“It’s got to be down here” “but this isn’t the IFC mall” “the man definitely said down the third escalator and to the right didn’t he?”. Finding Tim Ho Wan was undoubtedly a challenge. It would appear that we are not alone as tourists in search of some of Hong Kong’s best dim sum have taken to review sites in frustration at the task of finding the restaurant. The best part is that technically it’s not even in the IFC mall itself! Head down the escalators in the direction of central metro station from within the IFC mall and there are a small collection of restaurants just before the ticket barriers. One of which is Tim Ho Wan.
Normally there would be a queue of people eagerly waiting for a seat at this branch of the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant where at the flagship site in Mong Kok people would wait in line for up to three hours. Madness. Thankfully we didn’t even top three seconds as we were shown to a large communal table to nestle in between our new neighbours. It’s very snug at Tim Ho Wan so if you’re hoping for a candlelit dim sum experience for that special occasion this ain’t it.
The menu is like a betting slip, choices listed in both Chinese and English complete with a pencil for marking off what takes your fancy. Tim Ho Wan is famous for pork buns, not the steamed type you find at most dim sum places, these bad boys are baked. Near enough everyone who comes here will include pork buns on their order and deciding not to buck the trend we did just that along with some siu mai pork and prawn dumplings and char siu pork rice noodle rolls.
As soon as the order went away our bill arrived and the figure was quite amazing. Just $107 HKD (£10.70) inclusive of two soft drinks. It’s at this point that they could miss the filling out of the bun and I feel that would still be value for money. Fortunately the buns were filled and came in a set of three with the idea possibly being that you fight over the last one.
These baked buns were delicious, really light with a sugar crust and a slightly sweet pork filling. Almost a take on a filled pineapple bun, native of course to Hong Kong.The noodle rolls that followed were really good as well with a slightly smokier taste of barbecue pork. Siu Mai dumplings were deceptively packed with prawn giving a meaty texture and flavour burst that doesn’t seem possible through the process of steaming.
Our close quarter seating arrangements though were a bit of an irritation. Trying to pick up slippery food with chopsticks while sat on a primary school chair was a challenge in itself but to do it in a confined space upped the ante. The lingering threat of a chopstick in the eye was very real throughout.
Thankfully the meal ended quickly due to the food being delicious and the need to get out from the table while no one sat behind me. The bill in hand we approached a rather miserable cashier who threw my change back at me as if I was a fountain in a shopping centre.
Still another Michelin star place done and I was beginning to suss the way Michelin rate their places in Hong Kong. It’s definitely all about the food as Tim Ho Wan’s unquestionably is right up there with the best at what they do. The service also, up until the cashier, was decent and friendly with value for money a big plus. The conditions however leave a lot to be desired. If you wish to train in advance of a meal here try locking yourself in a broom cupboard with your dinner and a pair of chopsticks for company. Tim Ho Wan might just be the best dim sum in Hong Kong, provided you can find it that is…
Opening Hours: Daily 9am-9pm