REVIEW

Tim Ho Wan - Sham Shui Po

Tim Ho Wan was first opened in a 30-seat, hole-in-the-wall space in Mong Kok by Mak Pui Gor, who was previously the chef at Lung King Heen, Hong Kong’s only Michelin 3 star Cantonese restaurant.  It had legendarily long lines (at least 3 hours) and low prices (~$10 USD for the whole meal).  He later began expanding, and the Mong Kok location closed due to a rent increase. The Sham Shui Po location is large enough that the waits are manageable but small enough that the tables are still cramped, and it leaves much to be desired in terms of atmosphere and service.  This is the price you pay for the prices you pay, I suppose.

The food lives up to its reputation.  The signature cha siu bao, baked (not steamed) golden buns filled with oozing char siew pork, present a magical contrast between the crispy, crumbly exterior and fluffy, gooey inside, and between the sweet crust and the savory filling.  It calls to mind the famous Robert Graves’ quote that the remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.

Other superb dishes are incredibly fresh, translucent steamed shrimp dumplings; lotus leaf-wrapped glutinous rice, stuffed with pork and duck liver sausage; deep fried spring rolls filled with shrimp and egg white; and light and spongy steamed egg cake.  (The vermicelli roll with pig’s liver and the pan fried carrot cake are considered to be among Tim Ho Wan's four signature dishes, however we do not find them as impressive.)

Is this a restaurant that deserves a Michelin star?  No, of course not.  Anyone who thinks so should go, as I did, to Tim Ho Wan for dim sum, and to Sushi Ta-Ke (which does not have a star) for an omakase dinner in the same day and compare the two (or, if you want to compare Cantonese cuisine, to Man Wah in the Mandarin Oriental hotel).  It is, however, the best value of any restaurant in Hong Kong, which is far from nothing.

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INFORMATION

Kowloon
9-11, G Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
+852 2788-1226
Mon-Sun, 8am-9:30pm
    Mak Pui Gor, Chef

    TAGS

    • Hong Kong
    • Cantonese
    • Chinese
    • Dim Sum
    • Best Brunch
    • Best Value

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