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[Hong Kong] Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists (Mongkok)

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Baked bun with char siu (barbecue pork) 酥皮焗叉燒包 HK$12

Tim Ho Wan (添好運點心專門店) dim sum restaurant in Mongkok (旺角) is perhaps best known as the world’s cheapest michelin-star restaurant. And it’s situated in the heart of humble Mongkok, Hong Kong. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews about the place; some rave about their food while some think that it is overrated. I stayed really near to this eatery, so I was keen to find out for myself. My experience turns out to be a good one. I find the food generally good (more hits than misses, and the signature dishes were excellent), super value for money and I had good service.

Your visit to this eatery will not be complete if you do not try their signature char siu bao (baked bun with barbecue pork), pictured above. You can see every table ordering this and in fact, going for seconds, and thirds. The secret, to me, lies in its melt-in-your-mouth crispy skin. I think this must be the dish which nailed the Michelin star for this eatery. A must order if you visit the place.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
The char siu (bbq pork) filling

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Glutinuous Rice with Chicken 古法糯米雞 HK$20
This is another popular dish. Warning though, the portion is really generous so it is SUPER filling and a challenge to finish, especially considering all the other food we had.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Inside the Wrapped Leaf
It was ok (I have eaten better ones) and a tad too salty for my liking. Maybe I was too stuffed from the char siu bao.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed Egg Cake 香滑馬拉糕 HK$10
My family really enjoyed this. It’s fragrant and fluffy. Lots of people ordered this. I must learn to make this one day. Steamed cakes sound a bit less daunting than baked ones, or I least I hope so.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed Beefballs with Orange Peel 陳皮牛肉球 HK$12
This is one of their signature dishes as well. Before serving, they will ask if you like soy dressing over the beef balls. Of course we opted for it but my sis found it a bit too salty, but it was all right to me. The beef ball is delicious and tender.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Pan-fried turnip cake with preserved meat HK$10 煎臘味蘿白糕

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed fresh shrimp dumplings (“har gow”) 晶瑩鮮蝦餃 HK$18

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed spinach dumpling with mushroom and garlic HK$12 金蒜香菰菠菜餃
My sis really likes this.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed dumpling in teochew (chiu chow) style HK$10 潮州粉果

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed spare ribs with black bean sauce 豉汁蒸排骨 HK$12

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed big intestines with black pepper sauce HK$14 黑椒蒸大腸
Gross as it may look/sound to some, my sis and I are actually fighting over this hehe

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce 豉汁蒸排骨 HK$12

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Rice roll (chee cheong fun) stuffed with bbq pork (char siu). 蜜味叉燒腸 HK$15
They also have beef, shrimps and intestine stuffings to choose from.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Steamed pork dumpling with shrimp (siew mai) 鮮蝦燒賣皇 HK$18
The photo pasted outside the shop actually shows the siew mai being garnished with a wolfberry on top which I thought is really neat (giving me an idea to top my steamed tofu dish with a wolfberry) but sadly when the dumplings arrived, the top looks really plain with nothing on top. They might have forgotten the garnish. Other than that, it tastes all right.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Congee with lean pork and preserved egg HK$12 皮蛋瘦肉粥

There are three desserts on the menu and we tried all 3.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Double boiled papaya and snow fungus HK$10 雪耳燉木瓜
This tong shui (Chinese dessert) comes with white fungus, papaya and almonds. Looks very nourishing. On a totally unrelated side note, do check out my white fungus with ginkgo nuts recipe if you like this type of Chinese dessert :P

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Close up. I asked my sis to help hold the spoon for me and she requested that the photo shows her beautiful manicured nails :P

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Mango Pudding HK$14 芒果布丁
When I was ordering a second round of food, the waitress asked if we would like to try its mango pudding which she says is very good. I was surprised as I have never heard anyone reviewing their mango pudding.  And I wasn’t disappointed. It’s good!

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
Osmanthus jelly (the menu translation is “tonic medlar and petal cake”) HK$10 杞子桂花糕
If you like eating this, check out my simple osmanthus jelly recipe :)

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
This was the pu-er tea they serve. HK$2 per person. Refillable.

1) The place is very tiny (it seats about 20 people) and modest looking. No ambience to speak of. They optimize every seat so even if there are three of you, expect the fourth single seat to be filled by a lone diner, though this is actually common in all the popular eateries in Hong Kong.

2) Known for its infamous long waits (up to 3 hours is what I read), I already told myself beforehand that there is no way I am going to wait for more than an hour. And I turn out to be really lucky. Twice. On both occasions, I waited only about half an hour. Basically I go at slightly off timings, took a number, walked a bit around Mong Kok, and when I am back, my seat was ready for me hehe

3) I was actually bracing myself for poor service seeing how some popular eateries can have pretty bad attitude, and I was half expecting to be rushed through my meal. But no, none of that at all. On the contrary, the service is good. One of the waitress gave us a wrong order and she was very apologetic about it. They smile when talking to you and are patient when you ask them questions. And they don’t rush you once you are seated. On my second visit (brought my sis and mum there to try), my sis asked for Coke, they said they only serve tea but told us that we could get it from 7-11 across the street. Yes, we actually went to buy a bottle of Coke and they allowed us to drink it in their premises. One of the diners had problems squeezing into her tiny seat with all her bags and the waitress ensured she was properly seated before she left. So yes, even though there are some horror tales I read, my experience is overall a very good one :)

4) How to get a seat. The scene outside the store is perpetually a crowded one (see photo below). There will be a person manning a booth outside the shop. You need to tell the person how many diners you have and she will give you a paper with your queue number. You can ask her the estimated time of waiting. After that, you can either walk around Mong Kok or grab a piece of their order sheet placed outside the store (which comes with English translation) so that you can start to tick the items you wish to eat. Once you are seated, you can pass the waitress your order sheet hence saving time.

