Some of my friends who have been to Hong Kong before have told me about this Michelin-starred Yum Cha restaurant. Word has it that it is extremely cheap, delicious and notoriously hard to get a seat at. One person allegedly lined up at 7am to get a table at 11am…I find that story a bit ridiculous to believe but nevertheless it was good enough for me to go check it out.
There are currently three Tim Ho Wan branches; today I visit the original one at Mong Kok in a group of four for Yum Cha brunch. We arrive at 10:30am and already there is a line, so we grab a ticket number and head off for a walk before returning to a table at 12pm. Yikes, 1.5 hour wait to kick start my Monday morning.
Congee with dry oyster and sea moss – HKD$16
The restaurant is tiny seating about 30 people…squished into a space which should really only seat 20. Regardless, I am so excited and starving that I disregard the fact that I am crammed into the corner. We start the meal with congee and normally I wouldn’t order congee but the flavours are amazing in this one. The congee has absorbed the oyster and sea moss flavours and it’s similar to a seafood noodle flavour.
Baked BBQ Pork Bun - HKD$15
Our next dish is the BBQ pork bun. BEST PORK BUN I HAVE EVER TASTED. The exterior consists of a baked, crumbly pastry with delicious bbq pork inside. I think that baked shell is what makes it so delicious compared to BBQ pork buns which are usually baked (without a crumbly pastry) or steamed. It is so delicious that we order a second round after the first one is demolished quickly.
Steamed shrimp dumplings – HKD$22
Steamed dumpling in Chiu Chow style - HKD$10
Steamed pork dumpling with shrimp - HKD$22
Steamed beef ball with bean curd skin - HKD$14
Following this comes a round of dim sims. This includes steamed shrimp dumplings, Chiu Chow dumpling, pork dumplings with shrimp and beef balls with bean curd skin. If you’ve been to Yum Cha before, these dim sims are pretty standard and hard to fault. Each one is cooked well, encased with a wrapping (usually a rice paper) and steamed to perfection.
BBQ pork rice paper roll - HKD$16
Pan-fried turnip cake - HKD$12
Glutinous chicken rice - HKD$22
Deep fried dumpling filled with meat - HKD$12
After this, we’re looking at our bill and wondering if we should order food. “It’s currently sitting at <AUD$5 per person” I say. Immediately the group consensus is to order more food! What good value! And so we continue with a steamed BBQ pork rice paper roll, pan-fried turnip cake, glutinous chicken rice and a deep fried dumpling filled with meat. The rice paper roll is probably the worst dish of the meal; it’s a bit bland and seems to need more salt. Too bad the BBQ pork here doesn’t live up to its equivalent baked bun. Fortunately, the rest of the dishes are all delicious. The turnip cake is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the chicken rice is full of fillings and is hot and flavourful, and the fried dumpling is crispy on the outside with the glutinous shell providing a chewy layer to accompany the meaty fillings.
Steamed egg cake - HKD$12
To finish it all up, we end with a dessert of steamed egg cake. This isn’t a dish that I am too familiar with, as I haven’t eaten this before. It is a steamed cake that is very soft to touch with some sweet tones embedded in. It’s a very gentle dessert that isn’t too overwhelming and helps cleanse the palate.
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with this restaurant. Our bill sits at a grand total of HKD$212 (AUD$6.65 per person) which I think is amazing value for money. This is one Michelin-starred experience I will not forget, and it delivers the right flavours to make it the best Yum Cha I have ever had. If you go, make sure to get the droolworthy baked BBQ pork buns and be prepared to do some shopping during the wait for a table!
Tim Ho Wan
Flat 8, Ground Floor, Phase 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2-20 Kwong Wa St
Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Ph: 2332 2896