A short post by my recent rambling standards, though one I feel is warranted after the previous post on Tin Lung Heen. I initially wasn’t going to post on Tim Ho Wan, as it was a quick feeding stop for us, yet it offers a different perspective on dim sum dining in Hong Kong; one that is affordable, albeit still frustrating in a different way.
Tim Ho Wan is often referred to as ‘The Worlds Cheapest Michelin Starred Restaurant’, I statement that I certainly wont argue with. Those familiar with the criteria of Michelin should dispel any preconceptions and approach with caution. Fine dining, this is not. No reservations and a queue at whatever time you visit where you are given a slip of paper and a pencil to pre-select the food. Once you get through the door its a bit like my sexual ability; over too quickly and prone to disappointment.
We try a variety of dim sum; fresh spring rolls are gelatinous and difficult on the mouth, the chicken mixture inside light on seasoning. Turnip cake are bland and slightly bitter. Steamed beef balls are soggy and slimy balls of regurgitated mess. It takes baked buns to save the day, donut-like sweet buns filled with soft pork meat. We order seconds.
For want of a better word, service is not as we, or at least I, know it. The lady in the queue barks a number to be remembered when its time to eat, servers deliver endless streams of to multiple tables at once, and the bill is taken at to the counter where an elderly lady speaks down to me whilst staring into my vacant soul. Its an in-and-out operation, cheap and efficient and merciless. The bill, for three of us and tea to drink, reached £11.70 – less than a bottle of mineral water at Tin Lung Heen – which confirms it as ‘The Cheapest Michelin Starred Restaurant In The World To Not Have A Michelin Starred Experience At’. Did I enjoy it? I liked the pork. But for less than four pound a head I couldn’t really care less.