Hong Kong food tripping with the Happy Foodies

There were only a handful of places in my Hong Kong itinerary: The Peak, CTMA and Sino Centres, Citygate Outlet and Tim Ho Wan. Luckily, I was with two happy foodies, Ferdz and Oggie, who were more than willing to try out this famed dim sum place.

Happy Foodies at Tim Ho Wan
Happy Foodies Oggie and Ferdz at Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan is one of those hole in the wall dimsum place that is so small, it can only accommodate about 25 – 30 diners at the same time. Think Dong Bei, only a little bigger. It has no ambiance to speak off — walls are pretty bare, servers buzzing about in the small space, dumping baskets of dimsum unceremoniously unto each table. Drinks aren’t even served, apart from the usual tea found in all Chinese restaurant. You can bring your own drink though. So what makes this place special? It’s one of Hong Kong’s many Michelin Star restaurants. Owned by Pui Gor, former chef of Lung King Heen, a 3-star restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel. Unlike other Michelin Star restaurants that charges an arm and a leg (and for some, your unborn children) for a meal, Tim Ho Wan caters to the casual diner.

Tim Ho Wan
Dimsum tower

Tucked in a quiet neighborhood near Yau Ma Tei and Mongkok, the dim sum place is out of the way of any itinerary. It is, however, easy to spot: it’s the place where there’s always a huddle of people waiting outside. We arrived just after 2pm, we were told the wait would take 1 hour, due to the size of the restaurant and each dish are made to order. They had a queuing system: the receptionist would give you a sheet of paper and write down your number. This sheet of paper would also serve as your order form. There are two versions — ask for the English form so you can start figuring out what to order.

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It was around 4pm when our number was called. You can opt to wait it out, outside the restaurant or walk around and check out the nearby shops. Don’t worry if you find out they’ve already called your number when you come back — they will put you in a separate queue so you can enter as soon as a group go out. We were famished and ticked off a lot of boxes in our form. Everything was good, but there were some that really stood out. The steamed pork dumpling with shrimp a.k.a. siomai was bursting with flavor. It was unlike any other siomai we’ve ever tried. The glutinous rice dumpling sated our rice cravings. Warm gooey rice envelop flavorful chicken stew that makes you think it’s a Chinese-style adobo.

Tim Ho Wan
Star of the day: crispy char siu bao

The star of the meal though, was the restaurant’s baked bun with BBQ pork or crispy char siu bao. Think siopao made with a different kind of bread, topped with a mix of pork lard and sugar, then baked to crispy goodness. One bite, and we forget all about the long queue. Dim sum and noodles cost between HK$10 – HK$18; quite reasonable by Hong Kong standards. Considering the quality of the food you’re getting, an average of HK$40 – HK$60 per meal is a steal.

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Tim Ho Wan
Shop 8, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Phone: +852 2332 2896
Hours: 10am – 10pm
MTR: Yau Ma Tei station, take exit to Kwong Wah Hospital
On Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/G5wh (marker C)
Street View: http://goo.gl/maps/va4y (the place with people waiting in line)

This entry is one of a four-part Hong Kong Series. Read part 1 here. For more pictures, head on over to my flickr.

This trip was made possible by Nuffnang.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 26 Comments
  1. Ferdz says:

    Yay! Na extra pa hapyfoodies! Salamat for taking us there. Sulit na sulit :D

  2. bonnie says:

    I have been meaning to check this place out! I have heard about the buzz of a “ghetto” place with stars

  3. It was a mistake to check out this post… now I’m craving for dimsum! Grrr. And that crispy char siu bao looks divine. Argh!

  4. reminds me of this small Chinese noodle restaurant we just tried at China town yesterday, now I’m craving again for dimsum!

  5. Ed says:

    food trip! this is what i missed during our stay in HK. sayang that we weren’t as adventurous with our taste buds.

    happy new year nina!

  6. Lagalog says:

    From the outset, the Char Siu Bao was a winner :D Hay, reading about it only made me hungry :)

  7. Sofia says:

    That crispy char siu bao looks delicious!! Good food for a good price is often hard to find, looks like you did though ;)

  8. […] is the third post of a four-part Hong Kong series. Read part 1 and part two to for our adventures in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. For more pictures, head on over to my […]

  9. Chiqui says:

    Hi Nina,

    This is a great piece of information. I’m wondering if you were able to check their operating hours? I’m planning to be there as early as 6 AM! LOL. Thanks, Nina! You’re doing a great job.

    • nina says:

      Chiqui, the restaurant opens at 10am, and from what I read, there’s a cue as early as 9:30am. It closes at 10pm, but they might stop letting in diners as early as 9:30pm (we went there at 9:40pm the other day and was told that the restaurant is already full)

  10. hillary says:

    panget ng website na 2!@!

  11. Catherine says:

    I’ll be visiting HK for the 3rd time this Wednesday and am keen on trying something new, will definitely look for this dimsum place! Thanks for sharing Nina! :D

  12. Marx says:

    Do they accept reservation? Grabe ang waiting time nyo ah, 2 hours! :(

  13. micz says:

    absolutely delicious ..! :)) <3

  14. […] is the the last post of a four-part Hong Kong series. Read part 1 and part two to for our adventures in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and part 3 for our adventures in Hong Kong […]

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