2016 Dining Recap


Having visited a handful of Michelin starred, World’s 50 Best and other top restaurants in Asia and Europe, 2016 was great dining year. My journey began at Hong Kong where I dined at Lung King Heen, the very first three Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in the world. Needless to say, it had an extremely high quality Cantonese food. The restaurants location on the fourth floor of the Four Season hotel boasts a panoramic view of Victoria Harbor. The two Michelin-starred Amber at Landmark Mandarin Oriental offers a terrific weekend wine lunch which consists of five courses paired with four glasses of wine. This was one of the best deals out there at 928 HKD for a restaurant at this caliber. Dinner at the L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (the only of the L’Ateliers with three Michelin stars) was also quite superb.

I waited in queue for hours at Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po, which at that time was the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world (until that distinction was awarded to Singapore’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken in the summer of last year). The dim sum was tasty and I enjoyed every single dish that I had. Frog legs and chicken congee at Tasty Congee & Wuntun Noodle Shop in the IFC was nothing short of delicious. Even better was the chicken and fish congee at the concierge recommended Sang Kee Congee Shop in Sheung Wan. 208 Ducento Otto serves up wonderful cocktails while Angel Share Whisky Bar & Restaurant and its expansive list of whisky is a must-visit for enthusiast while in Hong Kong.

That same journey through Asia led me to Tokyo, Japan. I had my very first meal in this sprawling metropolis at RyuGin, Chef Seiji Yamamoto’s flagship restaurant which has three Michelin stars and ranked number 31 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant. The modern kaiseki that it serves is a reflection of the agricultural bounty of Japan. With each dish skillfully prepared, this was one of the best meals I’ve had. In Ginza, the Omakase at the three Michelin-starred Sushi Yoshitake did not disappoint. The fish and other seafood used in every single piece of Nagiris were extremely fresh. Sushi might be star of the show at this restaurant, but the cooked dishes were equally sublime. It was highlighted by the abalone liver sauce mixed with sushi rice which was a mind-blowing dish that still resonates in my memory.

Hideki Ishikawa is Japan’s most decorated chef/restaurateur with three restaurants under his belt totaling eight Michelin stars. He also has the distinction shared by the likes of the Robuchon’s , the Keller’s and the Ducasse’s to have two restaurants at the same with the maximum rating from the Michelin guide. At his eponymous Ishikawa, I was served a wonderful contemporary style kaiseki that shows simplicity with plenty of subtle flavors. I also visited Kohaku the other three star restaurant of Chef Ishikawa, which is located in the same area and within walking distance from each other. The kitchen is under Koji Koizumi a disciple of Chef Ishikawa. There are many of similarities between them, but the two are distinctly different at the same time. Kohaku is a more modern prepared kaiseki that incorporate foreign ingredients, which are not usually use in Japanese cuisine.

Japan is surprisingly home to one of the finest French restaurant outside of France. Others can argue that it might better than its home country due to the high quality of ingredients it uses produced by Japan. Many of the top French chefs has an outpost sprinkled throughout country, but a large number of them are concentrated in Tokyo. I had a superb tasting menu at Chef Pierre Gaganaire, Two restaurant Peirre Gagnaire Au Tokyo on the 35floor of the ANA Intercontinental, which was awarded two Michelin stars. Each plate were carefully crafted, using only the finest local ingredients. As a bonus, guests enjoyed the scenic view of the whole city as the backdrop while dining. In Roppongi Hills, I dined at Chef of the Century Joel Robochon L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Along with Paris, the Tokyo branch is one of the first L’Ateliers. Having previously gone to the Hong Kong location, these two Michelin starred restaurant are a lot more casual, yet the quality of food is equally top-notched.

