Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong's most famous dumpling house has finally found its way into Sydney's culinary scene. With the news of Tim Ho Wan's arrival spreading like wild fire, we waited with bated breath for its grand opening.
Dumplings at the recently opened Tim Ho Wan in Chatswood.
How famous is Tim Ho Wan? Well, they've received a Michelin star for their simple old-school yum cha dishes and the title of 'cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.'
Tim Ho Wan is housed inside Chatswood's newest dining hall, The District, conveniently located above Chatswood train station. We arrived early on Saturday morning and our heart sunk when we saw the already long queue at 10:30am.
After waiting for almost two hours and sufficiently exhausting all conversation topics, it was finally our turn - and after a wait like that it was only natural that expectations ran high.
Tim Ho Wan's most popular dishes - a must try.
To start off, we ordered their signature dishes. According to the posters, these are the must-haves if you never been to Tim Ho Wan before.
The pan-fried carrot cakes ($6.00) were the first to arrive. Instead of sweet carrot cakes with sugary icings, we actually received a savoury carrot cake. These carrot cakes were lightly pan-fried on both sides and delivered the delicate taste of turnip. In my opinion, they were light on seasoning and worked best as a vessel for the soy chilli sauce.
Pan-fried carrot cake - not what you'd expect.
The next dish we tried was the steamed egg cake ($5.50). This steamed egg cake was fluffy, soft and fragrant, accented with black sugar. The texture was similar to a sponge cake, but better. Apparently these steamed egg cakes are extremely popular so we were very lucky that they hadn't yet sold out.
Get in quick.
The highlight of our meal was the famed baked bun with BBQ pork ($6.80). Unlike your normal steamed white BBQ pork bun, this dish showcased three golden buns encrusted in sweet baked pastry.
Eating these delicate buns was like eating a shortbread biscuit, but with a delicious BBQ pork filling that was both sweet and savoury at the same time. As my friend noted, you could eat these moreish baked buns all day.
The spinach dumpling with shrimp and the prawn dumpling.
Next up we tried the spinach dumpling with shrimp ($6.80) and the prawn dumpling, both of which looked appetising with their gloriously transparent wrapping. The classic steamed prawn dumplings ($7.80 for 4) were nice, but average - it didn't stop me from reaching for a second serving though.
We were feeling adventurous, so we ordered a fish maw with prawn paste ($8.80). There were two servings in the steamer and they looked quite interesting. This was a pricey dish compared to others on the menu and we were undecided about the taste and texture of chewy fish with gelatinous prawn paste. Some friends raved about it, but I was a little unsure, it must be an acquired taste.
An acquired taste; fish maw with prawn paste.
Bean-curd skin roll with pork and shrimp.
One of our final dishes, the steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf ($8.80), was nice, and the serving generous. However there wasn't enough sauce to coat the glutinous rice evenly which left it a little tasteless. On a more positive note, there were plenty of tasty fillings such as Chinese sausage, braised chicken and shiitake mushroom nestled inside the rice parcels.
Glutinous rice in lotus leaf.
These yum cha dishes, while tasty, were not mind-blowingly delicious like you'd expect following a two hour wait. The quality of the ingredients however was great and the variety and prices, especially for a Michelin Starred restaurant, were extremely reasonable.
Tip: If you can, avoid peak lunch and dinner times.
Where: The District, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, 2068.
Cost:Approximately $25 per person.
When: Open every day from 11am - 9pm
Good for kids: Yes, however the wait is long and the space, not ideal for small children.
Take away: No.