Dubbed the “cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant” in the world, Tim Ho Wan is a Hong Kong-based dim sum restaurant by Chef Mark Gui Pui and Leung Fai Keung that’s been making waves since appearing in the 2010 Hong Kong and Macau Guides. Now with over 45 locations around the world, Tim Ho Wan has settled in Astor Place, opening it’s doors to New Yorkers on December 2016. Eight months later, it’s still generating a line that goes out the door, a testament to its world renowned dim sum dishes.
We got a chance to dine at Tim Ho Wan with a few friends this week, including our good friend and dim sum lover Bettina Cho, who was gracious enough to tune us in on some of her food favorites (see interview below!) Unlike the traditional dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong where dishes make their way around the restaurant in push carts, Tim Ho Wan offers a different experience: waiters deliver each order to you directly from the kitchen (like most restaurants in town). We ordered a good variety of dim sum staples, but one of our favorites, the dish that we both drooled over, were the pork buns. The outside reminded us of our favorite Japanese “melon pan” with a crispy outside and an inside filled with sweet, savory BBQ pork. No to mention the ratio of bread to pork was perfection.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Born and raised here in the States (technically, New Jersey). A 35-year-old, Chinese-American woman who loves music, the arts, and a good mystery. My entire world is packaged into a perfect 21-month-old boy named Beckett (my son). I’m the Director of Special Projects and Legal Affairs at Opening Ceremony; I oversee all collaborations, produce our fashion shows, and serve as in-house counsel.
What was your first dim sum memory?
I’ve been eating dim sum since I was old enough to eat solid foods! It has been always a family affair and a reason for all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents (although they’ve since passed) to spend time together.
What’s your all-time favorite dim sum dish?
This is hard. It used to be pan-fried turnip cake because I’ve loved that dish for the longest time, but I think since venturing to Hong Kong as an adult, I really have come to love this pastry called pineapple pork buns, where the topping is deliciously sweet and crusty (looks like the skin of a pineapple, but there’s no pineapple in it) and the bun is filled with succulent roast pork.
What was your favorite dim sum dish at Tim Ho Wan?
This seems so plain, but the sautéed lettuce was particularly delicious!
What’s your go-to restaurant in NYC?
Mission Chinese Food. It’s just consistently good and a favorite among my friends.
What’s your next food destination?
I’m heading to Shanghai in about 2 days and I’m super excited to eat there. I’ve heard so many amazing things about the local cuisine. If anyone has recommendations, please send my way!
What’s your spirit food?
Kraft’s Mac and Cheese. A staple throughout my life. No matter how bougie I’d ever become, I can’t ever forget my roots.😆