Here’s a tip: if you don’t know how to express a joke in a language, don’t utter it. One of a few things could go down and your taxi driver might take you for your word.
When we got into the taxi, the driver and us got started talking, so we playfully asked if he’d like to join us for lunch. And being on his shift, we didn’t think he would. But then he said he might if the wait wasn’t too long. We paid our fare, said our goodbyes and got seated. A few minutes later, our taxi driver walked into the restaurant and sat down at our table so casually, as if he we had known one another for years. While the taxi driver was pleasant, he ordered plates of food to have all for himself! I suppose why not. How often do you get invited to lunch by your customers?
The Tim Ho Wan location at Mongkok was awarded a Michelin star in 2010, making it the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. At the sound of that, the frugalista in me practically leapt for joy. Despite predicted waiting times of over 90 minutes, if you were to have every single item on the menu, it would come to a total of $588HKD/$85AUD – dessert included. That was a deal too irresistible to refuse. Lunch for the three of us cost just $20AUD. Bookings are not available, but time your visit right and you can just walk right in like we did after the busy ‘morning rush’ , so around midday.
Aside from the Michelin star rating, these pork buns are responsible for Tim Ho Wan’s prominence amongst foodies. They are immensely popular and it’s not hard to see why. Baked, with a crunchy, sweet topping, filling of chunky char siu pork in a sticky BBQ sauce, the ‘bun’ encasing the filling is appealing light and airy. They’re rather small and can be demolished in two bites. I know this because that’s how these these pockets of bliss went down.
Just some chicken feet simply braised in ginger, garlic, sugar, star anise, soy, and salty black bean sauce until soft and gelatinous.
You can come across many variations of the vermicelli sheets used in this dish. It’s just a matter of preference. Mine is the one where the sheets are thin and translucent, the prawns plump and cooked perfectly so they pop in the mouth and these are just that.
These steamed dumplings come in a serve of four. For me, that’s four times the allure of pleated glutinous rice, encasing a gratifying mince prawn parcel with ginger and diced water chestnuts for contrast.
The steamed egg cake is moist, perfectly spongy and not too sweet. Ash remarked how it was the best egg cake he’s had to date for dim sum. White sugar is caramelised to give it that attractive golden hue and you can certainly taste a hint of that caramel.
Here are some other dim sum dishes we had in the same visit:
We tried to dine at Tim Ho Wan again a few days later, at the station location, but it was absolutely teeming with people and you’re never short of dim sum places in Hong Kong.