Inside the train station in Ginza, resides a minuscule ramen shop called Kagari Echika, which has garnered a lot of following. They served me tasty bowl of ramen, with a broth that has a certain delightful creaminess. In Shinjuku, high above the mall of the train station is Tenichi, where I had some delicate fried tempura accompanied with fresh sashimi. While at Sushi Mamire, I was served with affordable yet enjoyable pieces of sushi and rolls. Pagliaccio Due in Shiba, is an Italian restaurant that serves pleasant dishes like the Seafood Rissotto, and the spaghetti with fish. Night caps in the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, were made lively with tunes from a funky jazz show. Soon after I feasted with the hotel famous weekend brunch. Finally, visiting Japan is not complete without trying the world famous Kobe beef. At Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511, I had a magical experience without breaking the bank. The beef was as good as advertised, and every bite was heavenly like cotton candy that melts in the mouth.

From Izakaya’s, to noodle shops, to high end kaiseki, sushi (as well as low end), and to fine French restaurants, I had the greatest time dining in Tokyo. The uncompromising use of quality ingredients in this city restaurant makes Tokyo the gastronomic capital of the world. The two weeks I spent there was simply not enough.

The next stop in my search and passion for fine dining was a short trip to Basel, Switzerland. I had the opportunity to dine at the three Michelin star, Cheval Blanc. The restaurant is located in one of Europe’s oldest hotel Le Trois Rois. Bavarian chef Pete Knogl, is in charge of the kitchen and under his leadership Cheval Blanc was elevated to culinary stardom. The tasting menu has global influences and shows the precision cooking technique of Chef Knogl. Each dish was light and has a fantastic complex combination of flavors and textures.

I couldn’t end 2016 without grazing the home front for some great eats. After all, no one can beat New York City in anything, (at least to a New Yorker that is). I had very good meals at the Upper East Side’s, The NUAA. This beautifully decorated restaurant serves refined Thai fare that’s geared towards the Western palate. Last year, I saw an onslaught of new eateries opening up in the Financial District improving the neighborhood’s restaurants scene. Among them is Eataly Downtown which opened to the public last summer. Much smaller than its older siblings in the Flatiron, this mega food market brought a slew of dining options that includes another outlet of the seafood haven, Il Pesce. The restaurant offers appetizing sustainable seafood prepared in the simplest form. As the last stop of my 2016 journey, West Village Carma Asian Tapas, served an unmatchable creative Far Eastern fare in small plate format. I enjoyed the way the kitchen recreated classic Chinese dishes, as well as using other Western ingredients that aren’t usually found in Asian cooking.

Though 2016 didn’t boast much of my hometown’s variety of eateries, it was a star studded year of dining in the international level. Overall, I would say it was great and successful year of eating. I’m looking forward to an even better 2017 where I plan to focus on New York City, its outer boroughs and state side. Hopefully, I can sprinkle few international trips here and there.

Amber **

Dining Room

At The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
15 Queen’s Road, Central
Hong Kong, China
+852 2132 0066
Official Site

In Hong Kong, Western fare, like French, has a strong presence and is as popular as their local Cantonese counterpart. The top cooking personalities from France such as Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse have all setup locations in this city.  The most famous French restaurant, and many believed to be the best in Hong Kong, is the The Landmark Madarin Oriental Hotel flagship restaurant Amber. In a twist of irony the restaurant was led not by a French chef but by a Dutch chef, Richard Ekkabus. He trained under Michelin starred chefs in the Netherlands and in Paris with Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard and Guy Savoy. Since 2005 Chef Ekkabus has been the hotel’s culinary director which oversees the restaurant and lounge. Under his guidance, Amber was awarded  two Michelin stars in the guides inaugural edition in 2009 and has retained it ever since as well as being included in the San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 best restaurants and in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list every year. Currently restaurants day to day operation is being handled by chef de cuisine Maxime Gilbert.

mushroom and egg custard with puer and mushroom tea the mushroom macaroon with pumpkin puree “beignet”

Amber’s weekend wine lunch was one of the best deals of any top restaurant out there. It consists of six-courses with wine pairing for 928 HKD.  The meal began with a series of amuse bouche that primarily contained mushroom as one of the main ingredients starting with mushroom and egg custard with puer and mushroom tea. Served in a small cup was the fantastic custard below a strong savory tea.  Then there was the mushroom macaroon with pumpkin puree in between and “beignet” which came in two. The macaroon’s noticeable mushroom appeal and the buttery filling of pumpkin purée made up a pleasing combination. The beignet also made with mushroom came with chips made from the pumpkin puree gave a different dimension to the same ingredients. These little snacks were made to wake up the appetite.

