The next on the must-eat list for Hong Kong was dim sum, of course! My first dim sum lunch was at City Hall Maxim’s Palace and it started with a queue; about an hour after first getting a number, we finally got a table. It’s certainly a big and fancy place and, surprisingly to me, tea was served in the British style – silver service! And trolleys! I miss trolley dim sum and to have it for the first time in years was great fun. I loved how each trolley had signs that said what each contained.
We had quite the spread and highlights included that bottom dish of steamed beef with black pepper and orange peel, …
…these fried squid tentacles, …
…and excellent siu mai.
It was all very good, traditional dim sum but I believe that, in London, the dim sum at Pearl Liang or Princess Gardens matches it.
City Hall Maxim’s Palace
3/F, City Hall
5-7 Edinburgh Place
It was this next place, though, that spoiled me. Tim Ho Wan is most famous for being a budget, hole-in-the-wall dim sum restaurant with a Michelin star in Mongkok. They’re also famous for the crazy crowds that queue for hours to get a table. It’s certainly doing well as it’s now a group (chain?) of three restaurants and it was to the newest branch at Hong Kong station (under the IFC) that we went to have breakfast. At 9-10am on a weekday, it was possible to get a table without having to queue.
Steamed eggplant with soy sauce was delicious and not something I’ve seen at other dim sum lunches.
Pan fried turnip cake was a very good version with lots of thickly shredded daikon radish.
The steamed beef balls with bean curd skin were fantastic – these beef balls were meltingly tender and had a great flavour.
While we were deciding what to order, the man next to us leaned over and insisted we had to order his favourite, the malai goh, a steamed egg cake (the name translates to Malay cake though…is it from Malaysia?). I’m not normally a big fan of this cake and the version we had at City Hall Maxim’s Palace was just ok. This one, however, … you can’t see it here but it was amazingly soft and wobbled gently as the steamer was placed on our table. And yes, it was delicious.
These char siu baked buns are a must order. They’re just about the best pineapple buns I’ve had – the bread was soft, the crust was intensely buttery and crumbly and the char siu filling was generous and wonderfully saucy. Such tasty tasty goodness.
How much for this gorgeous dim sum? Every dish was only about 12-20 HKD, depending on size; it was a bargain.
I’d originally hoped to visit three dim sum places but after my first visit here, that third place got scratched off the list to make way for another visit to Tim Ho Wan to sample more from their menu.
Of course, we had to have the baked char siu buns again. Here’s the shot of their insides.
The prawn and chive cheung fun was good but nothing special compared to other dim sum restaurants.
I wanted to try their “glue dumpling”, an amusing translation for what actually is a large glutinous rice dumpling.
This was amazing with its myriad fillings – dried mushrooms, salted egg yolk, slices of meat. Yes, full on slices of meat. I was sad that we just couldn’t finish it – it was very big.
We also had to order their har gau (prawn dumplings) after seeing a group of men painstakingly pleating the little things in the kitchen on our last visit. And yes, they were excellent but again, ones of similar quality can be found elsewhere.
I love Tim Ho Wan. This branch at the IFC is great – it’s in no way fancy with its wipe down tables and chairs but the food! It has an open kitchen and it’s possible to see the chefs all at work, making the dim sum that will feed all those in the queue. Did I mention it’s also cheap? Yes, it’s a total bargain for the quality – I now understand its popularity.
Tim Ho Wan
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station
(Podium Level 1, IFC Mall)