If there is one thing that I miss from Hong Kong – it has got to be the avaibility of excellent dim sum! Choices are available, seemingly at every corner of the island to suit any budgets. On the one hand you have Man Wah and Lung King Heen etc. for Michelin-starred (and expensive) dim sum and on the other you have traditional tea houses like Lin Heung.
For those of you who get to have dim sum at the likes of Man Wah, lucky you; For the rest of us, Tim Ho Wan is here!
Tim Ho Wan, literally translated, means “Add Good Luck” and was established by Chef Mak, who used to work in the kitchens of Lung King Heen at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong (itself, a 3-Michelin starred restaurant). A few years back, he started Tim Ho Wan to offer his dim sum at VERY affordable prices.
Located in Mong Kok, the restaurant itself was by no means hard to find. It does involve a short walk to the nearest MTR but it’s an excellent way to lose some of those calories. Otherwise, there are the ever-available taxis available. I read online that the one would require a wait of 1-2 hours just to get a seat inside this smallish 20-30 odd seater restaurant. So, being the smart lass I am (or so I thought to be), I left my hotel at 9+am with the aim of reaching the restaurant at 10.30am and avoiding the peak hour lunch crowd. But lo and behold, a queue had already formed. The photo that you see above was taken when I first arrived at the restaurant.
Having your meal here. Having a meal here at Tim Ho Wan is relatively easy – approach the lady at the door and get a queue number. In the mean time, you grab a copy of the order chit and select the dishes that you intend to order. When your queue number is called, you proceed into the cramped interior and have your dishes served to you in quick succession. In case you were wondering, I waited for about 50 minutes; But time seemed to pass by rather quickly.
You see – I was staring at a notice on the window stating that Tim Ho Wan had opened up a larger branch.So there I was jotting down the location, when a middle aged woman came up to me and warned me against going there with stories of how her friends tried it and left disappointed.
In true Hong Kong fashion, we quickly became acquainted and exchanged friendly conversations about the dim sum served here and the comparison with Lin Heung and of her last visit to Singapore.
Rice roll stuffed with shrimp HK$17
This was good, excellent in fact! The rice roll was far from being thick and was steamed just for the right amount of time. The shrimps were fresh and the sauce, oh-the-sauce, was fantastic; It was not too salty, not too sweet – it was just right!
Steamed chicken feet clawswith black bean sauce HK$12
I love my chicken feetclaws. Okay, I’ve said it. Detractors to this chinese delicacy would go, W.H.A.T? To each his own, I suppose. For your information, I look upon those who claim that Casu marzu and its live maggots is a delicacy with utter disdain.
I sidetracked. I like how Tim Ho wan did their rendition of this classic dim sum. They were firm and were braised in the not-too-sweet, not-too-spicy black bean sauce. This compares with some renditions that I’ve tried where sugar seems to be the main ingredient to the dish!
Steamed fresh shrimp dumplings (ha jiao/ har gow) HK$18
A must order for me at any dim sum restaurant, the dumplings were a delight to savour. The skin was again, not thick and the shrimps encassed within it were fresh and had a crunch to them.
Pan fried turnip cake with preserved meat HK$10
I was not planning to order the turnip cake, but the lady that I spoke to earlier had high praise for them.
I’m sorry, but I could have done without this – Not that they were bad in anyway; I felt they were a tad plain tasting for me. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the many other delicious tasting dim sum that I had on my table, that this had to take a back seat.
But, in all fairness, I have to give credit in the fact that the cakes came out perfectly fried and unlike some local versions, they were not drenched in oil! Kudos to the chef!
Steamed pork dumplings with shrimp (Siew Mai) HK$18
The status of the siew mai being a perennial favourite of many simply means that any restaurant has to get theirs done perfectly. Tim Ho Wan is no exception – they got theirs perfectly! Some places tend to mince the pork and shrimp so finely that you hardly know what goes into it (Much like how I try to stay away from commercially produced sausages), Tim Ho Wan managed to keep theirs relatively in tact, which in my books, is a good thing.
Will I be back? Most definitely, you can count on that!
Tim Ho Wan
2-20 Kwong Wa Street