Monday, December 05, 2016

chinese/dim sum: i strongly recommend TIM HO WAN

No. 36, ZhongXiao W Rd, Sec. 1
(02) 2370-7078

MRT: Taipei Main Station

website: Tim Ho Wan Taiwan's FB page

hours: 10AM - 10PM


Kid friendliness: high chairs available and lots to choose from for dim sum loving kids

Visit reviewed: 11/10/2014 & 1/30/2015 & 6/29/2015 & 12/4/2016

WILL PEOPLE LINE UP FOR YOUR RESTAURANT? That seems to be the gauge for new places opening up in Taipei. People infamously lined up for hours for Mister Donut, Krispy Kreme, Honey Pig, Honey Creme, Hai Di Lao, Taipei In and Out pop up, and a few years ago, it was Tim Ho Wan. I just revisited Tim Ho Wan today and realized that I had this blog draft sitting in my folder for the past few years! So here it finally is...

Tim Ho Wan is famous for being one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants you can dine at with dishes averaging about NT$100+ for its dim sum. I've never been to the original location in Hong Kong, but luckily I was with a group of friends who knew how to order-- everything on the menu! To my surprise, everything lived up to its reputation and was delicious-- my favorite was the baked bun with bbq pork which had an thin, sweet crust instead of the bready white bun we have grown up with. 

I would stick to the dim sum over the rice bowls or congee that they have, which I think are better at places like Lao Yo Ji. Also note there isn't much for strict vegetarians here, most of their dishes that might seem to be vegetarian might have pork fat or oil in it, so there's only one or two things that you'd be able to try here if you are vegetarian. For an entire array of vegetarian dim sum, you can head over to Yang Shin

If you only have a group of two or four people, then the MUST ORDERS at Tim Ho Wan are the baked bbq bun, the shrimp or pork liver chang fun, the pork dumpling with shrimp (aka siu mai) and one of the more unique fried items like the spring roll with egg white, and save room for the mango pomelo sago and steamed egg cake. Those were my favorites. 

Baked bun with bbq pork (NT$118 for 3) The first time I had this, I loved it. But on my most recent visit, I noticed that it can be a little overly sweet since the filling is sweet and the bun itself is sweet. But inside the bun is mostly air and so it's easy to finish one. But I don't think I could eat more than one in one sitting. 

The chang fun here is dubbed the vermicelli roll, and comes with shrimp, bbq pork, beef, plain or pork liver. 

Vermicelli Roll with Pork Liver (NT$128) 

Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (NT$128)

Spring Roll with Egg White (NT$98) 

 Vermicelli Roll with Sweet and Sesame Sauce (NT$108) vegetarian

Steamed Prawn Dumpling (NT$138)

Pan fried carrot cake (NT$98 for 3) aka Radish cake is soft and not that crispy, but it's good and you can taste the chunks of radish inside. 

Steamed Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce (NT$108) 

Steamed Beef Ball with Beancurd Skin (NT$98)

Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp (NT$98) 

Braised Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce (Not for me, but so you can see the portion and size and how it was more saucy on one visit than the other :) 

Spinach dumpling with shrimp - one of the few with veggies in it. 

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Shrimp

Wasabi Salted Prawn Dumpling (NT$128)

Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg and Salted Egg (NT$108) I still like the the congee at Lao Yo Ji the best. 

Seasonal Veggies

Rice with Beef and Fried Egg (NT$138)

Chicken, sausage and mushroom rice (NT$138) 

Glutinous rice with lotus leaf (NT$128) I would get this over the rice bowls- it's massive enough to share and the glistening sticky rice is stuffed with meat, mushrooms and surprises.

Mango Pomelo Sago (NT$118) Yum! I'll always remember the first time I had this kind of dessert in Hong Kong, and this dessert soup is refreshing at the end of the meal.

Steamed Egg Cake (NT$98) To my surprise, I liked this a lot! Fluffy and spongy, this was like a moist brown sugar cake.

Now that there are several locations and take out counters, the lines aren't as insane on a daily basis, but on weekends make a reservation in advance to avoid the wait. Also good news is that they haven't raised their prices yet since opening. 


Xinyi Mitsukoshi A8, B2
No. 12, SongGao Rd, Xinyi District
(02) 2722-9358
11AM- 9:30PM; until 10PM on friday and weekends

Hankyu Mall Food Court
No 8, ZhongXiao E. Road, Sec. 5, B2
(02) 2729-3378
7:30AM-9:30PM; until 10PM on friday and weekends (wow! 730AM!)

No. 28 XinDian Road, B1
(02) 2955-7978
11AM- 10PM

No. 251, Taiwan DaDao Sec. 3
(04) 2258-6778

No.777, Bo'ai 2nd Road, Zuoying Dist | B1F, Hanshin Arena Shopping Plaza, Kaohsiung 813


Ray said...

Hi! Can you mark which locations have takeout? I doubt I can get my family out to the restaurant but they'll eat it if I bring it back to them :)

joanh said...

@ray I think all the locations have take out, but for sure the original location and Xinyi Mitsukoshi

Anonymous said...

I lunched at Tim Ho Wan (same location) today and was pretty disappointed with the food. Quality was okay and the taste was clean, so at least there was no funkiness as you sometimes get in lesser grade Cantonese restaurants in the US (of which there are many). But something about the way the foods were prepared made them seem more like play things instead of delectable morsels as dim sum ought to be. There were no steam rising, no aromas wafting, no flavors popping, no juices running or textures or liveliness from any of the dishes I tried! I really don't know how they got that Michelin star. Love your many other recommendations, by the way. I first heard of 上引水產, 阜杭豆漿, and 均合包子 from your blog. They have become favorite absolute must-eats everytime I'm in TW. Thanks!

joanh said...

Anonymous- thanks for your feedback! I hear what you're saying but it's a bummer. I was torn between leaving a strongly recommend and recommend since my latest visit (at different location) wasn't as memorable as when it first opened. I didn't know if it was because it was a different location or just because quality had slid. Like you said, it's not bad, just not lively.. For other dim sum you could try Chao Ping Ji or Brother Hotel or Parents.. I'm glad you found some other favorites. Thanks for taking a time to leave a comment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional recommendations! I've heard good things about Parents, maybe I'll try that one next. Again, I must say I love and really appreciate your blog and Instagram! I follow them periodically throughout the year and especially when preparing for my annual trip to Taiwan every December.

joanh said...

Cool! Thx again for following and commenting. It is so rare these days. Haha! It's been awhile since I've been to Parents but they rock a full menu. Get the mini egg tarts if you go

Anonymous said...

Are there any vegetarian/eggetarian dimsums here?

Guy said...

The one (and only) time I visited Tim Ho Wan in Taipei, I was also disappointed. The spinach and shrimp steamed dumplings were LOADED with garlic (absolutely not the way a competent Cantonese chef would do this). The sticky rice had no fragrance from the leaf and was slathered with a thick processed brown sauce. It's possible the kitchen was having a bad day. But what I tried was insultingly below basic Cantonese standards. I would not go back.


joanh said...

@anonymous 1/2017- yes! Actually there is a really good vegetarian dim sum called Yang Shin

@guy- when I went to the mitsukoshi branch, I thought the food wasn't as good as when I went to the first location. Hopefully they can maintain quality. Sucks you didn't have a good experience. Thanks for sharing it with us