho Wan

Waiting outside, you see two different lots of people. You have the young people and the foreigners who are showing up because it's a world-recognised place to eat, and you have the older generation who eat there because that's what they have always done. Despite recent fame, they have not hyped up the prices, making it just as affordable as it always has been. The decor and the service probably hasn't been improved either though LOL.

At the end of the day, it's all about the food. Yum-cha places are seriously, ALL OVER HK. To beat the rest of the pack and to stand out above all other yum-cha places, you'd probably have to be pretty spectacular. To my amazement, there was just one "special" type of dim sim. The ...cha siu bao... the rest of the dishes were just you're average joe that you can get at all other places except like BETTER. Everything made fresh to order.

The baked BBQ pork bun was something quite special. Like a pineapple bun (Po Lo Bao) coating but uber flaky and fresh. The whole bun was like... "OMG what am I eating? I don't know but it's delicious!" The bbq pork inside was tasty and complemented the flaky softness of the bread perfectly. It was truely something! But I can see how this is one of those dishes that probably taste better when eaten right away (and not taken away).

baked BBQ pork bun - HK$12

The chicken glutinous rice was HUGEness. It looked normal, but inside, it tasted much more yummy than the normal ones. The rice was sticker and chewier and tasted super delicious. Inside, it was stuffed with heaps and heaps of chicken and chinese sausage filling. Mmm.

Chicken glutinous rice - HK$20

A pretty spectacular dumpling was the steamed catfish, celery and turnip dumpling. I love dumplings and I love turnip so the combination of both was excellent. It was subtly sweet, the outside skin was super thin yet held it's shape. Lots of filling and flavours exploding from inside - it was pretty amazing.

steamed catfish, celery and turnip dumpling - HK$12

The deep fried yuba shrimp roll was something my partner was pretty flabaghasted about. The tofu sheet was really deep fried crispiness. Although it was the same stuff as normal yum cha, it was definately on a different level altogether.

deep fried yuba shrimp roll - HK$16

That was the same story for most of the dim sims. Same stuff but on an entirely different calibre. Everything was fresh, ingredients were awesome and everything was steamed to order. Especially the steamed beefball with bean curd skin - it was sooooooooooooo nice. Tender and soft and whilst normal looking, it tasted anything but normal. I think I'm salivating just thinking about how awesomely yummy everything was.

steamed rice roll sutffed with BBQ pork - HK$15

steamed fresh shrimp dumplings - HK$18

steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce - HK$12

pan-fired turnip cake - HK$10

steamed pork and shrimp dumpling - HK$18

steamed spareribs with black bean sauce - HK$12

steamed beefball with bean curd skin - HK$12

In all, this place is amazing. Seemingly a simple, small, packed and cramped yum-cha place but with superbly fresh and delicious dim sims. I strongly recommend lining up early - or taking a ticket early. If you take a ticket and go for a walk and you miss your number when you get back, it's actually OK - you get put on a separate shorter list so as long as you come back before 3pm. Don't expect superb service, but just awesomely cheap and delicious food. All up for the 5 of us, it was around HK$200 (ie. less than AUD$30!!!)

Food - 9.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 9/10
Overall - 32/40

Tim Ho Wan
Shop 8, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street
Mong Kok, Kowloon
Tel: +852 2332 2896
open daily 10am - 10pm


mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Looks good indeed! I think I've read that the barbeque pork/pineapple bun hybrid is actually their signature dish.

OohLookBel said...

You ordered all the dishes I normally order at yum cha! But I bet Tim Ho Won's is 100% better than anything else :)

chocolatesuze said...

nuuuu now i want a bbq pork bun and its not even time for lunch!

bbsnoopy said...

yeah, the hybrid bbq pork bun was definately a winner. And all the other dishes were definately 100% better quality. Super cheap too (if super good quality yum-cha isn't enough to entice you).

Maria said...

How awesome.. a little dumpling joint to have one Michelin star! I'll have to remember this place should I ever get to HK!