5) I’ve seen locals do it. If you want to tabao (takeaway) after eating there, an easier way is to order extras and when you are leaving, you can ask them for Styrofoam boxes to pack the leftovers by yourself.

Tim Ho Wan Dimsum, Hong Kong
The perpetual crowd outside the shop

Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists 添好運點心專門店
Address: Shop 8, Taui Yuen Mansion Phase 2, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok (walking distance from both Mongkok and Ya Ma Tei MTR; slightly nearer to Ya Ma Tei)
地址 : 旺角廣華街2-20號翠園大樓2期地下8號舖
Telephone/電話 : (852) 2332 2896

Check out all Hong Kong food reviews.


Leave a Comment

20 Responses to “[Hong Kong] Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists (Mongkok)”

  1. pigpigscorner — August 10, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    I miss this place! We had to queue 45 mins the last time we went and in the end we gave up and asked for 2 separate tables instead. Worth the wait though!


    • wiffy replied: — August 11th, 2010 @ 3:33 am

      45 mins isn’t so bad … and definitely worth the wait, especially for the price :D


  2. Wandering Chopsticks — August 10, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    If I ever make it to Hong Kong, this looks like the only Michelin-starred restaurant I can afford. :P


    • wiffy replied: — August 11th, 2010 @ 3:32 am

      it’s cheap and good :D


  3. tigerfish — August 10, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    The baked char siew buns look very special – esp the bun itself. The bun must be similar to the kind of Po Lo Buns we often see. I hv been to HK several times but have not been to this one. You speak Cantonese fluently?


    • wiffy replied: — August 11th, 2010 @ 3:34 am

      yes similar to the PoLo bao. No, I don’t speak Cantonese… at all :p How about you?


  4. Ashley — August 11, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    Love your review. Planning my HK trip in Sept & have gone thru a couple of other reviews on the same place. But I find yours most informative :) Do u happen to know if it would be faster if we do takeaway?


    • wiffy replied: — August 11th, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

      Hi Ashley, I’m not sure about takeaway coz I’ve not done it or seen anyone doing only takeaway. Their dim sum is made to order so it takes about 10-15 minutes for the food to be served when you’re dining in. Not sure what is the wait time for ta bao. I think certain food (like the steamed stuff) will tastes better if consumed immediately hehe


  5. Cooking Gallery — August 11, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    The dumplings look all sooooo good!!! Super drool…!!!


  6. juhuacha — August 11, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    I was in Hkg during July. It was extremely hot and packed with people. Feel that the dim sum tastes better when I was there 10 yrs ago. Nowadays, youngsters in Hkg no longer fancy dim sum and would go for Japanese food instead. I ended up having my dim sum breakfast with lots of elderly. Had one of my meal at maxim (fast food outlet) and there is not much of customer service and most of the items in the menu are out of stock. But overall, I did enjoy the cantonese cuisine.


    • wiffy replied: — August 12th, 2010 @ 2:44 am

      I was also there in July (3rd week)!!! hehe who knows, we may have 擦肩而过 :D I never really like the food at maxim’s fast food, tried once years ago and never went back again. The maxim’s restaurant is better, touted as one of the best dim sum in HK, I find it all right but not really best. But I like to go there during discount hours. Maybe we have quite good dim sum in Singapore, and over the years our standard bar raised. :p You are right, I saw a lot of senior citizens when during yum cha :p


  7. juhuacha — August 15, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

    Me too. Also in Hkg during 3rd wk of July. I would have tried this tim sum restaurant when I was in Mongkok if I know about the good review that u will give. The baked char siu bun is so special….


  8. xiao hui — November 6, 2010 @ 6:47 am

    Hi, I’m going to Hong Kong end of this month. Do you know the best time to go to cut down the queue time? I’m bringing my parents along. So, it would be the best if they don’t have to wait too long. :)


  9. Ruby — November 14, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

    could u please give more detailed instructions of how to get to this place? would love to take my boyfriend thre when going back to hong kong this christmas holiday! thanks!


  10. djong — June 29, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    hi! i’m really looking forward to eating in tim ho wan, and your review made me all the more excited! i’d like to know, though, are they open in the afternoons? most of the reviews i’ve read have people lining up before 10am, but no mention of eating dinner there. would really appreciate if you can give me info about it. :)

    thanks a lot! :)


    • wiffy replied: — June 30th, 2011 @ 1:31 am

      I think they are opened in the afternoons. I have ate there once at about 6pm, quite crowded :)



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