Restaurants & Bars

'Tim Ho Wan' - World's Cheapest Michelin 1*, often mentioned but never reviewed?!

Charles Yu | Mar 17, 201604:29 PM     2

Whenever fellow hounds are heading Hong Kong way and ask for Cantonese Dim Sum recommendations, the name 'Tim Ho Wan' almost always came up. Attached to the name was their awesome tasting ' Freshly baked BBQ Pork buns '....and sadly, nothing else?! For those who actually know about their Dim Sum, rather than just claiming to be an expert, there are actually more to that tiny menu than meet the eyes!

The timely arrival of fellow Austrian hound 'Nilescable' and the presence of myself and my wife in Hong Kong at the same time, allowed us the opportunity to have an early breakfast Dim Sum chowmeet at this iconic place. It also allowed me to gather enough updated information to make a decent comprehensive review, if not at least posting of some enticing food photos. Since surprisingly, a Google search on this board turned out zero review for this long established foodie favorite?!

It was my wife's first time eating at this 'World's Cheapest Michelin 1*'. The experience was so profound, she cannot stop raving about the unbelievable quality, deliciousness and hole-in-the-wall pricing. Seldom does she enjoy every single dish I order! Ha!

As for me, I noticed something subtle and different. Due to my gall bladder removal operation a few years ago, I am slightly susceptible and sensitive to most glutinous and greasy Dim Sum products. My Toronto Dim Sum experiences usually ended up with mild stomach upset and indigestion. However, this THW experience was totally negative. May be a reflection of finer quality ingredients used by them and less greasy preparation methods?

We arrived 15 minutes after their shop opened and noticed there was already a long line-up outside and the place was packed inside. We were seated about half an hour later! Browsing around the front of house made my wife and I almost felt at home in Toronto because there were at least 4 tables of westerners seated! The magical influence of the little red book...or may be 'Chowhound'? :D!

As for the delicious food, for that money, no way anyone can find an excuse to complain about them!

The aforementioned, now world famous, freshly baked BBQ Pork buns were packed with sweet, sticky, generous and juicy filling. Indeed worthy of being called ' #1 bun under the sky '! However, there were also other noteworthy and nicely executed dishes on the menu. For one, the tasty 'Lotus root pork pattie' with its amazing crunchy, crispy and chewy textural interplay. The gossamer thin but chewy ductile skin, Har Gow. Assembled together with at least 11 folds, the delicate morsels contained a near perfectly seasoned, crunchy and juicy prawn filling. Can easily rub shoulders with their 2* competitors like Ming Court or Yan Toh Heen. Steamed protein dishes like Pork spareribs with black beans or Chicken feet with Abalone sauce were oozing with umami deliciousness and were chopsticks tender. Other dumpling creations, be they steamed or fried, were equally appealing. Lastly, the dessert Gogi berries and Osmanthus jello can easily bested any Michelin star ' Shanghainese' establishments. Same can be said about the light and fluffy, aromatic but not-too-sweet ' Ma Lai ' sponge cake.

All in all, a wonderful, memorable and ULTRA-CHEAP chow-experience by any standard!

Too busy chatting and forgot to take photo. This lightly packed minced pork pattie with cuttle fish and water chestnut on rice was surprisingly delicious.

Both steamed rice roll ( prawns & yellowing chives and BBQ pork ) were composed of velvety smooth and not-too-thick wrapper.

Ah! The Dim Sum measuring reference yard-stick - Prawn dumpling 'Har Gow'.

Near perfection!

Fried minced meat dumpling. Greaseless and chewy. Very enjoyable.

Super tender and flavorful chicken feet. My wife's favorite!

Steamed stuffed eggplant with minced prawns

The surprise dish of the meal. This lotus root pancake was so good! Nicely loosely packed, this is nothing like those densely packed patties one normally finds in North America.

Crispy pan fried Turnip cake

Simple but tasty Chow Mien with bean sprouts and soya sauce.

The reason why 'everyone' comes visit this place. The 'world famous' #1 bun under the sky!

So generous with their yummy and juicy filling!

I must have at least 5-6 versions of this dessert in Hong Kong. This ranked the best tasting and obviously the cheapest!

Lovely, light, fluffy and aromatic. I'm so tempted to ' fusion' it and eat it with fresh cream and strawberries! Ha!

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