On my recent trip to Hong Kong, I learned that there was a Michelin Star restaurant in Hong Kong that serves the best and possibly cheapest Dim Sum in the World. I simply had to check it out.
On a bright Sunday morning, my friends and I headed out to Tin Ho Wan (添好運), the famed Dim Sum restaurant that won the hearts of many, even celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain (Travel Channel’s The Layover with Anthony Bourdain).
I was warned by the concierge to head out early as there may be a long queue. The restaurant was in Mong Kok area and it was a 10 minute ride away by taxi from our hotel in Tsim Sa Tsui area (we paid about HK$20 for the taxi). Here’s a tip: most taxi drivers know the location of the restaurant if you pronounce the name correctly for them. If Chinese is not your first or second language, have your concierge or friend write the Chinese characters down and show it to the driver.
We arrived outside the restaurant at 10:30am and were pleasantly surprised that the queue was quite short. Little did we know that the queue had started an hour before the restaurant opened at 9:30am; the restaurant had already issued over 80 queue tickets. A pair of young Chinese couple from America informed us that they had been in the queue for 45 minutes.
We received our queue number — #89 and were advised to return to the restaurant around 2pm (3 hours later)! Luckily for us, the restaurant was close to a shopping haven – the Ladies Market was just a couple of blocks away and parallel to it was the pedestrians only Sai Yeung Choi Street with shops flanking both sides of the street!
We had breakfast at Starbucks directly opposite where I shot the above photo and spent the next three joyous hours shopping to our hearts content.
A little before 2pm, we arrived back at Tin Ho Wan, we were still at number 80. By this time, our tummies were rumbling again and we worried that our hunger may not withstand the necessary waiting time. Fortunately for us, some of the holders of the queue numbers before us did not show up and we got our table in record time.
87?… nope, not here
88?… yeh! we’re next!
While there were some locals who frequent the restaurant, there were many foreigners who had probably read about its Michelin status from guide books or like me, online. It is a tiny little restaurant that seats about 30 patrons at a time.
I thought that the “maître’d” did an outstanding job of issuing queue numbers, answering queries and ushering in the patrons to the restaurant with efficiency, speed and courtesy.
You will not be rushed to pay the bill, but do have the courtesy to pay the bill and leave soon after your meal is done so others can have a seat and a taste of the delicious dim sum.
Now, let’s get to the food. As it was our first visit, we ordered only the familiar dim sum so we have a base of comparison.
The skin of the har-gow (steam prawn dumpling) was thin and transparent. It was sheer succulent delight to have in your mouth.
There was nothing stingy about this Lor Mai Kai (糯米鸡). It was huge, tasty and meaty.
You’ll expect fried dim sum like this dish, 咸水角 (ham-shui-kok) to be oily. But it wasn’t. As you can see in the photo, not a drop of oil residue could be seen on the dish; and it was delicious!
All in all, we had tea and ordered 10 dishes in total. The bill was a mere HK$168. That’s less than S$10 per person!
But the most important question is, was it worth the wait? ABSOLUTELY!! I will definitely be back and next time, I’ll try the ones that I did not order this time round.