Tim Ho Wan had been reported as the eatery offering the cheapest Michelin 1* cuisine in the world and this was but one of the reasons why people were willing to queue just to get a ticket. We had visited the flagship store at Tsim Sha Tsui on numerous occasions only to be turned away by hour-long queues.
Entering the eatery was like squeezing into a narrow alleyway since it could house barely 30 people. I would strongly advise against having any bulky items on you when visiting for there was simply no space and mind you, you are barely a feet away from the next table of diners.
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Glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf (糯米鸡)
One of the best versions had in HK and SG. The fragrance of the lotus leaf was well infused into the glutinous rice. The ingredients were bountiful with large pieces of tender chicken meat and Chinese mushroom, which enhanced the aroma of the dish as you unwrap the lotus leaf. The savoury viscous gravy was the vital element which summed up the dish with a thumbs-up from all 3 diners on the table.
Char siew buns - barbecued pork buns (叉烧包)
The surface of the char siew buns was almost perfect. It was served warm and as crisp as you could possibly ask for, so needless to say, crumbs were left all over the table! The taste of the barbecued pork on the inside did not have a strong Chinese rose wine such as the version tried at Dim Sum Square, but it had a perfect balance of savouriness and sweetness. The pork in the buns was in sizeable chunks and not minced. Coupled with the crisp crust on the surface, it was so irresistible that we ordered a second round.
Turnip cake (萝卜糕)
Prior to ordering, I overheard a lady seated adjacent criticizing the turnip cake but we figured it was a must-try for a dim sum outing, so we ordered it anyway, but this was indeed a letdown. The taste was rather bland and fragrance of turnip was barely evident.
Steamed sponge cake (马来糕)
The aroma of the muscovado sugar was in the air as this light delicacy was served to us. Unlike normal brown sugar, muscovado has a darker shade of brown, slightly coarse and stickier. Owing the flavour and colour to sugarcane juice, it tasted much richer than the usual steamed sponge cakes. Pipping hot, the sponge cake was airy as seen by the pockets of air present in the mid-section of the cake. It left a subtly sweet after-taste of the brown sugar, but the flavour and taste was rather empowering in a good manner. The best testament was that we ordered a second serving despite the bursting tummy.
Pork dumplings/siew mai - (烧卖)
The siew mai was bite-sized and it was how we wanted it to be, crunchy prawns atop succulent minced pork and a wrapping that did not stick to our teeth. The seasoning of the minced pork was savoury and delivered that oomph punch. It was good but not exceptional.
Soy sauce fried noodles (豉油皇炒面)
The 'wok-hei' of the fried noodles was perfect which helped imparted the flavours of the soy sauce to the al dente noodles. We also liked that it was not too greasy and it was the perfect dish to sum up the evening for the savoury tastebuds.
Char siew cheong fun (叉烧肠粉)
We did not enjoy the cheong fun as much as we did for the other dim sum dishes. The steamed rice roll was too thick for our liking and the filling was bare. Also, it lacked elasticity and springiness derived from the addition of tapioca flour.
Osmanthus cake (桂花糕)
The fragrance of the osmanthus flowers was somewhat reserved in this common Chinese dessert. The 'cake' itself was jelly-like, similar to what many would refer to as 'agar-agar' though this was lighter. It tasted okay but was not good enough to leave a lasting impression.
Expect a horrible queue if you intend to visit, especially this petite-sized main branch at Mongkok which could house barely 30 people. They will issue a limited number of tickets for the morning and just 60 for the afternoon seating which starts from 4pm onwards. Expect to share tables with strangers and I would advise against large group eating sessions for it is close to impossible to arrange seating for say a group of 8. The service of the lady who ushered us to the table could certainly be improved upon for it could hardly get any worse. Gone were the days where 'Customers are always right', it would seem. The quality of the food was certainly deserving of the 1* Michelin but I am not too fond of the queue and would rather have my dim sum cravings satisfied elsewhere.
Tim Ho Wan had been reported as the eatery offering the cheapest Michelin 1* cuisine in the world and this was but one of the reasons why people were willing to queue just to get a ticket. We had visited the flagship store at Tsim Sha Tsui on numerous occasions only to be turned away by hour-long queues. Entering the eatery was like squeezing into a narrow alleyway since it could house barely 30 people. I would strongly advise against having any bulky items on you when visiting ...