Eating chicken feet was not my intention when we decided to dine at one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants in the World, Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong. It was just a bonus.
Tim Ho Wan in is a hole-in-the-wall dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong that gained recognition after receiving a coveted one Michelin star. And it is cheap. Really cheap.
We made the journey over to the Mongkok district of town, a section where most menus do not sport English subtitles. Hopefully the menu will have pictures.
We arrived at the challenging location and were greeted with a closed metal door. There was a gentleman standing out front who kept repeating to us that there was no more Tim Ho Wan here, they moved across town. Ugh.
We quickly learned that their original location had closed due to high rent. And the other starred location was “across town”. Back to the subway.
The new location at Sham Shui Po is only tricky to find because the restaurant name and signage is solely in Chinese. A good rule of thumb is that once you are in the general vicinity search for the restaurant with the longest line. Everything on the internet warned of queues anywhere from an hour to three.
We arrived at 10:00am and were immediately sat at one of the last tables. No line. I suppose bringing People Magazine to pass the time was a bad idea.
They sat the two of us at a four-top table and immediately sat another couple right next to us. Communal dining in Asia, minus any sort of conversation. Though, our neighbors did appear to be regulars, so we discreetly turned to them for nonverbal instructions.
The woman took her complimentary thermos of hot tea and proceeded to sanitize all of her plastic dishware with it, rinsing each piece with the beverage. We decided to forgo this ritual. Should we be worried?
Thankfully, the table was set with a placemat that had pictured menu descriptions and a paper menu with English translation.
It was a simple system, mark the items on the menu that you want to order and hand it to one of the employees scurrying by.
We ordered four courses, including the chicken feet. The first course was a pan fried turnip cake, the least favorite of all the dishes. Next came a Tim Ho Wan signature dish, the BBQ Pork Buns. The buns were fresh and fluffy with a slightly sweet taste. Though the pork inside was tasty, I picked and ate the entire bun around it.
The last thing to arrive at the table was the steamed chicken feet with a black bean sauce. The color and texture of the talons immediately reminded me of the pigs tail I had eaten in California before. Though instead of pig, these chicken feet tasted like a fatty chicken wing. It seemed like a lot of work for very little meat.
Even though I was well aware that this was one of the cheapest Michelin restaurants in the World, the price still stunned me. A four course meal was a total of 69 HKD or $8.90. Now that’s a good deal.