It’s not every day that a Michelin-starred restaurant comes to town—and an affordable one, at that. Tim Ho Wan, a dim sum spot with over 40 locations worldwide, had a soft opening on Dec. 16, drawing a line of New Yorkers to the oft-described “world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant.” The 45th outpost is the first Tim Ho Wan to open in North America.
Chef Mak Kwai Pui, who hails from a family of chefs, started his dim sum apprenticeship at the age of 15 and became a dim sum chef at Lung King Heen, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel. Mak met fellow dim sum chef Leung Fai Keung, and in 2009 the two opened Tim Ho Wan as a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the Mong Kok district. It earned a Michelin star a year later.
Mak has been in town for a month, monitoring operations and buying goods, and says he plans to stay in town until the restaurant’s official opening on Jan. 18, 2017, at 3 p.m., at a date and time that were deemed to be auspicious according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
He steered us towards his recommendations: cheong fun (rice rolls), roast pork buns, turnip cake, Malaysian egg cake, and beef balls. These and other dim sum classics make up the menu filled with traditional dishes mastered to their epitome.
Everything is made to order (even the soy sauce is made in-house). “Aside from the taste itself, the most important quality is freshness,” Mak said. “We won’t leave the dim sum overnight. Our food is made the same day and sold the same day. It’s a standard we’ve been able to uphold.”
But eater, be aware: Mak says dim sum must be eaten while hot.
The dishes range from $4 to $5.50.
The restaurant hours are limited during its soft opening from Dec. 16 through Jan. 17. Lunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays starting Dec. 23, dinner will be served until 11 p.m.
After the grand opening, normal business hours will be Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tim Ho Wan
85 Fourth Ave.