The first time I came to this place, I was super hungry after waiting outside the shop for an hour and a half (weekday lunch), so I ate without even thinking of blogging it. The strategy this time: grab the ticket, go shopping, call the shop to check the number, and make your way back when it's about time. This time, the wait was 2.5 hours and they suspended handing out tickets a couple times.My partners-in-crime and I ordered a ridiculous amount of food so here goes...The dishes worthy of writ
The strategy this time: grab the ticket, go shopping, call the shop to check the number, and make your way back when it's about time. This time, the wait was 2.5 hours and they suspended handing out tickets a couple times.
My partners-in-crime and I ordered a ridiculous amount of food so here goes...
The dishes worthy of writing a blurb are
Honey BBQ Pork Buns (酥皮焗叉燒包): The "must-order" dish at Tim Ho Wan. They take the longest to get onto your table because of the high demand and the waiting needed between batches. The bun was nice and soft, the sweet crust crumbles when you bite into it, and the sweet and savory filling oozes out. This time the filling was a bit too sweet - last time I came here it was just right. I don't quite know why they call it "Puff Pastry BBQ Pork Buns", but it's basically a "sweet crusted bun" (菠蘿包) with the honey BBQ pork filling. Tip: if you want some of these to-go, order them right at the beginning, otherwise you'll have to wait a really long time outside the place AFTER you eat for your take-out.
Shrimp Dumplings (晶瑩鮮蝦餃): The dumpling skin isn't too thick, and when you bite into it you actually see pieces of shrimp. I hate shrimp dumplings and wontons where the shrimp are over-processed and blitzed into a paste.
Turnip Cake (臘味蘿蔔糕): You can actually taste the turnip, accented with the preserved meats. Texture was good - there were detectable pieces of turnip, and there was more turnip that the flour paste that binds it. That's what turnip cake should be, not the steamed flour paste with turnip that's served at most places.
Steamed Beef Meatballs (陳皮牛肉球): Classically combined with cilantro, a hint of dried citrus peel and Worcestershire sauce, the beef was really tender and had a soft "bounce". It wasn't saturated with the bicarbonate-tasting tenderizer powder that's pretty common.
The dishes that were of good quality but tasted fairly standard
Rice flour rolls (腸粉) - Shrimp, BBQ Pork, Beef - although the rice flour sheet was smooth and not too thick, it was a bit skimpy on the filling.
Pan-fried Glutinous Rice (腊味糯米飯) - a bit greasy, but that's expected of pan-fried glutinous rice. It's also very filling, so beware!
Chiu Chow Dumplings (潮州蒸粉果)
Steamed Molasses Sponge Cake (香滑馬拉糕)
Steamed Chicken Feet ( 豉汁蒸鳳爪)
Garlic, Cheese and Shrimp Spring Rolls (金蒜芝士蝦春卷)
Steamed Spare-Ribs (豉汁蒸排骨)
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (鮮蝦燒賣皇)
Fried Pork and Vegetable Dumplings (家鄉鹹水角)
And the dishes that were not so great
Spicy and Sour Dumplings (酸辣雜菜餃子): It kind of tasted like Korean kimchee wrapped by the Chiu Chow Dumpling skin.
Bean Curd Wrapped Enoki Mushroom and Beef (金菇牛肉腐皮卷): We haven't seen this before and thought it'd be worth trying, since it sounded like a spin on the Japanese Beef and Enoki rolls. It wasn't that great though because the filling was a bit too salty.
We almost ordered every single steamed dim sum item available, and amongst us three it was only $264, including 2 more orders of the BBQ Pork Buns to go. Can't really complain about the environment and over-worked staff when you're paying less than $100 per head to eat that much food of good quality.
In conclusion, I would say if you had the time, and had some shopping objectives in Mongkok, have a go at Tim Ho Wan. To avoid standing in front of the store with other equally frustrated and tired patrons for 2+ hours, use the above-mentioned strategy. Also, don't order too many big starchy items like rice or congee, because basically after eating that there isn't room to try anything else.
If you don't have the time, I don't think it's a big deal. For all foodies out there, yes, it is worth trying once to check it off your list of Michelin-starred restaurants to try. For the people who don't have the time and/or don't want to wait, you can always go to Lei Garden - I would say their dim sum is of comparable quality, no crazy waiting time, service and environment are much better, just that you would be paying a bit more.