“Yum cha”—the meal where baskets of delicate dumplings and other goodies are accompanied with fragrant tea, is is the staple meal to Hong Kongers, or as they like to call it, “dim sum.” Coming from a Hong Kong family, I've had the chance to eat a lot of dim sum in my life. Yet, it is so hard to find good dim sum in the U.S. because it's often not authentic and consists of not-so-delicate dumplings with a plethora of MSG. This past summer, I had the chance to taste where these delectable delights came from, the birthplace of dim sum: Hong Kong. I ended my Hong Kong journey thinking that I had experienced the best dim sum of my life.

Tim Ho Wan

When I came to New York City, I was told to go check out “Tim Ho Wan,” near NYU's campus, for some of the best dim sum in the city. I checked some reviews online and to my surprise, everyone loved it. Most importantly, it was deemed the cheapest restaurant in the world with a Michelin Star. That definitely made me want to try it out even more. I looked at the times as well and they are open for service until 10pm on weeknights and 11pm on weekends, which surprised me since most dim sum restaurants only serve dim sum during the day. They rarely serve late-night dim sum and if they do, it's the food left over from the day, so it's not fresh.

The Food

I definitely was still skeptical of Tim Ho Wan until the first dishes were wheeled out to my table. When I initially saw the line that was outside of the restaurant, I started having high hopes. The shrimp dumplings (Har Gow) were very light; the transparent dumpling skin was fragile and soft. Accompanied with the chewy shrimp, the dumplings were sublime (I’m salivating while writing this).

Next came the shumai (another type of dumpling); hands down one of the best I've ever had. Another shocking twist was the addition of the goji berries on top. The sweetness of the berries balanced out the salty meaty filling of the dumplings. My friend couldn't even wait for me to take a picture and immediately started eating. So much for the phone eats first. 

Matthew Kang
Matthew Kang

The star of the show was definitely Tim Ho Wan’s famous baked BBQ pork buns (Char Siu Bao). I would normally find a pork bun such as this to be a bit boring, so I wouldn't typically order it. However, this bun is like a pastry with its crunchy flaky crust. The bun itself is fluffy and soft. The filling is also very critical in a dumpling, as it is easy for the filling to be overbearing or too salty. This bun was just perfect. I would also recommend trying the shrimp and chive dumpling (if you're not too full by now). 

Matthew Kang
Matthew Kang

Final Thoughts

All in all, Tim Ho Wan has definitely established itself as a go-to spot for me when I have those dim sum cravings or just miss Hong Kong. I would say it's definitely worth the hype. 

For more dim sum recommendations in the city, click here