I am not a morning person. But arriving in Hong Kong at 5am had its advantages. After dropping off our luggage at the hotel and prowling the streets like vagrants, we got in the queue for Tim Ho Wan (which means “to add good luck” in Cantonese) at 9:30am, Hong Kong’s Michelin Star dim sum. As you can see, there was already a pretty sizeable posse forming outside. Making polite conversation with each other until the 10am opening time was excruciating. JUST LET US IN.
About 10 minutes before opening time we were handed little order forms by a woman who looked upon the lot of us in serious disdain. Excitement was rising.
At 10am on the dot the doors were opened and since we had arrived so early we immediately got seated. Jostling with locals to find a table we were hustled into a window seat and our pink order slip taken. I’ve read some reviews that have mentioned the brusque manner of the staff but haven’t they ever eaten in a real Chinese restaurant? I didn’t find it that unusual. I mean if I want to be mollycoddled, I’ll go to Nandos.
One of their signature dishes, the Baked Buns with BBQ Pork came out first. This is how addictions are born. OMG. Perfectly flaky pastry crust that tasted incredibly light and airy. The pork was the classic char siu so was pretty sweet. By far my favourite dish.
Another signature dish, the Pan-Fried Turnip Cake was unlike every turnip cake I’ve ever eaten, which is a sizeable amount. The texture again was light, flaky and not at all stodgy – it melted in your mouth. Served with a chilli sauce.
Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver was another famed specialty that H really enjoyed. I’m no fan of liver so just had one tiny bite. The consensus – not too “livery” and had a subtle porky flavour. I prefer the prawn version of this.
Steamed dumplings Chiu Chow style, which refers to the transparent dumpling skins named after a region around Shantou in Southeast China. Peanuts, vegetables, dried shrimp and some pork – so tasty.
I could never go for dim sum and not order the classic Har Gau prawn dumplings. These were moreish as usual, and again I marvelled at the dumpling casing. How do they get it so light and perfectly cooked? Stodgy dumplings are the worst. Also, this way you can eat more of them.
Deep fried pork dumplings – again the best part of these was the perfectly cooked, crispy shell and of course the delicious minced pork filling.
Total bill came to only about £10! Tim Ho Wan was started by the former dim sum chef at Lung King Heen (a three-star Michelin restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel) who opened his own restaurant to offer people high-quality dim sum at affordable prices. We were out of there by 10:30am and there was a huge crowd forming outside to put their names down for the next available table, with one tiny Asian woman manning the booth and handing out numbers. Sometimes it pays to be an early riser. If only we lived in Hong Kong – it might be the only thing that could make me leave the house before noon on a Sunday.
Tim Ho Wan
Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Olympian City Mall
Hong Kong (Mong Kok)