Tim Ho Wan: the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world

It’s not every day one can say they’ve enjoyed a Michelin-starred dining experience dressed in clothes better suited to an afternoon of Netflix and pizza. But Hong Kong is no ordinary place. In a city that shines with the blinding light of 62 Michelin stars, a quality meal ain’t hard to find.

Dim sum (literally meaning “to touch your heart”) is a must dining experience in Hong Kong, and for the best in town, it’s hard to go past Tim Ho Wan. There are a few locations across town and each are tangible proof that you don’t need fancy surroundings to enjoy an unforgettable gourmet experience.

I’d advise not to leave it until the last minute of your trip to pay a visit – on any day at any branch, the lines are unpredictable. Leaving it, as my lovely other half and I did, with two hours to go before we were due at the airport for our flight back to Dubai, tempers were high – especially since we both skipped breakfast with every intention of coming to THW’s to stuff our faces until comatose.

There was a small crowd surrounding the entrance of the IFC Central branch (Podium Level Two, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street) by the time we arrived at 11am. Our number was written on the already long waiting list before we were ushered to join the huddle of other waiting diners. It’s easy to pass the time – at the Central branch, you can peek through the kitchens and see the masters at work, surrounded by tall stacks of steamers coming in and out feeding hungry hordes.

But after 40 minutes the wait was wearing thin (we had a flight to catch, after all) – and it was then that I turned to the Mister and asked what would ordinarily be an unspeakable question in the world of Michelin-starred restaurants:

“Should we order takeaway?”

The risk was obvious. Takeaway never tastes the same as in-house dining. But our time was limited. The order must be completed. We took a menu, ticked off a few items, and 15 minutes later a giant plastic bag filled with dim sum goodness was thrust into our hands.


Walking out of IFC mall and into the warm spring air, we found a spare sitting ledge in an empty courtyard nearby, grabbed our chopsticks, and discovered Heaven. Melt-in-your-mouth duck rolls, vege dumplings, shrimp dumplings, and the most INSANE baked barbecue pork buns accompanied by Jolly Shandy in a can, because Hong Kong.




The foodgasm was intense and completely justified making the special trip (and the hunger-induced arguing along the way). All up, this spread you see in the pic above set us back HKD 120 – USD 15. Best 15 bucks we’ve ever spent.