The moment we heard about an inexpensive, Michelin Star rated Dim Sum restaurant, we knew we had to try it. Tim Ho Wan, which actually lost its Michelin Star this year, definitely did not dissapoint!
We had originally planned to go to Tim Ho Wan for dinner, as a friend advised they would be packed during the lunch hours. Tucked away in the lower level of the IFC mall in the MTR Central Station, Tim Ho Wan was not easy to find. By the time we found it, after walking in circles for an hour and a half, the lunch rush was nearing its end and we only had to wait in line for ten minutes. Even though there was a short wait, the restaurant was still very crowded. As people got up, seats were immediately filled and many of the tables were communal. As we waited to be seated, we were handed a pencil and a yellow card to place our order. We didn’t realize we were suppose to fill this out while we were waiting, so make sure you do before you get seated. The form we were given was in both english and Chinese, so we were able to check off what and how many of each dish we wanted to try.
The first item to arrive was Tim Ho Wan’s famous Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. As these pork buns are baked, rather than steamed, you get a light, sweet and crispy pastry surrounding a savory pocket of tender BBQ pork. While steamed pork buns tend to be a bit mushy, this baked pork bun was not at all. It was light and airy, with a light coat of sugar on top. The pork had a mild, sweet and light brown BBQ sauce that it had been cooked in. When you bite into it, there is an explosion of flavor due to the sweet bun and savory, tender pork .
Next we had the Steamed Rice Roll with Barley and Pigs Liver. It was not very flavorful, but a bit of soy sauce and chili oil helped to fix that. It seemed to be missing that classic liver taste I was expecting. The Steamed Rice Roll with Minced Beef was more flavorful.
The Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumpling was delicious. It was made with large pieces of fresh shrimp wrapped in a thin doughy skin. They were very flavorful for a dumpling and didn’t need any sauce. They were just the perfect size to fit a whole one into your mouth and enjoy, without having to worry about biting off smaller pieces and losing the insides.
Next, was the Steamed Rice with Chicken Feet and Spare Ribs. Yes, I said CHICKEN FEET! The chicken feet were surprisingly delicious. After watching the locals eat them, we dug in. Take a bite at the joint to separate a piece and suck the meat/skin/fat right off the bone. Spit the bone out right onto the table just like a local! The spare ribs were the same as the steamed spare ribs with with black bean sauce, so if your going to order this dish, skip on ordering the steamed spare ribs separately. The Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce were cut into bite sized pieces, so just pop a piece in your mouth, chew off the meat and spit the bone right out onto the table. The ribs were very flavorful and the meat came off the bone very easily. These spare ribs were the same ones as those that came with the chicken feet, so maybe just order one or the other (go with the chicken feet).
The Steamed Egg Cake was light and airy. It wasn’t really what we were expecting, and seemed kind of like a light Chinese version of corn bread. The flavor was similar to that of a bran muffin, but was much lighter in consistency. It was also on the sweeter side and might have been better eaten for dessert or breakfast.
The Deep Fried Dumpling with Pork was out of this world! It was filled with the same BBQ pork and sauce that filled the baked bun. The dumpling was fried to a perfect golden crisp, and was not oily like you would expect from a deep fried dumpling. The skin was more of the consistency of cake rather than the traditional dumpling skin. This allowed for the sauce to be absorbed a bit by the inner part of the skin, but still left the outside super crunchy.
Overall, this was a great meal that didn’t break the bank. All that food only came to $225 HKD, or about $30 USD. If theres a long line when you arrive, it is most definitely worth the wait, or you can try take out.
Be warned: Tim Ho Wan is cash only!
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