Crispy Pork Buns at World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant
Famous Tim Ho Wan pork buns... trust me, they are so good!
A plate with three crispy pork buns arrives to the table I am sharing with a woman and her baby. I wouldn’t believe it was a Michelin star restaurant if I didn’t know better; just a small local place in a Mongkok back alley in Hong Kong; a place where you share a table in Chines style and where you order by writing your choices on a piece of paper.
These pork buns are the reason I am here and I am tempted to just grab one and bite into it. It looks solid enough. I resist my impulse and instead I follow the example set by all the locals; I pick it up with my chopsticks. And then I bite into it.
And suddenly everything stops; it’s as if it all is happening in slow motion.
I feel my teeth crack thru the crispy but soft crust. I can more feel the sweetness of it than taste it. It’s almost as if it was made of sugar, but not quite. It still isn’t overly sweet, but if I had to describe it, all I could say was that it was sugar.
Then I reach the syrupy sauce inside and I can’t quite say if it complements or contradicts the crust. The texture is smooth and and very rich but I can’t quite make out the individual elements; only that it tastes heavenly.
And in the end I find the soft and succulent pork hiding behind all these layers.
And it’s so good.
I’m in food heaven.
Chiu Chow style dumplings
Deep fried dumplings
Fungus and snow soup... No I don't know why it's called that
Steamed pork dumplings with shrimp
I take another bite, and I probably pass out as the next thing I realize I am back in the restaurant with the bun gone, but with a delicious after taste in my mouth.
That is easily one of the best things I’ve ever tasted!
I’ve found my way into what I’ve heard is the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant; and it’s not hard to believe that. You can eat for well under 10 USD (less than 7 euros) per person here and the food is amazing.
It isn’t quite what you might normally expect from a Michelin star restaurant; there is no fancy entrance, no plenty of space with tables set well apart, no waitress in a suit showing you to your table or expensive décor. What there is however, is amazing dim sum at a very cheap price.
Tim Ho Wan - It looks any other local Hong Kong restaurant, except the dozen people always waiting outside
It's not very big inside, you can fit maybe twenty people
You can’t make reservations. The only way to get in is to turn up and get a queue number. When your number gets called, you get in. At a busy time or at the weekend this might mean a waiting time of over two hours. And if you are not there when they call your number, well, then you’ve lost your turn.
I had gotten in less than an hour because I was by myself. And the food was definitely worth the wait.
Besides the pork buns I had ordered steamed pork dumplings with prawns, chiu chow styled dumplings and finally deep fried dumplings.
What can I say, I was feeling like dumplings.
Alright I also got a fungus and snow soup for desert. I think.
And it was all so damn good.
I left absolutely stuffed, I had eaten too much, but there was no way around it.
Week later I went there again with a friend who was just starting her travels in Asia. Besides the obvious pork buns and dumplings we also had some steamed chicken feet and steamed pork ribs. In both cases the meat was ridiculously succulent; you could just suck the meat from the bone.
We also ordered the deep fried turnip cake which all the locals always seemed to order. This seemed like a good idea, until I tasted it and remembered that I don’t actually like turnips… But I don’t really see that as their fault.
I love when there is a stack of dishes on the table
Steamed beefballs with bean curd skin
Steamed chicken feet with back bean sauce
Steamed spare ribs with black bean sauce
Pan-fried turnip cake... if you like turnips
I definitely recommend trying out Tim Ho Wan if you happen to find yourself in Hong Kong, for sure it is the cheapest Michelin star meal you’ll ever eat, and it is amazing!
Baked bun with BBQ pork, as it is officially called on the menu. The best thing ever!
- Order the crispy pork buns!
- Avoid weekends, the queues are longer
- Go early in the morning, if possible before it opens at 10am, but be warned the queue will be there at 9am
- Don’t go as a big group, either go by yourself or with only one other person, you’ll get a table faster
- If you have waiting time of two hours or so, there are plenty of sights nearby, for example the bird market
- Don’t miss your turn, if your number gets called when you aren’t around, that’s it, you lose!
- If you feel like your number might be up soon, make sure that they are also calling on the numbers in English, or squeeze a bit closer so you can see the reservation list to know which number is next
- It might be a little tricky to find, you but you can be sure that there is queue in front of it
- They have opened another restaurant in Hong Kong, but the one in Mongkok is the original and rumoured to be the better one
- Location: Tim Ho Wan, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2-20 Kwong Wa St, Mongkok, Hong kong
Where have you had your best dim sum?