Hong Kong is an expensive city, but Tim Wo Han’s is a welcome exception – delicious, Michelin-starred dim sum at wallet-friendly prices. The only downside is the line-up!
Tim Ho Wan’s started off life as a little “hole in the wall” joint in Sham Shui Po. It now has 5 outlets in Hong Kong, has most recently opened in Melbourne, Australia and has a series of outlets throughout Asia. A pretty good trajectory for somewhere with such humble beginnings, but with dim sum this good, it’s easy to see why.
We tend to visit Tim Ho Wan’s IFC branch, which is in the basement, near the entrance to the Airport Express. Given its rather soulless location, if it’s good weather, my recommendation is to get a takeout and eat up on the roof of the IFC mall, looking out over the harbour. Not only is the view and ambience better up there, but the line for takeout tends to move more quickly than for eating in.
To order at Tim Ho Wan’s you get in line (shepherded by an officious security guard who will ask you to remain inside the barriers) and collect a menu slip (pink for English, yellow for Cantonese) and pencil from the front desk. You then mark your selections against the menu items accordingly.
We always agonise over whether to get something a bit more adventurous like chicken’s feet, or glutinous rice rolls with pork liver, but then always back out and go for our all time favourites – the shrimp dumplings; pork and chive dumplings; possibly some beef balls in bean curd or spring rolls and (and this is the best bit), the pork buns.
The pork buns here really are amazing – the buns are sugar coated and airy-fairy light. There’s also nothing quite like a tower of steaming bamboo steamers in front of you to pique the appetite. It’s also great for that dash of authenticity in your photos :)
The best bit at Tim Ho Wan’s however is the price. A generous lunch or dinner for two, ordering around 6-7 dishes comes in at around $200, a price which is equal to two drinks in many of the bars in Central!
Don’t expect to linger when you come here – service is very efficient, the moment you are shown your seat your order is processed and the food comes out in double quick time. My experience with many Chinese eateries (other than high-end hotel versions) tends to be an emphasis on food rather than atmosphere or ambience – think strip-lighting rather than candle-light.
Tim Ho Wan is a bit of an institution, at least in my version of Hong Kong so far. Definitely try it out for yourself.
Dinner for two: around $200 (no alcohol served, only tea/soft drinks)
Address: Shop 12A Hong Kong Station; Podium Level 1; IFC Mall, Central