The Michelin Chase in Hong Kong
Dim sum is to Hong Kong as chilli crab is to Singapore. I love dim sum so much that I had it almost every day while travelling in Hong Kong. In case you’re wondering, dim sum (點心) is the Cantonese term for light snack, and Hong Kong people usually have it at breakfast or in the afternoon. It is something you can’t miss if you visit Hong Kong, and since you’ve got to try it, why not opt for the best?
Tim Ho Wan – Best Dim Sum in Hong Kong
Tim Ho Wan (添好運點心專門店), a small business situated in Mong Kok, is definitely not easy to locate. It’s a few streets off the main road, and takes a fair bit of walking from the nearest MTR station. All that trouble to get there is definitely worth it, for it is the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant. The popular eatery earned its one-star reputation serving fresh and delicious dim sum to a never-ending queue of customers.
There is so much hype about Tim Ho Wan and I was fairly surprised to find the shop thronged with Singaporeans and foreigners rather than local people. Waiting times can get terribly long and it is advisable to go early to get a seat. My friends and I were lucky to get our places within an hour of waiting, but the wait time often stretches to a few hours!
Negativities aside, the dim sum served is fantastic! A must-try item on their menu is the char siew bao (BBQ pork buns / 酥皮焗叉燒包). Unlike typical steamed white buns you usually see, Tim Ho Wan’s char siew baos are fried to perfection with a crispy golden outer crust. The bun on the inside is soft and chewy, and tastes heavenly with the sweet char siew filling. Best consumed when fresh and warm!
My other favourite is the fried radish cake (煎臘味蘿白糕), special because of its texture. The radish was shredded into strips before frying. Upon biting into the radish cake, it falls apart into semi-crispy strips of radishes… yummy!
Chee cheong fun (rice noodle roll / 腸粉) is another typical dim sum dish. We had pig’s intestines chee cheong fun (黃沙豬潤腸), something you normally don’t see in dim sum restaurants. Of course, we also tried the more common shrimp chee cheong fun (韭黃鮮蝦腸) and char siew chee cheong fun (蜜味叉燒腸), all of which were so tasty, especially when paired with soy sauce!
Most of the other dim sum dishes we ordered were of very good standard, definitely better than the average fare I’ve tried elsewhere. I’d certainly recommend these…
Do not expect to see a posh restaurant glamorously decorated, do not expect top-notched customer service, and do not expect a spacious and comfortable dining experience, as seats are packed closely together within that tiny shop space. But the dim sum at Tim Ho Wan more than makes up for the lack of décor, the curt service, and the squeeze. My friends and I ordered an overwhelming 25 sets of dishes and the total bill came up to HKD 374, which approximates to SGD 15 per person – extreme value for money!!!
How to Get There
Tim Ho Wan
2-8 Kwong Wah Street
Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Take the MTR to either Yau Ma Tei (油麻地) station or Mong Kok (旺角) station and walk. Get a map and the walking is easy.
Tim Ho Wan opens at 10am, try to be there at 9am, or if possible even earlier to get a seat. It closes at 11pm but sometime they stop issuing tickets at around 8.30pm so that they can close on time.
[Update] In 2013, the original restaurant at Mongkok was relocated to Olympian City (Nearest MTR: Olympic).
Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2
18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Tel: +852 2332-2896