Friday, January 15, 2010

Tim Ho Wan

I keep getting asked the question “Why did you choose Hong Kong for your elective?”

And my reply is “For the food.”

Usually I get a blank stare in response, the other person probably waiting for me to come up with a punch line of some sort.

But no, really, I came here for the food.

Anyway, when I read that the cheapest Michelin star restaurant is located in Hong Kong, I knew I had to go there during my 4 weeks here. The problem was, the restaurant only sits 20 people, and on our first try there, there was a crowd waiting outside the restaurant, and there happened to be a TV crew as well. Oh yes, this is a Dim Sum restaurant. I’ve also recently declared that I’m sick of Dim Sum, and don’t want to go eat Dim Sum anymore, but this was a must-try, and if I had to eat Dim Sum to get to eat in a Michelin star restaurant, then so be it.

This was at 7.30 pm on a Wednesday night. We were told to come back in 2 hours time or something, so we did not bother (we ended up eating some steak which cost me HKD 140 (that’s RM 70) that wasn’t very good anyway).

So, a week later, I came again with 2 other people, prepared to wait for 2 hours. Arrived at 6. Took a ticket that said 260, and the then current number was 210. The 2 girls went off shopping somewhere while I waited. A lot of people didn’t bother waiting so quite a few numbers were skipped. By 6.50 I gave the girls a call and they came back.

If you’re wondering whether it was fair that I stood there for an hour while they shopped, well, all things considered, I didn’t mind actually. The original plan was for them to walk around Mongkok for 15 minutes then come back and I walk around for 15 minutes and just take turns, but I was afraid that they would not have the patience to wait had they come back after 15 minutes. If they weren’t willing to wait, then I would not have been able to eat here. Turns out they found a nice dress shop and I didn’t hear from them until I called them 50 minutes later, so it all worked out well in the end. Plus, waiting to collect my passport in KL was infinitely more excruciating than this.

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This is a picture of their kitchen. Didn’t get a picture of the seating area, but it was quite cozy and comfortable, considering the amount of people that were packed in the restaurant.

Everything is in Chinese so I don’t know which was what.

You can also see a smiley face which I drew on the top left corner while I was standing outside waiting.

The food did not take long to come. Apparently, everything is made to order. And everything was so good! Also, part of the enjoyment was that I knew that I was eating in a Michelin star establishment, and I was also pretty pleased with myself for being willing to wait an hour to get it. As a result, every dishes’ taste, flavour, and enjoyment was enhanced multiple times. So the enjoyment that I felt is a few times better than the how I am going to describe each dish. For each description that I make, imagine that the food tasted 3 times as good.

This came first. As I was preparing to take a picture and was wondering what it was, the congee then appeared. The quality of the dim sum here is really just that much better than most you get outside. As you can see in the picture, the skin is quite thin, and the each ingredient could be tasted individually. Comparing this to the places where you get dim sums with thick skinned, this place beats them hands down.

The congee was very good as well. One of the girls declared, upon taking a spoon, “This is really quite good.” Considering that she is from Hong Kong, I’ll take her word for it, and I guess everyone else should too.

And then suddenly everything else appeared all at once until our table was stacked up with the bamboo baskets.

My favourite. Har Gao. Again, skin was very thin and delicate, and you could really taste the prawn.

The ribs. Not overly flavoured with the black beans, so you could also taste the pork properly. In other places, you get a very strong black bean flavour, that you don’t actually taste the pork.

Beef balls. Not the best I’ve ever eaten.

Chee cheong fun. Very clean flavoured. Thin outer layer, fresh prawn, and soy sauce.

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Minced beef on rice with a fried egg. And it was the runny egg yolk too!

This was very good. Freshly made, crispy on the outside, and the char siew inside was piping hot. Each bite produced a crunch effect.

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Not a fan of spring rolls. These had cheese and vegetables and some meat inside them. Again, not a fan of spring rolls. No matter how many times you multiply this, I still don’t like spring rolls (which basically means that these were okay).

Ah. The Siew Mai. Remember that there were 4 Har Gao as well. And there’s only 3 of us. Well, this is the first time that I actually prefer the Siew Mai over the Har Gao, and that says a lot. In the end, I took the extra piece of Siew Mai without asking the other 2, and let them fight it out for the last Har Gao.

This is Tim Ho Wan’s Char Siew Pao. Their specialty Char Siew Pao is unlike the usual pork buns; as you can see, the outer crust is actually crispy, and is a bit sweet as well. You could also taste the milk that they used to make it. Very very good, but this took ages to come. We finished all the other dishes and had to wait an extra 15 minutes for these to come out as their oven could only make 8 plates of these at one go. And quite a number of other tables were also just waiting for this last dish as well. What this means is that the throng of people outside had to wait the extra 15 minutes as there were a lot of tables that couldn’t leave because they had to wait for this specialty Char Siew Pao.

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And finally, a picture of their kitchen. The guy happened to put out his hand as I was snapping, which resulted in a pretty good capture.

Good day, and goodbye.

5 comments:

Denise said...

you forgot the 2 tongues for the smiley!

how come your camera can take such nice pictures in hong kong one. don't even need flash this time. tsktsk.

crushedguava said...

some of the pictures are actually quite blur leh. the har gao and the beef balls and the minced meat rice. all blur. they look okay when small only.

changyang1230 said...

Hey Shanghai is not too bad too for food :D

crushedguava said...

But I can understand cantonese better than mandarin. Haha.

ChYn said...

i hate u!!!! all i get is dosa and dosa and dosa and dosa and dosa.... :(