Tim Ho Wan after all the hype: Is it really that good?

Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City

Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City

Yes people. I have eaten at Tim Ho Wan only now. I did not want to line-up for almost an hour just to eat dumplings. I have always thought that the place was too hyped due to the Michelin Star of its flagship restaurant in Hong Kong.

It is most probably the cheapest Michelin-Starred restaurant and that is part of the draw. I’ve read all about these “magical” baked pork buns with BBQ sauce. If anything, I like the fact that the line makes all people from different walks of life come together. Cliché alert!

Probably also the only Michelin-starred restaurant that shows pictures of the food before you order

Probably also the only Michelin-starred restaurant that shows pictures of the food before you order. Is this how it’s done in Hong Kong as well?

Tim Ho Wan 4

That’s more like it. Could we just do this for the menu?

Dumplings, buns, some desserts. They’re not so expensive on their own. Consider, however, that you need to buy a lot of them to be able to get your fill.

You are given a slip of paper that also serves as the menu. You put the quantity that you need per dish and then the servers base your orders on this. Pretty efficient but somehow my order of Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling was neglected. They didn’t charge us for it so whatever.

Alright, enough talk. Let’s get to eating!

Dumpling Teochew Style

Not really my favorite dish ever

Not really my favorite dish ever

On paper this seems to be very good. Not really sure about Tim Ho Wan’s recipe but this is supposed to have peanuts, chives, pork, shrimp, radish, and mushrooms. I definitely tasted the peanut and you can see the chives but there is a slightly bitter aftertaste. I don’t really like radish and I’m thinking that’s that taste that I’m not into. But they are packed full and very heavy, worth the money.

Pork Rib in Black Bean Sauce

Got me a tub of rice as well. Heck, I'm Filipino! I need rice!

Got me a tub of rice as well. Heck, I’m Filipino! I need rice!

I’m not a fan of how these were cooked. I want ribs either grilled or fried. These are steamed, traditional in China, but I prefer the American way of preparation. And could we not serve some with bones in them? I got one that was covered with thin meat but when I bit into it I almost lost some teeth.  Having said all that, the taste on this one is actually pretty good.

Steamed Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp

I would have loved it better if it was Steamed Shrimp Dumplings with Spinach #justsaying

I would have loved it better if it was Steamed Shrimp Dumplings with Spinach #justsaying

As you can see, and as suggested by the name, it’s packed full of spinach. But what I don’t like is that they also included some stems. This also had a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Prawn Dumplings

Hello beautiful

Hello beautiful

These are amazing! Packed full of plump shrimp! Unless you have an allergy you must definitely try these! It’s so much better than your ordinary hakaw. That is all! Buy them!

Spring Roll with Egg White

How can something that seems so simple be so awesome?!

How can something that seems so simple be so awesome?!

Lumpia. I’ll forever call these things lumpia. But I’ve never had lumpia this good before.

The wrapper is thin and flaky and thus does not mask the taste of the filling. That filling is simply egg white, shrimp, and some veggies. It is so damn good! Be warned, however, these are served piping hot and you may burn the insides of your mouth if you dig in too early.

Baked Buns with BBQ Sauce

Of course. It won't be a review of Tim Ho Wan without these babies.

Of course. It won’t be a review of Tim Ho Wan without these babies.

The signature dish. They are not asado siopao.

I have always thought that the bun would be somewaht hard. But biting it for the first time was a pleasant surprise. They are made of soft and flaky pastry. I was also not prepared for the their sweet taste. Wow! I’ll eat the buns alone all day if I can.

But, and I may get a lot of hate for this, the filling was nothing special. I would have loved it better if they had a more smoky flavor. I mean the buns are already sweet but do I also need that in the filling? And it is supposed to be Pork BBQ. But that’s just my personal preference.

Ruminations…

As of this writing, Tim Ho Wan has three branches in the Philppines: SM Megamall, Glorietta 3, and SM North Edsa. That will probably cause lines to diminish during off-peak hours but I will probably still be crazy during lunch and dinner, especially during weekends.

The calm before the storm...

The calm before the storm…

So is it worth to line-up for almost an hour? No. It’s good but you can probably be better off eating somewhere else when there is a long queue. But if there is only a small smattering of people waiting for tables? Go ahead! And if you do, please tell me about the Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumplings.

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