Hokkaido sea urchin-in a lobster jell-O with cauliflower, caviar

Hokkaido sea urchin-in a lobster jell-O with cauliflower, caviar, crispy seaweed waffles (260 HKD extra) was the first course and the restaurants signature dish. Its gelatinous texture had a strong attributes of the ocean. The caviar topping gave it a saltiness that made it a wonderful and luxurious dish. The seaweed waffles served on the side was a nice supplement especially when eaten together.

duck “au sang” legs and wild mushrooms pie, perigourdine sauce

Next was the duck “au sang” legs and wild mushrooms pie, perigourdine sauce. The duck meat filling was flavorful and delectable while the puff pastry with its crunchiness was nicely done. The perigourdine sauce provided the strong earthy tones that worked accordingly with other components of the dish. The third and also the main course was the ‘aveyron’ lamb ribs braised in pinot noir, boulangere potatoes with taggiasche olives, tomato confit & mizuna leaves. Fatty lamb meat that fell off the bone and was braised in pinot noir was full of deep flavors. Beautifully cooked potatoes complemented the lamb and its sauce properly.

‘aveyron’ lamb ribs braised in pinot noir, boulangere potatoes with taggiasche olives, tomato confit & mizuna leaves

french unpasteurized cheeses A chefs selection for the table to share matured by bernard anton

For the cheese course, french unpasteurized cheeses A chefs selection for the table to share matured by bernard antony, features five types of delicious cheeses with different textures and pungency. Moving on to the dessert, first to arrive was the pineapple confit, grilled millefeuille, ‘grand cru’ madagascar vanilla cream licorice, lime & yoghurt mousse, exotic fruit sorbet. It had plenty of fruitiness as well as was refreshing while also having a hint of citrus undertone. Dulcey chocolate crispy microwave cake & peanut butter ice cream followed after. It was sweet and rich in chocolate. The peanut butter ice cream provided the chilled nutty sweetness. Then finally some more sweets, petit-fours served on a can that consisted of white and dark chocolate ended the meal.

pineapple confit, grilled millefeuille, ‘grand cru’ madagascar vanilla cream licorice, lime & yoghurt mousse, exotic fruit sorbet


This was a well-executed contemporary French fare with many wonderful flavors. Numerous ingredients were successfully put together on the plate in a way that did not conflict with one another. The four glasses of wines from Europe and South America were accurately matched with each course as it brought out an extra taste at the end of every bite as well as providing a delicate balance.

Wine Pairing:

Wine Pairing

Amber’s dining room was designed by super star interior designer Adam Tihany whose works are seen in many of New York City’s great restaurants such as Per Se, Daniel, Le Cirque and Aureole. The room evokes luxury yet is understated with a brown color scheme of different types. The walls were handsomely finished mahogany wood, tall oversize vases with fresh flowers were carefully spread throughout. Its wide open space had tables close to each other but at the same time the sophisticated atmosphere kept the noise at a minimal. The center piece and the first thing that guests will notice once they enter the dining room is the chandeliers made of steel rod occupying the whole ceiling.


Service at Amber was extremely formal, at times the staff would break the stiffness to have a small chat here and there. The Matre’d did all the talking and was utterly friendly. He stopped by my table at the right timing ever so often without being overly invasive. They were very attentive and communication was never an issue, English was spoken and each course was explained clearly and my questions answered without hesitation.

Dining Room

Charging high prices the weekend wine lunch was a great way to try the food at Amber before shelling out serious cash. The regular price of the tasting is very expensive and so is the a la carte. The prices are on the same range as in many three Michelin starred restaurants in Europe and the U.S.  But what you get for this six course tasting is well crafted food with a high level of cooking and an enjoyable dining experience. To many Amber is long overdue for a third star from the Michelin guide only time will tell. When I find my way back to Hong Kong I will definitely go full force at this restaurant.

