Michelin Star Dining: Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Budget : HK$10-25 or Php55-150 per order (exchange rate used is 1 HK$ = Php5.68, rate during my trip)
Duration : hours of wait depends on number of customers in line
Bummers : long waiting time but totally worth it!
We started our 7-day vacay in Hong Kong with a visit at a popular restaurant recommended by the Michelin Guide, Tim Ho Wan, at the heart of the busy streets of Mong Kok. Walking around the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok and through Kwong Wa St., you can easily spot Tim Ho Wan because there is likely to be a large crowd of people outside this humble restaurant that serves superb-tasting dumplings and other Chinese treats.
As a proof, you can spot the Michelin Guide mark posted by the door of Tim Ho Wan.
When you go to Tim Ho Wan, make sure that you get an order slip so you can start choosing the food that you want to order.It’s great that they have an English Menu because there are some restos don’t have those.
You should also make sure to get listed and have a number. If possible, once listed, don’t go anywhere far because they quickly remove anyone from the list who isn’t there when the number is called.
After waiting for more than 2 hours outside, we were able to get seats inside Tim Ho Wan. For me, the long wait is worth it. Getting the chance to dine in this well-known affordable Michelin-starred restaurant is an awesome prize, and an awesome way to begin the out-of-the-country vacation. Once seated, our orders started getting served.
The Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (HK$ 15 or Php 85) is almost similar to our asado siopao but with better bun and filling. The bun is sweet and it looks like it was topped with a net of cheese. The filling is great, the pork is soft and tender.
The Deep-Fried Spring Roll Filled with Beef and Mushroom (HK$ 16 or Php 91) isn’t your regular lumpiang shanghai. It is filled with ground beef and bits of mushroom. However, some might not find it delectable because of its strong parsley flavor.
The Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings or Ha Jiao (HK$ 22 or Php 125) contains really fresh shrimps covered with a thin sheet of wrapper. It is steamed perfectly that every bite lets out a burst of sea freshness. Other shrimp dumplings that I have tasted are no match to Tim Ho Wan’s Ha Jiao.
The Steamed Spinach Dumpling with Mushroom and Garlic (HK$ 20 or Php 114) is ideal for vegetarians but it is also a great dish for meat-eaters like me. At first, I thought I wouldn’t like it because it was an all-veggie dumpling. But I was wrong because the flavors of the spinach, mushroom, and garlic was awesome. And the spinach was so crunchy.
One of my favorites is the Steamed Creamy Custard Bun (HK$ 15 or Php 85). It has a mantao bun, which is very soft. The custard filling is sweet and creamy. I could have plates and plates of the steamed creamy custard bun and still not have enough. I really fell in love with it.
The Steamed Fish Ball and Vegetable (HK$ 15 or Php 85) is not like the regular processed fish ball that you can avail on the streets. It contains real ground fish meat mixed with veggie bits. So good!
The Steamed Rice with Pork and Salty Fish (HK$ 20 or Php 114) may look like a poor man’s meal but if it were a poor man’s meal, I now understand why they are so happy. The steamed rice is topped with a slice of pork which is then topped with a piece of salty fish. The pork was soft and tasty and the fish is good, tasted like our tuyo or dried fish but only meatier and moister.
The only miss for our taste is the Sweetened Creen Bean Soup with Sea Lavender (HK$ 15 or Php 85). It is like boiled mung beans then sweetened. We usually do this at home and add milk or cream. What didn’t appeal to us is the strong scent and flavor of the lavender. Maybe we weren’t use to this flavor that is why it didn’t appeal to us. But the scent was good, because lavender is commonly used to freshen up the ambiance and make it smell relaxing.
Every person is given unlimited Pu-erh tea for HK$ 2 or Php 11. This is a special tea they make fresh in-house once they open.
Dining at Tim Ho Wan is very rewarding and it is something a foodie should really try to experience. I didn’t mind waiting in line for hours as long as I got to try the gastronomic goodness that this Michelin Star restaurant has to offer. Aside from the great taste of the food, the bargain price of this Michelin recommended resto is also another reason to pay it a visit.
Insider tip: Always expect long queues of avid customers outside Tim Ho Wan. If you plan to visit it, make sure to have an allowance time for the wait. Or if possible, come very early so you can be one of the first customers to enter the restaurant. Tim Ho Wan opens at 10 AM and closes at 10 PM.
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