Without a doubt the food-related highlight of my trip to Hong Kong this year, I would have to say Tim Ho Wan (添好運) is worth all the hype it has been getting. Not only is it not as expensive as most of the restaurants I’ve shared in my previous food post, the food and service are quite good.
My uncle who is a Hong Kong local began lining up as early as 8.30 in the morning so we could make the first batch of diners when the restaurant opened at 10am. So if you are planning to eat here, plan accordingly for the line-up time. I can assure you a crowd of people will always be waiting outside!
The things people are willing to do for food can sometimes be mind-blowing.
The inside of the restaurant is actually quite simple and quite busy from the moment it opens. The chefs begin cooking up a dimsum storm and I happily watch from afar as they make and shape the dumplings, remembering how much I enjoy making these myself albeit in a calmer and quieter environment.
Once you are ready to order, they give you a piece of paper that doubles as the menu and order form. Beside each dish-name is a square for you to write how many orders of each dish you want. In my dreams I would tell the waitress: ‘One order of every dumpling!’
There is the typical Chinese breakfast dishes such as Beef Congee with Century Egg, or rice toppings with pork and chicken parts cooked in many different ways.
And then there are the typical dimsum and dumplings, like wontons, Shrimp Ha Kaw and Beef Balls.
There is this dish called the Chiu Chow Dumplings that I also like to call the Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Dumplings. Eating it I felt like I was eating a million things as my mouth and my mind worked through each and every bit, processing the peanut here, the mushroom there, a pop of shrimp, the crunch of small veggies… This mixed stuffing dumpling literally is like a party in the mouth!
The Glutinous Rice with Meat Stuffing was one of my favourites. Opening the folds of the leaves one by one reveals warm smoke like wisps of magic, and slowly your mind begins to imagine the wonders of the beautiful sticky rice within. Even better, as you take your first bite you realise the dish exceeds your expectations.
But the raison d’être of this restaurant- the single thing every food writer or blogger who has eaten here seems to constantly rave about- is their Char Siu Bao. Their famous BBQ Pork Buns are different in that instead of the traditional soft white bun, this version has a thinner “crust” baked to a crispy perfection.
The sweet “casing” gives way to a sweet-savory BBQ pork filling, and it is at the moment of that first crunch that the eater unknowingly falls in love with this unique pork bun. The only time they fully realise this new-found affair is when they end up buying a bazillion pieces for take out. Ours flew all the way back to Manila with us.
Tim Ho Wan 添好運
Some other eats
When we were walking about in Ngongping Village at Lantau Island, we decided to have a snack at Wo Lung Kee, which was mostly selling local delicacies like Chinese candied nuts and dried meats.
They had a station at the centre of the shop that was used to cook siu mai and curry balls. It’s very hard for me to stop myself from eating siu mai when it looks as appetizing as this, especially when there is some darn good chili sauce involved. Yum!
If craving something hot and more filling, these glutinous rice treats may do the trick.
But if you’re looking for something cold, these colourfully layered ice cream bites are not only cute to look at, but they are nice to munch on as well.T his is a great way to share and enjoy ice cream if you’re only looking to cool down a little bit.
You can also buy some Hong Kong pancakes here, which are basically these cakes that look kind of like giant bubble wrap. Honestly you’ll need the snack if you want some energy to trek up the 240 steps to see The Big Buddha.
This time around I was a little sad because we didn’t get to eat among the hawker stalls in Mongkok save for this stinky tofu stall we happened to pass by.
Most of these tiny stalls sell snack items like fried Hong Kong noodles, curry fishballs, and the like (even takoyaki), and they’re scattered all over Hong Kong, so it’s really easy to find some place to eat whenever one feels hungry. These hawker snack foods are an important part of the Hong Kong culture, as evidenced by the people packed in front of food stalls all over Mongkok.
But if you’re not much of a hawker food fan, then there is always McDonald’s with warm bowls of macaroni soup for breakfast, or the sundaes sprinkled with Horlicks. Or you can visit Hong Kong’s version of Starbucks called Pacific Coffee Company for a cup of their Matcha Latte I love so much. In Causeway Bay there is this really nicely decorated branch which just exudes great vintage vibes. (Unfortunately I failed to take a photo because I just saw it as I was hurrying by.)
I’m hoping for another trip back, hopefully soon, for more adventures in food and sight-seeing. It’s been a while since I’ve been back in Hong Kong, but every time I go to Hong Kong I fall right into the rhythm of the city. I’d better stock up on comfortable footwear now.
You can check out my post about the things I saw during my 2013 visit! Also check out the first part of my foodtrip here in Hong Kong!