Lung King Heen ***

Dining Room

Lung King Heen
At The Four Seasons Hotel
8 Finance St, Central
Hong Kong, China
+852 3196 8888
Official Site

Similar to my home city of New York, Hong Kong has a diverse culinary scene. Restaurants that serve authentic Chinese cuisine from different regions of China are mixed in with western fare often located in small alley ways, inside hotels and, high end malls. Though there are many options that are readily available, Cantonese food still reigns supreme in Hong Kong. From high end to the retrospective hole in the wall, eateries at different price points are seen throughout the city. For fine dining the three Michelin star Lung King Heen in the Four Season Hotel is considered the apex of the bunch.

Lung King Heen’s kitchen is under the guidance of chef de cuisine Chan Yan-tak who was convinced by the Four Season to come out from retirement. His contemporary Cantonese style cooking at this restaurant has won him many accolades. He was the first Chinese chef to receive the maximum rating from the Michelin guide and Lung King Heen has the distinction as the first three Michelin starred Chinese restaurant in the world which it had presently retained since 2009. It was also ranked among the top dining venues in Asia according to the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

The Restaurant

Perched on the fourth floor of the hotel, the name of the restaurant is translated in English to “view of dragon” and offers an unobstructed view of the Victoria Harbor from its large windows. The Asian themed dining room is spacious and can seat more than a hundred guests at a time. Its subtle interior is designed with low ceilings made from wavy silver plates, plenty of dark wood finish, and tables that were close to one another are covered in whites.

Dining Room Dining Room

The menu is expansive with many varieties, typical of a Chinese restaurant. There are two tasting menus available for dinner and set menus for lunch. To get the experience of Chef Yan-tak cooking on my visit I elected for the “Chef Tasting Menu” for 1880 HKD ($230). An amuse of Crispy Scallop with Fresh Pear and Yunnan Ham to start. Gone in one bite, this deep fried ball has a burst of interesting flavors, creating a terrific intro to the tasting menu.

Chef Tasting Menu:

Crispy Scallop with Fresh Pear and Yunnan Ham

Lung King Heen Appetiser Combination (Crispy Suckling Pig, Barbecued Pork with Honey, and Roast Goose with Plum Sauce

The first course was a delightful trio of goodness, Lung King Heen Appetiser Combination (Crispy Suckling Pig, Barbecued Pork with Honey, and Roast Goose with Plum Sauce).  Each had a different kind of crunchiness as well as having diverse types of tenderness. Next was the Sweet Corn Soup with Lobster and Minced Chicken, this had a well acquainted character to the palate but was far superior. The soup with its thick starchiness and tasty minced chicken that was mixed in with lobster meat provided a distinct context. Simmered King Prawn with Seafood Sauce was next. A large piece of prawn bathed in rich seafood sauce which sat on top of green leafy vegetables was a hearty sea food offering.

I was then served the Braised Abalone with Star Garoupa Rolls in Supreme Oyster Sauce. It had a beautiful combination of contrasting textures of the chewiness from the braised abalones and softness from the steamed garoupas. The “supreme” oyster sauce provided profound saltiness while the stem of broccoli offered bitterness as well as another aspect to the dish. The meal proceeded with the Wok-Fried Superior Australian Wagyu Beef Cubes with Morel Mushrooms and Bell Peppers, superb Wagyu beef was immensely tender and had scrumptious flavors. As a complement, the beef was cooked with fresh vegetables, bell peppers, and morel mushroom. The Shredded Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling in Superior Pottage followed after. Sunken in pottage was a hefty piece of dumpling with a delightful filling of chicken and vegetables. The thick pottage was wonderful and savory.

