If you are in Hong Kong, you will find yourself surrounded by dim sum restaurants virtually anywhere. When hunger strikes, and sometimes in the middle of the night after a few rounds of drinks, the ultimate comfort food here may not only be greasy pizzas, hot dogs or kebab, but glorious bamboo steamers of your favorite shrimp dumplings, beef balls and spring rolls. Its popularity has since made its way into around the clock convenience stores. Of course, the authenticity and quality of such remains questionable. Nevertheless, it’s the city’s ultimate comfort food, in every definition.
There are tons of places where you can find affordable dim sum at decent quality. What you sacrifice for, most likely, is the ambience of the place and service from the wait staff. As long as your expectations are set in determining what you are in the mood for the day, you shouldn’t get a heart attack seeing the bill. The latter can still happen in plenty of western and japanese places in town though.
Some of my Hong Kong friends say that Tim Ho Wan is overrated. Is Tim Ho Wan a one-hit wonder? I still think it serves quality dim sum at very reasonable prices, with my entire bill at about HK$100 for 7 dishes! But I won’t queue more than an hour for this.
Tim Ho Wan is the hole-in-the-wall dim sum restaurant that scored One Michelin Star, thereby earning its reputation as the ‘cheapest Michelin Star restaurant in the world’. Owner-chef known as Pui-Gor (Chef Mak Kwai Pui) is formerly from 3-star Michelin restaurant Lung King Heen.
His signature Baked Bun with Barbecued Pork (HK$16 for 3) is seriously the best I ever eaten. Very similar to a bolo bao, the sweet pastry covered bun is light and fluffy, with skin so thin, and saucy char siew pork within almost oozing out.