Monday, September 27, 2010

Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong by Big Phil

It reached the stage where I had so much leave accumulated HR was on my back to take some or be 'deemed on leave', so Hungry Pete and myself made a quick(ish) trip to Hong Kong and Macau. Neither of us had seen more than Hong Kong airport before, so this was our big chance to try the homes of Dim Sum and Portuguese Egg Tarts.

The first place we tried was a small, one star dim sum place. One Michelin star that is. Tim Ho Wan is billed as the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world and with a billing like that it was somewhere we had to try. Unsurprisingly the restaurant is very popular. We arrived 30 minutes before opening time and a line had already formed. The restaurant only held maybe 30 very close seats, and we were lucky to get in on the first seating.

At Tim Ho Wan you fill in a form indicating which dim sum you want and they arrive fresh from the kitchen. First to arrive, and my favourite, were the char sui bao (pork buns). These were different to the normal steamed buns, with a slightly sweet and crispy, almost biscuit/scone like surface.The pork itself was high quality. Perfectly cooked, different and very good.

I love deep fried pork dumplings so they were something else I had to try. While these were good - not oily and crispy on the outside - they didn't have enough of the contrasting texture between the crispy outside dumpling skin and softer slightly chewy inside skin which I like so much. I think this is because the dumpling skin was slightly thinner than I am used to.

I have tried Chiu Chow dumplings before and I sometimes find them a little stodgy. These were amongst the best I have had, with a slightly sticky skin and full of peanuts, pork and other tasty ingredients.

Both Hungry Pete and I are big fans of beef tendons as part of yum cha, although not that many places in Melbourne provide them. Tim Ho Wan offered a variety I hadn't tried before - deer tendons. These were smaller than beef, and the tendons were more delicate in flavour but not as gelatinous in texture as some beef tendons I've had, although this could have been more to do with the preparation than any innate difference betweenthe two types of tendons.

Several types of steamed rice noodles (Cheong Fun) were offered, and we ordered the prawn and roast pork versions. These were delicate and nicely flavoured, with a slightly slippery texture. While I normally prefer the prawn I thought the pork were slightly the better.

Finally we ordered the Mango pudding for desert. This involves a mango flavoured mousse embedded with mango pieces. I thought it was good but I've had better, however Hungry Pete was very impressed.

Very small restaurant, where you need to be careful not to bump elbows with your neighbours. I'd advise that you turn up at least half an hour before opening time (10am), otherwise you'll be waiting quite a while. However the quality of the dim sum varied from good to excellent, and at the price is amazing value for money ($120 Hong Kong for the two of us, around $17-18 Australian). The major difference between dim sum at Tim Ho Wan and other dim sum restaurants we tried in Hong Kong, and that available in Melbourne, is the finesse involved in completing the dishes.

20 Kwong Wa Street
Mong Kok Kowloon Hong Kong

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