Wok-Fried Superior Australian Wagyu Beef Cubes with Morel Mushrooms and Bell Peppers

Shredded Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling in Superior Pottage

For dessert I was served Ginger Soup with Sweet Potato and Glutinous Rice Dumplings, a syrupy soup that was a little filling. It yielded an extra bit of sweetness from the sweet potatoes while the rice dumplings absorbed the sugary character of the ginger soup. Finishing the tasting was fruit gelatin and biscuit made from rice, both were not too sweet which was perfect after having the the previous dessert.

Ginger Soup with Sweet Potato and Glutinous Rice Dumplings

To sit over a hundred guest for both lunch and dinner and to continuously produce high quality food is unreal. There will be misses but on this particular dinner the restaurant did not falter. Though lacking the “blew me away” factor in the “Chef Tasting Menu” it was still a very good meal. The cooking is restrained with many familiar taste profiles that were elevated by the sheer quality of ingredients used. The dishes were refined and were plated with sophistication, keeping the appeal to western palate without alienating the locals. I added the wine paring with this tasting for an additional 600 HKD ($77) considering the fact that wine mark up in Hong Kong is exuberant this wasn’t badly priced. The sommelier was able to curate European wines that properly matched with the cuisine.

Fruit Gelatin and Biscuit

Being a restaurant in a hotel chain with global presence the service was geared toward foreign clientele. The dining room was fully occupied with an even number of locals and westerners. With so many tables, Lung King Heen employs enough staff to keep the high standard of service. The different servers that I had were particularly engaging. They would pass by every so often at my table without disrupting my meal but was fully aware if I needed any assistance.

Wine Pairing:

Wine Pairing

It was both novelty and wanting to try an authentic high end Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong that led me to Lung King Heen. Prior to coming here, my expectations were very high and were achieved in the end. This restaurant can very well be the measuring stick for Chinese haute cuisine.

There are less than 120 restaurants with three Michelin stars worldwide. Attaining one it takes a lot of consistency to produce the highest quality service on a daily basis. In Hong Kong it was believed to be that the guide’s criteria is a lot less rigorous than Europe, Japan and even in the United States. So when Lung King Heen was awarded three stars it was debated and criticized. Many had liked it as well as disliked. If basing it on as a Chinese restaurant the food was very good and the service was flawless but the question still remains if this restaurant is “worth a special journey”. Well I believe it depends on the individual to decide.



L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon ***


Dining Room

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
at The Landmark Atrium
15 Queen’s Road, Central
Hong Kong, China
+852 2166 9000
Official Site

Chef of the century Joel Robuchon has the most Michelin stars than any chef in the world and shares a distinction to only a handful of chefs to have more than one three Michelin starred venues at the same time. He has built a culinary empire that stretches continents and his L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon has branches in major cities such as Paris, London, Tokyo and previously New York (closed in 2010) with all being awarded multiple Michelin stars. The Hong Kong location on the other hand is the only of the L’Ateliers to receive the maximum ranking from the Michelin guide as well as being rank in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. After missing out in Paris last year and not able to visit the New York City location before it closed, I made sure to try this one when I visited Hong Kong this year.


Like many of Hong Kong’s top restaurants, which are housed inside the malls or hotels, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is situated on the fourth floor of The Landmark, one of the city’s most luxurious malls. As I emerged from the escalator to the restaurant a beautiful hostess welcomed my arrival. She then led me through a walkway with walls of wine racks enclosed in glass and into the hushed dining room. Dominating the room is a counter with three even sides surrounding the open kitchen. A glossy, dark cherry wood counter top with deep red high chairs, polished black flooring and dimmed lighting gave the interior certain sexiness. Behind the counter I was treated by French born Chef de cuisine David Alves cooking, a veteran of the L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon chain. Prior to settling in Hong Kong he was at the Etoile branch in Paris.


