Tim Ho Wan – The Cheapest Michelin Starred Restaurant In The World

Tim Ho Wan has become another cult in the food scene and is dubbed the cheapest Michelin Starred experience in the world. It has 5 branches in Hong Kong and their international acclaim is growing with other openings around the globe now. So what is it famous for? Dim Sum which means “touch of the heart”, and boy is it good for the money. The one dish that seems to be a foodie’s cat nip are the pork buns, served oven fresh, with a crumbly sweet exterior and deeply flavoured BBQ pork. They are a masterstroke and are a must have – even for vegetarians. We visited their Sham Shui Po branch, which is located in an unassuming residential area.

We arrived for about 11am and it was already rammed. The system to get in is quite simple though, just grab a ticket at the front desk and wait for your number to be called. But don’t let any rude main landers push in front of you, remember, just sharpen your elbows!

Ordering couldn’t be simpler. 

The “glutinous rice dumpling” $27 (lor-may-gai) came first and it was a steaming, sticky lotus infused bundle of brilliance. We loved it and demolished it.  

Steamed lettuce with soy and oyster sauce was limp and generally non-descript. Ho-hum.  

Steamed chiu chow dumplings $13 were a masterstroke of translucent pastry with gorgeously seasoned filling. They are my go-to dim and you can lure me into a cage with them!

Steamed har-gau $27 were obviously fresh, the prawns were crunchy and sweet, all working well against the thin chewy dumpling skin. It’s the best way to have them!

The chicken feet with black bean sauce $17 were a triumph too and when they taste that good, you should have no shame in deboning the thing in your mouth. (Please keep those innuendo’s in your head!).

Deep fried beancurd skin filled with beef and taro $16 was a new concoction for us, it was as crispy-as-you-like, but a tad too oily. 

Pan fired coconut custard cake $17 were charred on the outside fluffy on the inside. A joy to eat for sure. 

Cheung-fun with beef $21, were piping hot and slithery, just like how they should be. The filling wasn’t shabby either. 

Deep fried rolls filled with chicken and chives $18 came with layers of crispy pastry but scant filling. They were tasty nonetheless.  

Steamed beancurd skin rolls filled with pork & vegetables $16 came in a pool viscous liquid, aromatic from oyster sauce and sesame oil. When done well, it’s one of my desert island dishes – they smash it out of the park here. 

Steamed pork balls with liver $27 is one of their specialities and when you eat it, you instantly know why. It was so freakin’ juicy and packed full of flavour.  

Steamed siu-mai $27 is dumpling royalty and is totally on song here. 

Steamed rice flour roll $20 was cooked with finesse and is one of my go to dishes when dim-summing. 

Prawn cheung fun $23 came with the same delectable translucent velvety pastry. The sweet prawns just popped when bitten into.  

We were treated to Osmanthus Jelly and not only is it an interesting palate cleanser but the 300 year old  recipe is steeped in history. It was invented Liu Jixiang in Xindu County during the Ming Dynasty times.  

And now for the piece de resistance – the baked bun with BBQ pork $20. Piping hot, crispy and desert-like in sweetness, it kinda makes sense to bring it at the end. But trust me, it’s the best pork bun that you can bless your mouth with and worth the flight over! 

The verdict:

When did I go? Nov 2016.
The damage: Expect to pay $120 per head (£12ish) per head with drinks.
The good: Starting with the obvious, it’s uncomfortably cheap! You manage a half decent lunch for this money in London. That aside, the dim sum here is sumptuous, a ridiculously good quality for the spend and makes my heart sing with affection every time I think of the place, let alone touch it. See what a did there? We didn’t really have a bad dish and not ordering those pork buns is a crime you wouldn’t be able to live with.
The bad: It didn’t earn Michelin Star for it’s decor, it’s no oil painting, but that’s besides the point. And be prepared to share table with a stranger.
Rating: 4/5
Would I go again? Yes
Address: Hong Kong, 9-11 Fuk Wing St, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong

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