Tim Ho Wan, a Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong, a household name there, and soon, Singapore too. The Dim Sum Specialist has 4 outlets in Hong Kong at the moment, but only one of them is pinned with the coveted Michelin star – the outlet at Sham Shui Po (which is why I insisted on heading to that outlet, otherwise I couldn’t have said that I’ve tried the Michelin-starred restaurant, could I?). The other outlets are at Central, North Point, and Olympian City, Olympic Station. The only other Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan was at Mongkok, but due to the impending increase in rental fees, owner Chef Mak decided to close it down.
Humbly located in between Sham Shui Po & Prince Edward MTR Stations, this Michelin-starred restaurant looks as worn out, run down and unassuming as all other buildings in Hong Kong. My imagination of its interior was thankfully put down after its doors opened, as it proves to be reasonably comfortable after all.
If it means that with a small menu, the quality of the dim sum is good, I am all for it. What more, look at the prices (for general conversion, SGD1 = HKD6), it is more than affordable for anyone. As we were there early, we had plenty of time to decide what to have on our tables.
Pan-fried Turnip Cake (HKD12) :: Dubbed as one of the brand name’s signature dish, I wasn’t as impressed. Amidst all the other dishes, the Turnip Cake was forgettable, though it really doesn’t hurt to order one and share it around. It’s like, SGD0.50 a block. Really.
Siew Mai (HKD24) :: For SGD1 a pop, Siew Mai lovers can have the whole steamer basket to himself.
Chee Cheong Fun with Shrimp (HKD20) :: I used to love the Chee Cheong Fun from Red Star Restaurant. But since they’ve done away with the goodness (for whatever insufficient reasons), the crown for the best Chee Cheong Fun has yet to be filled. Until this. Also one of their ‘Big 4’ items, their dark sauce simply complements the thin wrap so well. Adequately salted, you can distinctly taste the wrap, the sauce, and the filling all in one go. Yummy.
Shrimp Dumpling (HKD24) :: The shrimp was fresh, and it is evident from this that they are no cheaters of your money or feelings – they are generous with their portion of shrimp.
Marinated Soy Chicken (HKD16) :: The chicken was surprisingly amazing. For a chicken to be well done in a dim sum restaurant, it was a first for me. Slightly over-salted, the chicken was absolutely tender and meaty at the same time. It’s a treat to have the whole chunk in your mouth. I say try this.
BBQ Pork Bun (HKD16) :: Yes, yes. The lengen- wait for it, dary, golden crusted BBQ pork bun. It really is no joke when everyone is raving about it. You would thought that with the sky-high expectation, it’d be hard to meet it. But it still did for me. The protective crust was crispily flaky (how is that possible?) and slightly flavored. The BBQ pork was, well, I shall leave it up to you to taste it – it’ll be a party in your mouth, I promise. Needless to say, my dining companions and I ordered another plate. Irresistible.
Double Boiled Bird’s Nest & Egg White (HKD48) :: Being the tourists that we were, we didn’t bother about the price. SGD8 was acceptable though, for bird’s nest. It is only until we realized that we each only paid SGD7 for the entire meal (excluding this) that we started laughing about it. Anyhows, I guess this wasn’t really made to satisfy your taste buds? It was rather bland, and can get cloying after a while. A passable dish.
I had it easy. I was there about 45 minutes before its opening hour. On a weekday. So my dining companions and I were second in line. Thankfully. All the worries of standing in line. Pfft. People might be disappointed with the hype and all. But well, look at it this way – with no expectations in mind, with no knowledge that this is a Michelin-starred restaurant, head to Tim Ho Wan, try their dim sum. Come out, knowing that you only paid SGD7 for a filling dim sum breakfast. Ah, the satisfaction.
In the next 2 years, Chef Mak’s plan is to have his crew open 3 – 4 Tim Ho Wan outlets here. I say, Singapore is small enough, limit it before it loses its novelty. Regardless, I’m excited for its opening here in the red dot on 10 April 2013.
Address (In Context): 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po (near Prince Edward / Sham Shui Po MTR Stations)
Telephone: +852 2788 1226
Opening Hours: 8am – 9.30pm