I have found it. The crown jewel of dim sum. The one pork bun to rule them all. And you would have never guessed…it’s found in a nondescript eatery in a non-touristy part of Hong Kong.
How can one get this excited about a pork bun you ask? A little background is in order.
It’s no secret among our friends and families that we are street foodies at heart.
We haven’t posted a whole lot about our street food adventures (though that will be changing very soon), but we get off the beaten path with our palates as much as we do with our boots.
I won’t lie, this has as much to do with economics as it does with being adventurous. After all, who wants to pay $12 for a fancy dinner of pad-thai noodles, green curry chicken, and a couple of Singha beers at a typical Bangkok tourist restaurant, when the same can be had down the street a few blocks for $4…minus the fancy table cloths and air-conditioning.
That $8 saved? That’s two more awesome meals that we can have…with different menu items to boot! In some countries we've been to, that same $8 is shelter for a night. ;)
Every once in a while, we do splurge…like we did when we had champagne brunch at the Four Seasons in Mumbai, featuring bottomless Veuve Cliquot. We figured, the room was free…so what the hell…let’s go for it!
Fine dining like that can really break the budget of a long-term traveler, so as a rule we try not to make it a habit. So in Hong Kong, when we found out about the cheapest Michelin-star rated restaurant in the world we just had to pay a visit!
Now where was I... Oh yeah! How can I get excited about a pork bun?
If you’ve ever had a pork bun, you’ll know it’s a pretty simple concept. Marinate some pork, grill it, stuff it into a doughy white roll, steam it and serve. Cheap, filling, and tasty too. Bam! One or two of them will fill you up until your next meal.
Tim Ho Wan restaurant on Fuk Wing Street in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. Takes the pork bun(and other dim sum delights such as siu mai) to a whole ‘nuther level. Guess they would have to…what with being Michelin rated and all.
The bun is baked as opposed to steamed, giving it a toasty outside texture with a light and fluffy inner texture…much like a croissant. And who doesn’t love a croissant? :)
The filling…OMG…the filling. What I would do for that recipe. It’s got the perfect blend of saltiness and sweetness, no doubt due to some high-quality honey and a secret recipe.
And the meat is just perfect. If there were such a thing as Kobe Pork…that might be what they use here!
The other dim sum did not disappoint either. The outer wrapping’s almost al dente-like texture gave way to perfectly seasoned bits of shrimp and pork inside.
I think it’s safe to say, Tim Ho Wan is dim sum heaven. While the restaurant won’t be taking home any awards for best ambience…the food will knock your socks off.
And for us, that’s all that matters (we enjoy the simplicities of street food just fine…remember?)
The best part of all is that you can come back again and again to this Michelin rated restaurant without having to take a second mortgage out on the house.
Lunch for four of us - including double orders of the incredible pork buns - cost a paltry $7USD per person.
Tim Ho Wan is indeed the world’s cheapest Michelin-Star rated restaurant.
There are multiple locations, but the one went to is at:
G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Nearest MTR station: Tsuen Wan Line, Sham Shui Po, Exit B2
Tel 2788 1226
Opening hours: 8am-9.30pm daily