Tim Ho Wan (HK and PH)

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Tim Ho Wan (G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Hong Kong, China (Sham Shui Po))

Date visited: November 2013

What we ate:

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (~HK$20), Steamed Rice with Chicken Feet and Spareribs (~$HK20), Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumpling (~HK$25), Glutinous Rice Dumpling (~HK$25), Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake (~HK$10) (~PhP600 total)

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Tim Ho Wan (G/F, SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall)

Date visited: May 2014

What we ate:

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (~PhP150), Steamed Egg Cake (~PhP90), Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (~PhP150), Glutinous Rice with Lotus Leaf (~PhP200), Mango Pomelo Sago (~PhP 80), Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp (~PhP120), Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver (~PhP150)

 

Taste = 5/5 (HK & PH)

–          This post will be a little different from the others since we will be comparing the HK and PH branches of Tim Ho Wan, the world’s “cheapest” Michelin-starred restaurant. With every branching out of a restaurant, there is always the possibility of a change in the taste of the food because you can only import so much and eventually, local ingredients would have to be used, hence, a possible change in the taste. Thankfully, the Baked Buns (what they are known for) were just as delicious in the PH as they were in HK. The PH verison was just a little sweeter than the HK version but both have that salty, sweet, savory, umami, rich flavour from the bun to the pork filling. The bun has a slight crunch when you bite into it but the rest of the fluffy pastry crumbles in your mouth giving you a salty-sweet combination. The pork filling is just so yummy to describe but the taste is savory-sweet Chinese-style BBQ flavour and the pork is very delicate. This is the only dish that we agree should not be taken home/taken out. Instead, it should be eaten on the spot and is absolutely the best dimsum we’ve ever had.

 

The Vermicelli roll with Pig’s Liver needs special mention. We were expecting it to be really livery (and off-putting) but it was surprisingly not that livery because of the coriander and the steaming process, which made it very delectable.

 

The Glutinous rice dish tasted exactly the same for both the PH and HK versions. It was very filling too and had a lot of Chinese flavours in it.

 

The Spinach dumplings were very good. They put the perfect amount of spinach and shrimp in them that the result was amazingly good. The shrimps were soft and had that little sweetness that complimented the leafy and almost bitter taste of the spinach. Add in soy sauce and you have yourself the best seafood and veggie dumplings.

 

The Mango Pomelo Sago was yummy was well, the combination sounded odd to us but the result was good. The soup was mango-based and it had pomelo, mango and small sago (pearl/bubble) bits which turned out to be great together.

 

The rest of the dimsum were good though they weren’t really much different from those coming from the other Chinese restaurants in its class. One of the differences that we noticed was that the condiments were not readily available in the HK branch whereas in the PH branch, soysauce was on every table.

 

Service = 3/5 (HK) 4.5/5 (PH)

–          This was where we saw the major difference between the HK and PH branches. In the HK branch, the servers were more senior and were quite unfriendly but we think it’s because people are just expected to eat then leave there. Be warned: the wait on the queue in HK took us almost 2 hours. In the PH branch, the servers were younger and had that hospitable demeanour but they still moved as quickly as their HK counterparts. However, there is also a queue and from the looks of things, it’s just getting longer as the months pass. The good news is that the line moves much faster in the PH branch than in the HK branch.

 

Ambience = 3/5 (HK) 4.5/5 (PH)

–          This was also where the difference between the branches was evident. The PH branch is mall-based so the furnishings, air-conditioning and floor spacing were way better than the HK branch. Both have cramped dining areas but the atmosphere in the HK branch felt very confined.

 

Value for money = 5/5 (HK & PH)

–          The prices in HK are lower than the PH branch by 20-50+% depending on the dish. But considering the taste, quality, ambience and service of both branches, their prices are really a bargain.

 

We could only find their Singapore website (click here).

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Zen Noodle Cafe (Shop 6, 7B, Ngong Ping Village, Lantau Island)

PhotoGrid_1402673952146Date visited: November 2013

What we ate:

Osaka Beef Udon (~HK$70) and Curry Sirloin Steak (~HK$90) (~PHP1200 total)

 

Taste = 4/5

–          When we visited HongKong, one of the places that we had to visit was the Lantau island and ride the cable car. It was a relatively long ride and when we landed on the island, we were really hungry. We chanced upon this restaurant because we were really low on blood sugar at that time. The Udon was okay. The restaurant was a Japanese-themed restaurant but the broth of the soup tasted very Chinese. The egg in the Udon was not even the Japanese marinated soft-boiled egg that is a staple in Japanese ramen. It was just a plain hard-boiled egg. The taste was good and the beef was cooked nicely but the whole taste was Chinese. The Steak dish was good and the meat was tender. The sauce tasted like the Japanese curry that we know, good thing. We finished the Steak dish easily but we had taste fatigue with the Udon.

 

Service = 3.5/5

–          We are used to the Filipino-style of service and we were not used to servers that do not smile or express some degree of hospitality. But to be fair, the servers were fast. The method of payment was the same as with most HK noodle places where you pay at the desk near the door before exiting.

 

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          The place looked good and everything was clean and the dining area was well planned and people didn’t have to squeeze into anything even if there were a lot of seats and tables. However, it looked very Chinese and we didn’t even know that they were a Japanese-themed restaurant until we looked at the options in their menu.

 

Value for money = 3/5

–          The dishes were expensive considering the prices of the other restaurants in HK. Granting that they were in a tourist area, their prices were still relatively higher than some of their neighbours. When we walked towards the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha), there was a small inconspicuous store that sells noodles and rice meals at a much more reasonable price. Unfortunately, we were already full so we were not able to sample some of their dishes.

 

Sorry, we could not find an FB page or website for this restaurant.

Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things (213 Banawe St, Quezon City, Metro Manila)

PhotoGrid_1402128067685Date visited: November 2013

What we ate:

Champion Buffalo Wings in Garlic Parmesan and The Rookie sauces (~PhP280/pound) and Nachos N’ Salsa (~PhP100)

 

Taste = 4.5/5

–          When we were travelling for the nth time along Banawe St., we wanted to try a restaurant on the far side of the street. We saw that there was a wings place in the area so we tried their chicken wings. The wings were juicy and the coating of the flavour on the wings was even. The taste of the wings was good and the Rookie sauce had the right amount of spiciness for us. The Garlic Parmesan flavour was also a delight to eat. The amount of flavour was just right – not too little that you can just barely detect it but not too much that it would make you not want to eat any more. The nachos were crisp and very crunchy though we would have wanted it to be warm when served. The salsa was the usual one but it was still good and tasted fresh and not from the can.

 

Service = 5/5

–          They had attentive servers and they gave good service to their customers. It didn’t take much effort in getting their attention to get service and they moved fast enough.

 

Ambience = 4/5

–          There was an indoor and an outdoor dining area and both felt comfortable. This particular branch was relatively new when we ate there, everything was neat and clean. The atmosphere was friendly as well.

 

Value for money = 5/5

–          The serving sizes, quality of the food and the service were really above average. Good thing their prices were very reasonable and we hope they continue to do well.

Click here for their Facebook page.