Foregoing my normal practice of always requesting for the tasting menu, on this evening I had the a la carte as per server recommendation. There are more interesting items in the a la carte which has a price range of around 290 HKD per plate, pretty pricey but so is everything else in Hong Kong when it come to this types of restaurant. So to start, was the heralded bread basket with multiple kinds of freshly baked bread. There was a lot of effort put for just the bread but it’s also a good sign that this will be a beautiful evening.  For canapé I was served a fried quinoa ball with a small cup of parmigian cheese foam and foie-gras. It was followed by the L’OURSIN-Sea urchin in a lobster jelly, topped with cauliflower cream. Served in cold temperature, it had an essence of the deep sea. This dish had different layers of contrasting flavors that worked accordingly together while the chilled gelatin texture was soothing to the tongue. The LA LANGOUSTINE – Crispy langoustine papillote with basil was next. Covered in a thin crispy batter, the langoustine was complemented beautifully with a bright peppery sauce made from basil.

Continuing the meal was the LE FOIE GRAS Pan-fried duck foie gras with mango, coriander and crispy peanut chips. The foie-gras outer layer had an excellent fried crust with sprinkled peanut chips on top, for extra texture. On the other hand, the mango purée on the plate seemed out of place but it was added appropriately to give a fruity component that went well with the buttery foie-gras. I was then served the LA SAINT-JACQUES – Hokkaido scallop with green curry and coriandre sauce, squid ink farfalle. A large piece of scallop with dense flavors and topped with squid ink pasta for a facet of saltiness. The sauce gives the scallop a lovely piquancy. The following dish was LE RIZ – Risotto style rice with pimientos and vegetable couscous. A dish with a saturated yellow color was a different type of risotto that is savory and pleasing. It had an even creaminess while the garnish of vegetables exuded a beautiful aroma.


 LE BLACK – Black cod with Malabar black pepper sauce, Chinese cabbage and coconut emulsion, was a delicate piece of cod with a terrific balance of both sweet and spicy. The coconut emulsion was brilliantly added to provide an extra dimension to the dish. LE BŒUF Braised Wagyu beef cheek with miso, seasonal baby vegetables was served as the main course. This was a sumptuous braised beef cheek covered in thick sauce packed of flavor. As a supplement to this delicious dish was the famous Robuchon mashed potato served in a small pot. The mashed potato was a fine smooth texture with refined taste. I regretfully decided to skip dessert but the magrindanaise were good enough for a sweet finish.

In the beginning of the meal my server informed me that he would arrange the order of dishes in a way that it would not complicate my palate. At the end, each plate was timed perfectly in between and the succession of taste was in harmony one after the other. The cooking was skillful, especially when incorporating Asian ingredients to provide extra depth of flavors and aromas. There was a lot of emphasis on the sauces to compliment the ingredients on the plate and not to overpower them.

Mashed Potato LE BŒUF

The restaurants award winning wine list is vast and can be overwhelming. Letting the sommelier choose the appropriate wines will be a wise thing to do. For white I was recommended the Château Musar, Lebanon 1999 for HKD 190 ($24), it was paired properly with the fish and seafood dishes. And for the wagyu cheeks and foie gras I had a glass of red Cabernet Sauvignon, Janzen Estate, Napa Valley, U.S.A 2006 for HKD 235 ($30). Wine mark up in Hong Kong is over the top but it was worth it for this meal.


The atmosphere at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon was relaxed and interactive, which the restaurant encourages between the staff and guests. Service was formal yet approachable. The staff was knowledgeable and had a genuine sense that they wanted the guest to not only enjoy the food but also the service that they provided. For those that prefer the traditional sit down dining there is the Le Jardin on the same premise, located towards the back. It offers the same menu as the L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon but with a more formal setting.

Chef Robuchon sets a standard that is met and maintained by all of his restaurants. With the L’Atelier, each location has identical offerings and atmosphere. When the Michelin guide awarded this restaurant its third star in 2011 (making it the only of the L’Ateliers with such honor) while the rest only have one or two it was surrounded with controversy. Even the two original posts in Tokyo and Paris only managed to secure two stars and many have stated that they were superior to this. Although this was my first visit at any of the L’Atelier or any of Chef Robuchon restaurants I believe that no two restaurants are alike. They might have similarities but there is always something different about them. But as far as my visit goes at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, I was impressed with the cooking and the impeccable service as well as having a superb dining experience.





