I recently visited Hong Kong with my girlfriend, Inke. I have been several times before, but it was Inke’s first visit to Hong Kong or even the Far East for that matter. Hong Kong is a true melting pot of influences from all over Asia and a food lover’s paradise. One of the restaurants that we wanted to visit was Tim Ho Wan, after reading about it being known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong, maybe even the world.
So who is Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan as far as I know is not a real person. It was the idea of Mak Kwai-Pui, a chef who worked at a three Michelin-starred restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel located in Central on Hong Kong Island. He decided to open his own 20 seat dim sum restaurant in Mongkok, located on the other side of Hong Kong harbour, in the northern part of Kowloon and called it Tim Ho Wan.
One Michelin Star
In the 2010 guide of the Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide, Tim Ho Wan was awarded with one Michelin star and soon acquired the name of “the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant” by various different journalists. As you could not pre-book a table, this sudden recognition resulted in two hour queues just to get into the restaurant. An acquaintance told me that he queued for 45 minutes to get through the door one time.
By 2015 Chef Mak had also opened an additional two restaurants, one in North Point and one in Sham Shui Po. The original restaurant in Mongkok had in 2013 relocated to Tai Kok Tsui. However, all three restaurants are proud holders of one Michelin-star recognition.
Sham Shui Po
We were staying in the Mongkok area and as we obviously couldn’t visit the original restaurant, we chose to try the one in Sham Shui Po for a dim sum lunch. It was within walking distance, meaning we could build up a good appetite. When we arrived, luckily there was no two hour queue to contend with; in fact there was no queue at all and we got a table straight away. Even though we didn’t have to wait, it was still very busy and the other diners were mostly locals, which was extremely encouraging.
There was not a great deal of room, tables were quite close together, but then this is Hong Kong. We were brought Jasmine Tea, which we were learning was pretty much an automatic thing, a bit like getting served iced water in the United States. To order was a simple process, you put a tick against the dishes you wanted to have, it was whisked away and the dishes appeared when they were ready.
Dim Sum Lunch
Overall the food we tried was excellent, flavours were balanced beautifully and everything was fresh which with such a high turnover is much easier to do. So if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong craving a dim sum lunch, the Tim Ho Wan is definitely worth the visit.