Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong-My first Michelin star restaurant experience

We visited Hong Kong in November last year and felt it was only sensible to visit our first Michelin star restaurant, and a cheap one at that! Since I am Cantonese and a lover of good food, it made sense that we combined the two! We took a taxi to Tim Ho Wan and easily found the place as it seemed like everyone in HK knew it. We went to the original one in Mong Kok but I hear they've got a much bigger and newer restaurant in Sham Shui Po now. However, I heard the dim sum there aren't to the same quality of the one in Monk Kok. Perhaps because of the sheer volume of food being churned out, the head chef isn't able to monitor every dish that goes out to customers?

Anyway, when we arrived, it was approximately 10am in the morning and already there is a small crowd gathering outside. Just seeing the crowd there increased my level of excitement-I mean, surely people will only wait for something worth waiting for, right? We joined the line and using my Cantonese, I managed to get number on a meal ticket. I was told there would be a 45 minute wait. Mr HSH and I then went and explored other parts of HK before arriving back at Tim Ho Wan about 35-40 mins later. We promptly realised that our number had already been called when the waitress shouted loudly in Cantonese "Is number XX back yet"
I shouted that we were back and excitedly made our way to the front of the line. I realised then that we hadn't picked our dishes on the menu yet! We had been given a paper menu to choose from before Panicked, I asked whether anyone had some recommendations as I had no time to study the menu and didn't know what was good or recommended! I got lots of helpful recommendations from the other people waiting and the waitress, at her discretion, also ordered some extra dishes of her recommendations.

The dining room was small and cramped, but somehow, everything seem to have a process. Everyone worked efficiently and the dim sums were delivered to us quickly. There was a very quick turnover of customers in the restaurants.

Something funny and unfortunate happened to MR HSH at Tim Ho Wan. We were seated next to the cashier. As the tables were so cramped together, there was only a very small space for her to squeeze through. Our "rice noodle roll" or Cheong fun was placed very precariously near the edge of the table. I was just thinking to myself about how precarious it's placement was, when the check out chick attempted to squeeze through again and promptly dumped the whole plate of Cheong fun onto Mr HSH's lap-soya sauce and all! The check out lady immediately said "SOLLY, SOLLY!" to MR HSH. MR HSH, bless his soul, was very kind and didn't give them a hard time at all. As they were cleaning, I heard them say in cantonese "Good thing it was a foreigner "Gui Lo", otherwise we would be in trouble" (meaning, foreigners are more forgiving than the average HK person). LOL

Their signature dish-Baked bun with barbeque pork. Gorgeous, crispy coat on the outside with delicious BBQ pork filling.

Fresh Shrimp roll

Steamed fresh shrimp dumping

Steamed dumpling in Chiu Chow style

Replacement of the "dumped" cheong fun

Siu Mai

Lotus flower dessert

Overall, a very very good Yum Cha experience and authentic HK experience, all for a measley 164 HK dollars-about 23 AUD. I found a lot of their dishes to be to the standard of the best type of Yum Cha one could have, but did not find most of their dish refreshing or surprising in what it had to offer. Their signature Char Chiu Bun was probably the stand out. I hope to visit again upon my next trip to HK.

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