September 2, 2014

Is Tim Ho Wan Manila Just A Hype?

The first time I heard about Tim Ho Wan opening a branch in the Philippines and that it’s probably the only Michelin Star hole-in-the-wall  dim sum house in Hong Kong and in the whole wide world, got me super intrigued. Authentic tasting  Chinese food especially dim sums are my one of favorite foods to eat, and I would even go to Binondo China Town despite heavy traffic to get a craving fix and enjoy closest authentic tasting Chinese food in Metro Manila. In my mind, if after trying Tim Ho Wan’s offerings and it would give me sleepless nights and would always make me daydream about it, then a little difference in price would justify not going to Binondo anymore, because gas and parking expenses would only break even anyway. Tim Ho Wan is just in Megamall, and just a tumbling and 2 skips away from our house.

Our first attempt to try Tim Ho Wan was on its second week of opening. We arrived at a little past 10:00 am, and the line was already exaggeratedly long, like a snake the zigzag-ing along the wide hallway of the newly opened SM Megamall Fashion Hall  ground floor. And to make matters worse, it won’t let customers enter until it’s 12 noon! I’m like, what’s happening here? The mall opens at 10:00 and your establishment at 12:00 noon? From what I know malls sanction penalties to stores who doesn’t happen on time. Well I bet Tim Ho Wan paid a large penalty for that first 2 weeks of operation (unless it’s owned by SM too). We were too hungry to wait for 12 noon and by the looks of the number of people lined up we will probably be able to get a table by 3:00pm, so we ditched it.

We came a month or so later and was third or fourth in line (this time they opened at 10:00am), but our friends were still walking from the parking area. The crew told us that even if we were next in line they wouldn't give us a table unless the party is complete.

Once seated you will have to take note of your orders using the order sheet and ballpen placed at every table. Don't worry because the waiters will double check your orders with you and every time they bring you something they will cross out the items that were already served.

photo c/o

photo c/o

The place is large enough and probably has around 15 tables (I didn't bother to count). Although the tables are too close to each other that you can literally hear what the conversation is from the table next to you. But I think Tim Ho Wan was just maximizing their space to accommodate more people at a given time. People are polite to leave a couple of minutes after they have eaten so as to give their table to those people waiting for several minutes outside the restaurant.

Their menu consisted largely of dimsum and rice meals, do not expect it to be like a ordinary Chinese restaurant that serves dishes and yang chow fried rice. We were a group of four and shared our orders except for the rice meals. These are what we ordered:

Baked Buns with Pork BBQ- the crowning glory of Tim Ho Wan and basically the reason why people go here. And I would agree with that, I've never tasted anything like it. The bread was crunchy, airy and soft and once you've crack it open the tender meat inside will make you salivate. These buns will be the only reason why I would consider going back.

Rice Meals/Toppings: 
Rice with Pork Ribs

Rice with Chicken, Sausage and Mushroom

Rice with Beef and Fried Egg

Vermicelli Roll with Sweet and Sesame Sauce

Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling

 Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp

Pork Dumpling with Shrimp

With regards to the prices of the dim sums they range from PHP 85-200. Since dimsums are just like snacks you will be entitled to order more than one. At first it may look cheap but in the end if you add it up, your total bill can get pricey. 

Overall, everything was ok and wasn't that mind-blowing or out-of-this-world amazing. But I must say that they have dim sums and especially the Baked Buns with Pork BBQ that you can never find in other Chinese restaurants around Metro Manila. The Vermicelli Rolls were something new to us too, although I was the only one who enjoyed them the most, I can't really find the right words to describe it or find a dish I can compare how it tasted like though, but they were creamy and soft. I ordered the regular one and should have ordered the ones with fillings instead. If you're craving for Chinese food and just want to satisfy yourself, let's be honest, there are a lot of equally satisfying dim sum houses in Binondo or Banawe which you don't have to line up for, for a good 30 minutes or so. 

Although I suggest you still try what Tim Ho Wan has to offer but wait until the hype dies down (unless your patient enough to wait and very very eager to try it). And lastly, even though it is located on the posh-ier side of SM Megamall, brushing elbows with other mid-to-high end restaurants, they don't accept reservations.  

Tim Ho Wan
Ground floor, SM Mega Fashion Hall
SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City,

For more information and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile:
Tim Ho Wan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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P.S. Sorry for the hazy photos, I don't know what happened with my phone's camera while inside Tim Ho Wan, because I also took pictures at the 10A Alabama Handmade Arts and Crafts Fair that we visited after this lunch and the photos were clear and ok.

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