Tim Ho Wan (Sham Shui Po) *


Tim Ho Wan Sham Shui Po
9-11 Fuk Wing Stree
Hong Kong, China
+852 2132 0066

In the world of gastronomy receiving the Michelin stars usually equate to higher prices, Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan is an exception. This dim sum restaurant has the distinction as the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world. Opened in 2009 by Mak Kwai-pui, a former chef of the three Michelin starred Lung King Heen, it has since expanded throughout Hong Kong and throughout the Far East as well as in Sydney, Australia. Its original location in Mong Kok had closed down a few years ago due to rising rent prices and relocated to another part of Hong Kong. There are currently two branches with a star, the North Point and Sham Siu Po, and since the latter was the oldest it was the one that I chose to visit.

Armed with two other companions we arrived for a late lunch on Sunday afternoon. There was still a large crowd of locals and tourist waiting for their number to be called. We waited for about twenty minutes before we were seated. The place was noisy and every table occupied. There’s nothing special with the décor of the restaurant, just plain wood tables and chairs making, New York City Chinatown’s Golden Unicorn and Jin Fong high end in comparison.

Dining Room

Unlike the places in New York City, where the food carts are being pushed around, here you fill up a paper menu, check what you want to order then you give it your server. One by one small plates of goodness start to flow. Steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce, an all-time great at a dim sum place, gelatinous chicken feet doused in black bean sauce had tremendous flavor. Steamed rice with meat & dry cuttle fish had a creaminess to it. The rice was covered in savory meat and cuttle fish. It was hearty and definitely filling. Poached fresh seasonal vegetables where the Chinese cabbage still retained the leafy aspect. Steamed dumplings in chu chow style had a filling that was a mixture of shrimp and fresh vegetables which made for a chewy dumplings.

MenuThe steamed egg cake had a delicate and puffy texture as each bite left my palate wanting more. Steamed chicken with mushroom where the chicken meat was so tender that it fell right of the bone. Steamed with mushroom, peppers and garlic it infused beautiful flavor in the chicken. Nicely done pan-fried beef buns filled with satay paste had a wonderful fried crusty middle. Its beef stuffing marinated in satay paste was deliciously sweet yet savory. Steamed beef balls with bean curd skin, compact juicy beef balls oozed with oily goodness.  A dish that makes a normal appearance at almost every dim sum restaurant in New York City, Vermicelli roll stuffed with shrimp. At Tim Ho Wan the vermicelli was a little thick but worked well in absorbing the soy sauces provided. There’s also the Cantonese classic, Pan-fried turnip cake, a crunchy outer layer while soft in the inside. This was a pleasant and modest dish.

We were satisfied at the end that we decided to forgo dessert. My companion and I were all in agreement and enjoyed our meal. Out total damaged was about 250 HKD including tax and 10 percent service charge (about $32) for ten shared dishes and just tea to drink. This was an excellent value for your money.

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At Tim Ho Wan don’t expect Michelin starred service, the staff is efficient and direct but not rude. There were times that a server had to yell out to the guest for their orders as the rooms got extremely noisy. Our meal was quick but we did not feel rushed at all since the food started coming out soon after we ordered. We gave ourselves enough time to help digest but at the same time we were not inconsiderate of those waiting for tables.

Tim Ho Wan is a humble restaurant that serves authentic dim sum. The food is simple, focusing more on taste than presentation, When the Michelin guide awarded this restaurant a star it caused a shockwave to the restaurant world. There was backlash from pundits and food enthusiast alike and the credibility of the guide was questioned. In a city with a myriad of dim sum restaurants was Tim Ho Wan the only one that the Michelin inspector thought worthy of the star? I’m pretty sure there is a lot more deserving but if based on the criteria of a one star “a very good restaurant in its category”, Tim Ho Wan is a very a good dim sum restaurant.