Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong

One of my most favorite things in the world! 

Tim Ho Wan was the main reason why I was excited to go to Hong Kong with the in-laws. Actually, Tim Ho Wan's pork bun was THE reason why I was excited to go to Hong Kong.

Last year, on my birthday weekend, some friends and I stood in line to experience the glory that is that Tim Ho Wan's Baked Bun with Bbq Pork. Yes, I cannot get over that pork bun. It costs HK$14 for 3 pieces. I'm guessing that the bun is dipped in some sort of egg mixture before it's fried for a few seconds. The outer part is crispy and salty-sweet, and once you bite into it, the savory barbecue sauce and soft pork filling deliciously oozes out. YUUUUUUUUUUUUM YUM YUM! And I was so happy to eat it again this year.

Tim Ho Wan is the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong. You're lucky if you only wait 2 hours to get a table. We were there around 9:30 am on a Monday morning, and we were already 18th in the line!

The door lady finally came in at 10 am to assign numbers. We were told to come back in 1 hour. So we walked around the Mong Kok for a bit.

We came back after about 30 minutes. I stood right in front of the door while the other family members milled about. The door lady was saying something in Chinese. Good thing this Singaporean lady turned around and asked me "Aren't you number 18? She already called your number!" or else we would have been standing there for a few more hours not knowing what was happening.

The door lady at Tim Ho Wan looks scary and stern, but actually, she's just like that coz she's having a hard time talking to foreign customers! (Mike and I think that her default instruction to all diners is "Come back 1 hour!) I hurriedly gave her our order slip, tried to get the group together, and after a bit of sign language and some broken sentences, I understood that she was telling me that we would have to split the group into 2 tables. Which is perfectly fine since we were already extremely lucky getting inside the restaurant in less than an hour!

Steamed rice with chicken feet and spareribs ($17). Steamed rice with beef, better known as machang to us Filipinos ($17). Hakaw ($12). Vermicelli roll stuffed with pig's liver ($16)
I did the ticking off the items in the menu, and in turn, ordered too much rice for 8 people. (I thought the other steamed rice option on the menu was like the machang, too!)

The hakaw was amazing! The shrimps were plump and meaty. The vermicelli rolls were delicious, too! I almost didn't order that because I mistook it for something else on the menu. Good thing on the last minute I pointed a photo on the window out to the door lady and she pointed the correct thing on the menu for me! Mike loves this and got mad at me for almost not ordering it. LOL

Other dimsum offerings at Tim Ho Wan. Chicken feet ($14). Glue rice dumpling ($22). Beef ball ($12). Steamed pork dumpling with shrimp ($22). 

The line at Tim Ho Wan
 Here are a few pointers should you wish to visit Tim Ho Wan in the near future!
- In my opinion, the best times to fall in line is at 9:30am or 3:30pm on a weekday.
- Have someone fall in line while you go to the restaurant door to get a menu. If you come before opening time, this line will serve as THE line in getting tables. So best to be sure you're in position. God forbid a big group suddenly falls in line while you're dillydallying elsewhere!
- Be ready for a long wait. Bring a magazine or an iPad. Heck, bring something to sit on even! Light snacks would be wise, too.
- Smile at the door lady and the servers inside. They might not know how to speak English well, but they will treat you better if you have a friendly face. LOL
- For heaven's sake, DO NOT ASK FOR TOYO AND CALAMANSI! Or else, be ready to feel the wrath of the Chinese ladies. You might get thrown out, too!
- Keep an open mind and an appreciative palate. Unless you live in Hong Kong and have the patience of a saint, it's not everyday that you get to eat Michelin-starred food!
- Do not look at the customers waiting outside peering through the glass door. They will look hungry. They will look angry. And they will hate you for taking your time eating your yummy dimsum. Gotta eat and run! Don't hog the space!
- Steamed fresh shrimp dumplings (ha jiao or hakaw). Vermicelli rolls. Pork buns. These are the important things you should remember to order in Tim Ho Wan. A friend told us about the time they first went to Tim Ho Wan. An old Chinese man looked at their orders and let out a frustrated grumble. He called the servers and ordered pork buns for the table.
- If you have a ref and a microwave in your hotel room, order take out!

Our bill came out to something like P3,000. Certainly a steal for an authentic dim sum brunch for 8 people!

Directions to Tim Ho Wan:
Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit A2.
From stairs, make a u-turn on to Pitt st. Turn right on Nathan Rd. Walk down the block past Bee Chen Hiang (yellow sign). Turn right on Dundas st. Walk til the end, then take the left of the fork of the road to Kwan Fa. Look for the line. Tim Ho Wan is on the right side opposite a car park. 

Photos are by my sister-in-law, Jenina.

[2015 EDIT: Apparently this Tim Ho Wan branch has closed! Head on to the IFC Mall, Podium Level 1, Hong Kong Station at Central. A far cry from the atmosphere of this branch though.]  

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