Be advised though that while it is fun to dine in numbers, it is not so fun to see smaller groups just pass you by in the queue when tables are available.
Tim Ho Wan is decked out like most dim sum places in Hong Kong, with rows of bamboo containers adorning the upper walls of the restaurant, setting the tone for a great dim sum feast. It is only relatively more posh and spacious. I say relatively because while it is an improvement by Hong Kong standards, diners will still stand a very high chance of getting bumped into by waiters making their way to tightly packed tables around the restaurant.
Food wise, it was an easy call. The 4 Heavenly Kings were must-tries.
Served in plates of 3 and limited to just 1 plate per customer whether you are dining in, taking out or both, the Baked Buns with BBQ pork are by far the best dish in the menu. The light airy crust is unlike any other version of Char Siew Buns one can get locally and the crust itself actually tasted fragrant if u catch my drift, perfectly complementing the BBQ Pork filling. The main gripe: The filling was so sparse that looked more like a dash of flavouring than actual filling.
The very common carrot cake takes on a new spin at Tim Ho Wan. Bits of Chinese sausage (lup cheong) and radish were interspersed throughout the carrot cake, giving the crispy fried cake that was already savoury additional flavour.
Colloquially known as Chee Cheong Fun and available with either Char Siew or Shrimp, the third Heavenly King offered a new choice of filling with pork liver instead. The pork liver did give additional 'bite' to the dish and a stronger flavour, but the Vermicelli Roll was just too thick and dry and the pork liver too little.
At the time of dining, the restaurant staff mentioned that the 4th Heavenly King, the Steamed Egg Cake, had already been sold out since quite early on in the day. Is it really that good? *Professional Foodie Curiosity*
Other dim sum that I ordered:
A staple in almost any dim sum meal, the prawn dumplings were okay, but they didn't wow at that price point. The prawns were succulent but didn't taste very fresh and I personally thought that the translucent wheat dough skin was a tad too thick.
Aka Siew Mai, the pork dumplings were sad to say, pretty ordinary as well. You could give credit for the fresh ingredients but again, I wasn't dazzled as I would expect of a Michelin-starred restaurant.
While the Bean Curd Skin Roll wasn't evenly fried and crispy in places, it was still pretty much complementary to the mixed filling of pork and shrimp which even though was threadbare, still tasted very much savoury and left me wanting for more.
The Osmanthus Petal Cake was pretty much integral to the hype and photos surrounding the introduction of Tim Ho Wan. One could very well say that it's one of the most picture-perfect ready dish of the restaurant. A professed carnivore, I wasn't really a fan of the flowery taste of the gelatinous cake as well as the strands of osmanthus strewn throughout the jellied cake. But I was the minority, so don't take my word for it.
All in all, my trip to Tim Ho Wan didn't quite live up to the high expectations generated from all that hype.
Is it worth a visit though? For the sensational Baked Buns with BBQ Pork I would! And now I can say that I have dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Can you? =D
Recommended Dish(es): Baked Buns with BBQ Pork
Date of Visit: Apr 23, 2013
Spending per head: Approximately $25(Dinner)
Keep it up!